Tag Archive: kabekona


on the morning we left the lake for this year, i got up to watch the sunrise and to walk my dad’s trail in the woods across the road.  here’s what i saw.

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marching right along with the traditional lake cabin activities, we canoed the kabekona river from the northwest corner of the lake about three hours downstream to the bridge at benedict.  it was a classic northwoods day, with a light breeze (occasionally providing a tail wind, even), scattered cloud, singing red-winged blackbirds and gently undulating river weed.  we caught glimpses of minnows and bluegills in the river and the occasional northern pike, as well as basking turtles, nesting swifts and darting damselflies.  the pebbles and i kayaked, while the parental units enjoyed a more serene ride in the grumman canoe.  no fishing bald eagles or ponderous blue herons this year, but a lovely crop of water lilies.

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back to summer – minnesota, part 1

(continuing to reconstruct the june-july trip to north america)

after the california weekend, i headed to the lake, while the pebbles went to vancouver for a week.  the northwoods were as beautiful and peaceful as always, in their verdant summer foliage; the lake was like glass in the morning, and gave birth to millions of mayflies at dusk; the phoebes called their names all day long and darted around to feed their ravenous broods.  the water was clearer than i'd ever seen it and the stones at the bottom could be seen even at night.  my old friend spam stopped in for a few days and we swam, stargazed and scrabbled, and visited good people up at clv

we were treated to abundant wildlife encounters, too.  spam had just been hiking on his own in the woods for a few days and had run into a badger, a bear and a wolf, so he got the major bragging rights, but we didn't do too badly in the woods around the cabin either.

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the lake

and now we get to the lake.  the lovely, lovely lake.  

in the 1950s, my great uncle and aunt built a cabin on the shores of lake kabekona.  from them it passed into my grandfather’s hands, and from him to my mom and aunt.  it has become a cherished haven for all of us, and it is one of the few places that truly feels like home to me.  while we were growing up and moving around, we always went to the cabin in summer, sometimes for weekends and sometimes for months at a time.  although my great uncle died before i was born, i can dimly remember my great aunt, and the presence of her brother, my grandfather, is also unmistakeable along the woodsy paths, in the heavy aluminum rowboat, and in the jumbles of accumulated basement detritus.

there is no feeling like sitting in the treehouse, reclining in a favorite chair, with a gentle breeze riffling through.  outside the waves lap softly on the shore, the pines sigh and the nuthatches honk quietly.  squirrels scold intermittently, and toward evening, the loons begin calling.  it is pure serene bliss.

of course, in thunderstorm season, if you are adventuresome enough to be in the treehouse in a really good storm, you get a very different experience.  the barrage of large hailstones on the tin roof is literally deafening and you cannot be heard above it, no matter how loudly you shout.  but most of the time, the tranquillity of the treehouse is unmatched, and rarely have i napped more restfully than in the dilapidated papasan chair in the lakeward corner.

the lake itself is allegedly the second-clearest and the third-deepest in minnesota.  it freezes stoutly over in winter and remains bone-achingly cold well into the summer, but it had warmed by the time i arrived.  or rather, the top six inches had, making ‘swimming’ more of an exercise in concentrated floating.  most of us love to swim, including the dogs, and the weather was obligingly warm.  an unprecedented blueberry crop allowed us to plunder the woods in short, single-minded bursts, retrieving enough berries for a pie, then jump in the lake to wash off the sweat, bug spray and accumulated film of swatted, smeared mosquitoes.  it was heaven.

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