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Photos: Family cabin getaway for four generations

People & Places ·

1 The Muir/Marshall cabin and Highland Lake. The cabin was built by Bill Muir. Muir took his last trip to the cabin in 1985. He died in his beloved wilderness getaway that summer. 
2 In a scene representing three generations at the lake cabin, the descendents of cabin founder Bill Muir display coverage of Muir spanning several years in national and regional publications. Muir, who had gone blind before Highland Lake cabin was built, supervised the building by checking the construction by feel. Pictured are, from left, Muir's daughter, Peggy Marshall, Muir's grandson, Bill Marshall, and Marshall's spouse, Katelyn Dokken. 
3 Bill Muir bought 40 acres of northern Minnesota wilderness on Highland Lake north of Grand Rapids in 1968. He added another 40 a few years later. And he was adamant about keeping it primitive. No running water. Wood heat. And absolutely no electricity. 
4 Bill Muir died in 1985. His children have kept the cabin rustic. They've added a sleeping room, but there's still no running water. They did install a solar panel last year, which now feeds power to one outlet and three bulbs. 
5 Peggy Marshall, Bill Marshall, and Katelyn Dokken coffee up in the frigid air as the first fire of the season in the cookstove begins to warm the family cabin. 
6 Peggy Marshall works quickly to get a fire started in the cookstove so the cabin can begin to warm. 
7 Peggy and Bill Marshall walk the wooden dock panels down to the lakeshore. 
8 Dock installation goes more quickly the more hands you have on deck. And quick is good when it's 35 degrees and a snow shower moves through. 
9 A cabin owner's-eye view of Highland lake just after iceout and before the plants and trees spring into bud. 
10 Peggy Marshall and son, Bill Marshall, ready to launch a canoe into the lake, which was iced over only two days earlier. 
11 Katelyn Dokken muscles and armload of wood through the cabin's sleeping quarters. 
12 Last licensed in 1984, a trailer next to the tool shed decomposes slowly, with the fenders having let go, and lichens and mosses finding purchase. 
13 About 30 yards uphill from the cabin sits the outhouse. With no running water, it's old school at the Muir/Marshall cabin. Bill Muir led a successful protest drive to prevent electrical utilities around the lake, and his descendents have remained largely faithful to his desire that the cabin be a rustic getaway rather than a slave to modern technology. 
14 Peggy Marshall works the sole source of water for the cabin. 
15 Through the brush, the cabin's woodshed and rack of canoes stand waiting for the family's first spring arrival. 
16 Not every lake cabin is guarded by an attack cat. There was no cat in residence when the family opened the cabin earlier this month.