It was a perfectly rainy early June afternoon for this Sauna Talk session at my cabin. We road tripped together to experience National Sauna Day in Embarrass, MN. What better way to get right into nature, and all get on the same page than with a massively awesome sauna session complete with cold plunges into the cool lake?
We start on the bench with Garrett Conover.
- 1,200 miles from Maine to Northern Minnesota.
- Cotton grass and tamarack sets my heart aflutter.
- Sauna and nature.
Joined by John Pederson and Lee Sarkela.
- Us 4 characters as long tail sauna enthusiasts.
- Tracing the steps back to Pine Island as the island or origin for us being together.
- 612 Sauna Society parables behind the scenes. Gas fire going out, trailer jack breaking.
- 2,100 visits to Little Box Sauna, 612 sauna society 2015/2016 this winter. 600 return visitors.
A lake plunge, then Round 2:
- Sauna a Tick Removal Strategy after a hike.
- The universal feel of water being tossed on sauna rocks.
- Elements of sauna are basic: a throwback to simplicity. Stove, rocks, benches.
- Wood burning sauna stoves: loading from the outside, changing room, inside the hot room.
- 612 Sauna Society: “a bunch of really cool people from different walks of life.”
- Building a community of people drawn to the steam.
- Magnus Nillson Swedish celebrity chef joins JP in his backyard sauna.
- Negotiating the deal: The goat comes with.
- Sauna is a great equalizer. Egos get checked at the sauna door.
A nice community sauna in Minneapolis: why doesn’t it exist?
The exchange of giving and receiving. A health club vs. backyard vs. public spaces. The cooperative idea: changing the relationship between the people who are giving and the people who are receiving. Making a resource available to other people in a sustainable way.
- Chicago Sweatlodge. Bill Trotter, top 10 sauna meister in North America. High sensitivity to people.
- JP’s latest project the Mobile Sauna Cooperative. Stokeyard Sauna. Looking to have many owners to share the sauna experience.
- Vermilion lakeshore and US Steel. Payroll deduction to pay for the Sarkela Island cabin.
- Sharing a family cabin with siblings, nieces and nephews. All family are welcome.
- Island life: picking up folks from mainland. It’s a psychological and physical removal. Separation from the busy life, to leave behind.
- Getting through big water is about tacking. Big ocean wave crossing with Garrett Conover in a lobster boat. An offshore island in Maine. Mile long and half mile wide.
Tasteful megga wealth.
- tipping in a canoe in Quebec: it’s hypothermia season all year long.
- Canoe paddling: better partnering with an amateur vs. fighting with someone who thinks they know what they’re doing.
- Rapids and waves. Quartering waves.
- Weather cocking: Spin on the crest. Not fighting for every element of control.
- Jarmo Lehtola, Finnish Sauna Society. A gift of Hukka Sauna stone. “Tahvo is a sauna elf, that smiles happily, no matter how high the temperature gets”
- I think of Jarmo and his gift every time I toss water on the sauna rocks.
- That’s the type of steam you can only get from a real sauna stove. Not one burst, but a delay. Sustained steam.
- Most of the heat in a stick of firewood is contained within the smoke. Gas emitted from burning wood. An efficient burning stove will burn the smoke as energy.
- Rapid fire questions with Lee. A close family connection.
- A backyard sauna makes the frown upside down.
The rain stopped.