At some point in the evening, usually during bedtime stories with the kids, Andi runs into the backyard and turns on the sauna. An electric stove heats it up and holds the temperature for the duration of the timer. The temperature climbs as high as 130 degrees during the Wisconsin winter and 170 degrees in the summer.
We scamper outside with bath towels wrapped around our bodies and leap into the steaming hot barrel, shutting the door quickly behind us. The sharp smell of cedar hits my nose instantly, and it might be my favorite part of the whole experience. The aroma gets into my hair and onto my skin. I could inhale it for hours afterwards, but usually shower it off because it's just before bedtime. There's an outdoor shower to the left to the sauna and in the summertime, there's nothing better than rinsing off with cool water underneath the starry sky.
It's customary to take a cold plunge after elevating the body's heat level in the sauna. Andi often takes a big scoop of snow and rubs it onto his face and body during the winter months. Now the ice is off the lake, he's started jumping right into the water. Following tradition or not, I think he's nuts! The lake temperature is around 53 degrees in April.
Sometimes we'll talk during a sauna session, or sit and read magazines in silence. Most of all, I love that it's something we enjoy doing together.
The outdoor sauna -- just another reason the lake cabin holds a special place in our hearts.