Out for a swim

Lisa Dumontier

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the lake lately. As a child, you couldn’t get me out of the water and I would happily spend my day floating, jumping and diving into our fresh crisp lakes to cool off, exercise and have fun with my friends. Canoeing, paddle boating, waterskiing and ski bobbing—you name it, I was game to try it and wasted little time getting my hair wet.

This hasn’t been the case as of late. I’m not sure what happened but I could probably count the number of times I’ve braved the crisp cold water during the past five summers on one hand. I remember being pregnant with my eldest (who’s closing in on five years old now) and spending considerable time floating alongside my father off the tip of their dock in an effort to stay cool but since then, I’ve hardly been the water bug I once was.

Both of my daughters were seemingly born with fish DNA. Like their mother as a child, the water is a place they love to be and they are happy to strap on their swim belts, water wings or lifejackets and hit the lake whenever possible. Last summer we spent a number of days and evenings on the shores of Red Lake as they dipped and dove and I tentatively wet my feet. This summer, likely as the result of the hot weather we’ve been blessed with, we’ve been regulars at Kinsmen Beach and my parent’s dock has seen increased activity. I’m rediscovering my love of the water and my family is having a blast making the best use of an asset this area is so beloved for but sometimes takes for granted.

We spent a weekend in Winnipeg recently touring Tinkertown, the Winnipeg Zoo and other kid-friendly venues while temperatures soared well into the thirties. It was a killer heat that made even our bones sweat and I would have given anything to take a jump in any lake let alone to have the opportunity to have our pick of sandy destinations.

Living and growing up in the Red Lake area, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how lucky we are to call such a beautiful place home. Speaking to friends and family who dwell elsewhere, you come to realize that not everyone has the luxury of spending the day on any beach let alone their pick of dozens of secluded pieces of waterfront often home to nothing else but wildlife. Our local beaches are generally well kept and well utilised but jump in your boat and head out on the water in any direction and you’re sure to discover a sandy stretch of land just begging you to pull up anchor on.

It’s this unrelenting access to pristine wilderness that makes this community such an awesome place to call home and while chlorine pools and sprinklers may be fine in a pinch, there’s just something about the smell of lake water on wet hair that really reminds you what living in Northwestern Ontario is all about.

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