Minnesota Dreaming: Cabin Life

Last month my wife and I went up to Minnesota to stay at her parent’s cabin near Battle Lake. Even though I grew up in Wisconsin and consider myself a Minnesotan, I’m new to cabin life. I never really understood the draw to go up to the lake every weekend. That is, until last year when my in-laws got a nice little house on a quiet, rather clear lake.

Father-in-law, wife, me, and mother-in-law

Last Christmas my father-in-law got me a proper fishing pole. This year I’ve gotten to use it and it has been delightful. To give you a sense of just how naive I am to any kind of outdoorsmanship, when I was presented with the wrapped fishing pole my first thought was, “Did they get me some kind of lightsaber?”

Father-in-law explains the rod & reel to me

To redeem myself a little bit, I’ve been able to use the pole to catch more than a few fish. The repetition of casting is weirdly zen. We were up at the lake for a week, so I tried to get as much fishing in as possible. It’s not that I’m way into fishing, it’s that I find it relaxing to do with my wife and in-laws and this trip is the only time I ever get to do so. I didn’t get a lot of fish but I did manage to get at least one fish every day that was good enough to keep.

I had a really good bass haul: two 13 inch and a 17 inch largemouth
My first northern, it was gross but a fighter at 19/20 inches

I managed to catch the largest bass I’ve ever got. To not be outdone, my father-in-law decided to catch a largemouth bass that was one inch bigger than mine. 

17 inches
18 inches

And while, at first, my wife didn’t have too much luck, she soon won fishing by getting the only walleye.


I’ve never really understood the Minnesotan obsession with walleye. Fish tastes like fish to me. Really, only tuna or salmon is the kind of fish I’m interested in eating. Supposedly walleye is a to die for regional delicacy. I was more than a bit ‘meh’ before and after having it for dinner. Still, though, I’m crazy jealous that she was able to catch one.

Wife with her walleye

By our final day, my wife was able to get in some kayaking while I did indoor boy things outdoors (i.e., read poetry & drink beer).


I’m hoping that there’s the possibility before Summer is over or before Fall gets too cold to go back up. We’ll have just moved to Kentucky, so it’s unlikely. But I’m fantasizing about having several weeks next summer to head up to the cabin and have a nice long vacation. Fishing, beer, reading, writing, and as many Minnesota United matches as possible.

Perhaps the most awesome aspect of the in-laws’ cabin: a DIY Minnesota United poster, wood on cardboard

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