Sitting on the beach with my toes in the sand isn’t the typical place you’d find me. Normally when I’m outdoors I’m sitting on some kind of gas-burning, mud-turning, snow-shredding type of machine. Including earlier that day as I cruised around Lake Manitouwabing in my family's wakeboard boat. Yet on that peaceful “spring” afternoon, with the boat tucked in at the dock for the night, I was doing nothing but relaxing at the water’s edge with my mom and loving every second of it.
I use “spring” with quotations because let’s be honest: as this longer-than-normal winter finally melted away, the hot dry air of summer quickly pulled in behind it. If there was a spring, I certainly blinked and missed it. Even the typical spring black flies have been short-lived (to the disappointment of no one).
We started the beautiful weekend off by putting our boat in the lake for the first time since last fall. Normally our first boat ride of the year involves a solid two layers of sweaters. This year however I managed to tan comfortably all day in my swimsuit. The warmer-than-usual water (17°C in some places) was even so tempting that I jumped in for a swim! We weren’t the only ones out on the lake enjoying the first weekend of June. The lake was abuzz as cottagers whipped around on Sea-Doos, fishing boats and non-motorized vessels alike.
Our evenings were filled with the soft light of our campfire reflecting off the nearby lake as we sat around catching up and cooking some delightful food over the hot coals. A few years ago my family discovered a delicious little treat, cheese you can BBQ! If you’re a cheese lover, or interested in trying something new, I highly suggest giving grillable cheese a try this summer. Nothing beats a crunchy, salty outer layer filled with a soft and melty cheese on the interior. Personally I suggest Guernsey Girl, but you can get other types at your local grocery store (ask someone at the deli and cheese counter for assistance in locating grillable cheese, as it is difficult to find at times). We paired our cheese with steak, tater tots and fresh veggies for good measure.
Saturday evening we pulled out the fishing rods and tossed in our lines. My dad pulled out a gorgeous northern pike within the first five minutes, promptly followed by a nice-sized lake bass. As the sun finally set behind the trees I caught the ugliest, but biggest fish of the night, a great big roly-poly catfish! I wasn’t thrilled at first, but seeing my dog Sambuca enthralled with it sure put a smile on my face.
While fishing, we were greeted by the local aquatic wildlife. The Canadian Geese are regular visitors to our lake, and just like clockwork, they came to visit with their young fluffy goslings. Thankfully they stuck to the water, as our spinning pin-wheels kept them off our beach. Next, the resident beaver couple came out of their hut to swim around and investigate their property. A muskrat was also seen swimming quickly through our bay, and the dragonflies kept the other insects at bay. Did you know that a single dragonfly can eat its own weight in food in 30 minutes? And considering that mosquitos, black flies and horseflies make up almost 90% of a dragonfly's diet, then you’ve got one insect I’m completely in favour of!
I may not have won the fishing competition, but I did have a relaxing weekend of boating, swimming and tanning. I’m very lucky to have grown up in a place as wild yet welcoming as Parry Sound. Now I work in the city during the week, dream of the “cottage” during my sleeps and get to wake up on weekends in my own bed in the country. There’s no place I’d rather be.