Sauna Talk: A cycle of summer guests to a rural island cabin sauna

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Today on Sauna Talk, we are joined by several different summer guests to my island cabin sauna in Northern Minnesota. This episode features guests from literally all over the world who have all found themselves on my sauna bench which I co built in 1996 and is still humming along strong.

The sauna is 3.5 hours North of Minneapolis, MN close to the Boundary Waters Canoe area on Lake Vermilion, one of the largest lakes in Minnesota. Stretching 26 miles East to West, our cabin sits on the largest of 365 islands, Pine Island. There are no roads or cars on 7 mile long Pine Island, but there are some hiking trails, and one of my fondest memories and routines of sauna on Pine Island is to fire up my sauna stove, then take an island hike, in nature, returning to pull the coals forward and maybe toss a sauna log on the stove.

For many, this is where the resonating wonderfulness of sauna shines. In nature, detached from the business of day to day. Birds chirping, water lapping along the shore, long twilight evenings that transition slowly. When the thought of tossing another log on the sauna stove isn’t a question, but something you just do (after pulling the coals forward). This is where and when we get full appreciation of the fact that Sauna in nature is bigger than all of us.

John, left, and his lifelong friend Alex, right.
  1. Alex & John. “I’ve been coming here my whole life… Wood fired and great heat is what I love.”
  2. Becca & Garrett Lamppa. “My dad welded all the Kuuma stoves out of Lamppa Manufacturing until about 2017.” “Finnish culture is very close to home.”
  3. Bill & Ingrid. “The fist thing we did is start planning for our backyard sauna.” “We are enjoying our sauna and still working on our sauna.”
  4. Lee Sarkela. “My memory of sauna goes back to splashing in the bucket on the floor as a young child.”
  5. Petri Leivonen & Mike Tuttle.
  6. Scott Gallis & Family from Brazil. “Where you are at is where you are able to enjoy it the most. In sauna, friendships are forget. People are able to get on the same vibration and welcome peace.”
Lee Sarkela, feeling right at home overlooking Lake Vermilion between sauna rounds
Bill & Ingrid. Dentist smile in foreground.
Sun setting on summer saunas.

4 thoughts on “Sauna Talk: A cycle of summer guests to a rural island cabin sauna”

  1. Ahh Glenn
    Thx for sharing these images and reflections. Brings back such fond memories of sauna’s at Lake V over the past 40 years, even if our sauna ceiling was a bit high from your inspection. If only we’d have been connected back in 1978 when we were designing the space. My archtiect father in law at the time was more about the building aesthetics. Sauna design is so worthy of a little extra attention, which you so passionately champion here. Now if we can finally sort out a sauna here at the coast in Oregon…I’m now thinking mobile sauna as a way to deal with local planning constraints…
    Cheers, Charles

  2. Hey Glenn, Thanks for the fun podcast. I love hearing your friends’ stories. One day, I’m hoping to crash your party up there at the lake. And to have you as my guest out here at “Gezunt,” my Seattle sauna you helped design.
    Be well,
    David

  3. Right on, David! We are kindred spirits that are not limited by distance. Happy to have played a part in your own health and wellness backyard retreat.

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