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My Mini Road Trip Part 2 – Mabel Lake

November 14, 2008

I dedicate this post to my Grandpa whose spirit lives on at Irwin’s Inn. My sweet photographer Grandpa who I wish so much that I could talk to about digital and technology and the way things are today. Who I wish so much that I could shoot with and learn from. He would look at peoples’ pupils and how big or small they were would determine the exposure he’d set on his camera!

This is about my cabin on Mabel Lake. It is not big and it is not fancy. It is a place I’ve been going my whole life. I believe I was 3 months old or so the first time I was there, and I think with rare exception, I’ve been there every year since, at least once. This is what it looked like, about 50 years ago:


And now. Not much different except for all the trees! Sweet little crooked cabin.


Even the road trips to get there are incredible memories for me. With my parents – getting up when it was still dark to hit the road early. Feeling like it was Christmas morning. Awake with excitement. Curling up in the back seat with pillows and blankets and my brother there too. He and I would spend months collecting Archie comics so that we would have new ones to read during our summer month at the lake.  Stacks of them at our feet, just waiting to be cracked open.

Then later – with friends piling into cars and heading up for the long weekend. The look of the other residents of the lake as 10 twenty-something girls headed over by boat to the dock to unload days of food and drinks. (I think the lake still rings with our hoots and hollers). And other times with couples or groups or just two of us.

The good company of friends and strangers. Swimming, boating, sunburns, lake storms, the sound of the screen door banging shut. Scaring each other in the dark,  standing with my toes curled over the edge of the dock as I learned to dive – over and over again. Hauling water from the lake in buckets, bright orange life jackets, berry pie baked in the wood stove. Bunkbeds, writing on the wall, still feeling wavy even after you’re no longer lying on the dock. Endless games of cribbage and 10 people playing charades in the tiny livingroom. Reading on the porch, the smell of breakfast and the sound of someone arriving at the river mouth: a car’s horn – 1 long beep, 3 short.

I cannot possibly share all the memories. So many people know the lake and love the cabin. This will sound familiar to all of them. A place of rest and relaxation to get away to.



I had the pleasure of enjoying the indescribable autumn there a few weeks ago. It was just me and my mom for a glorious 4 days together – just the girls.


Sometimes the light is so perfect, that everything is a painting:



It is so beautiful there in the autumn. But I say that in the summer time too! The photo below is my ‘place’ that I will record all seasons. The orange of fall, the blue of summer, the off-white of winter and the wet clarity of spring.



It is always, always hard to leave the lake. My mom lives next door to the cabin now, so it’s hard to say goodbye to her too! I can’t wait to get back there and continue with the renovations and changes that we are making to the cabin. And if you care to join us – we will be listening for your car’s horn….


See you next year!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 10:16 pm

    If I suddenly disappear, you know which tranquil escape destination I will be making my way to! No wonder you go back every year….it’s simply simple and stunningly serene.

  2. November 16, 2008 10:32 am

    Thanks Rebecca…it brought a tear to my eye reading about your ‘history’ at the lake…it’s so cool that the memories will be always with you…the photos are fantastic!
    Love you forever, Mom

  3. Kelley permalink
    November 18, 2008 2:09 pm

    You are gifted, Girlfriend … beautiful shots.
    Kel xo

  4. January 2, 2009 10:38 pm

    These are stunning. Really, great images. Plus, I wish I could go there!

    – a [b] school friend.

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