Darkness greeted me as a I stepped outside the cabin. It was about 6:10 on a November morning. The thermometer read 25 degrees–not bad for this time of year–and the air was calm. I stepped off the porch, loaded my rifle and walked away. The 2015 deer gun season was under way.
Save for the rifle, blaze orange hunting suit, and the unusually early wake-up call, this could have been any other weekend at the cabin. What began as a location for hunting has evolved into my escape hatch for solace and relaxation. With some work thrown in for good measure.
My parents purchased 42 acres of mostly wooded land in April 1981. The property, located in Vernon County in southwest Wisconsin, affords us some nice hills for hiking and exercise. Set back almost 1/4 mile from the road, we enjoy a measure of privacy, though two other families have cabins nearby. Our simple cabin, built in the mid 1980s, provides a comfortable roof over the head and nearly all the amenities of home.
I live clear across the state in the Milwaukee area. Our cabin is more than three hours away, so I often make a pit stop at the family’s house in Madison. From there it’s about a two-hour drive.
Ongoing chores during the warmer months keep me busy and active. Mowing is a regular task. The brush mower (visible in this image) allows us to manage the prickly ash and wild raspberry that would otherwise commandeer the land. Trees die or are blown down. If accessible, they are often cut and split up for firewood. Russian olive and other invasives are removed and their stumps treated.
But it’s not all work. A ham radio operator, I occasionally fire up the rig and chat. Contacts are mostly in the U.S., with an occasional connection overseas. My mentor, known as an Elmer, lived in Alabama. Art and I would chat for an hour or so a couple times a year. Nice chap.
Subjects ran the gamut: amateur radio, work, snow (“If I never see another snow flake again, it would be too soon!” he’d say), and hunting, among other topics. Art and wife Terry lived in Wisconsin until moving to Alabama about 20 years ago. I enjoyed those conversations, called “rag chewing.” Just the two of us shooting the breeze on a Saturday afternoon.
No weekend getaway is complete without a campfire and a cookout. Mother Nature occasionally rains on my party, but otherwise I can count on at least one campfire. I’m always amazed at how soothing a fire is. The charcoal grill treats me to a tasty meal of chicken, beef or brats.
Late afternoon is a great time. Showered up, I’m relaxing on the deck. It’s peaceful in the hills; there is nary a sound, as if even the birds are taking a siesta. With my feet up I contemplate the day. Why can’t every day be like this? Of course, I know that I will soon return to the city. But I know that I will also return to the cabin. That is a given.
Do you have a favorite spot for a weekend getaway? What makes it special? Feel free to comment below. And if you found value in this post, please share it with others. You may use any of the buttons below.
New Berlin, Wisconsin