Part X - Evening on Windy Lake
As I was nearing what we used to call the "old" beach, the sun was beginning to pierce the menacing clouds. The brighter lighting might make for some interesting photos during my wandering photographic journey I thought. I took the photo below along the shore where a group camping section of the park used to exist. I believe it is now being re-claimed by nature in an attempt by the park to return it to a more natural setting.
I also wanted to snap a photo of the Tower Bay Hill seen in the distance below. On top is the Cascaden Fire Tower. We used to canoe to the tower and climb it as teenagers. The hill itself is somewhat of a monadnock in the region - standing out from the lower hills that surround it. At 1645 ft, it's one of the higher peaks in the area and sits 550 ft above Windy Lake. At one time there were rumours of a possible ski resort being built on the hill. There are cliffs located in the bay that we'd jump from into the deep dark water below. As you can see - it creates a nice centrepiece when looking out over the lake.
Continuing my walk along the shoreline - I was startled when the sun suddenly broke through the clouds as I was approaching the old beach. With the contrast of dark, ominous clouds above the brightly lit beach below - I thought this would make an interesting photo. And I snapped a quick image before my fleeting window of opportunity slipped away. The lone picnic table looked just like the ones I used to sit upon while looking out over the lake.
And this was the view I had when lying on the beach under the hot July sun years before. The water looked pretty inviting. When I dipped in my hand - I was surprised that it felt rather swimmable - particularly for late June. It appears that park staff are preparing to set the buoy lines in place - a wet job no doubt. In the late 1980s, my sister had a pen pal from England (Nottingham) come to visit in the summer. I decided to give her a tour of Windy Lake. When we approached this view - she was taken aback by how large the lake appeared. I remember her joking that in England this would be considered a "sea". I would later take a photo of myself in the same spot - with snow up to my waist n the middle of winter - to highlight the remarkable contrast between seasons here.
As I was walking along the beach I spotted what looked like a canoe - far out on the lake. When I zoomed in - I captured not only the canoe - but the fire tower in the background as well. It was a great evening to be plying the waters of Windy Lake, as the lake itself clearly wasn't living up to its namesake. I thought the photo nicely embraced what I'd call a typical Canadian Northern Ontario summer wilderness scene.
After snapping a few more shots, I made my way through a trail out of the park and gave my friend Chris a call on my cell. He picked me up near the CPR rail tracks and we drove back through the park entrance to the campsite.
He also brought a cooler filled with ice and Pepsi. When I took my first sip - there were tears welling up from my eyes. It tasted that good. Ice seemed like a new invention to me. It's hard to beat sipping a cold drink, on a warm evening, beside a hot fire. That is - unless you add salt & vinegar chips. And plenty of reminiscing. Chris works for the mining company Vale, and also builds houses on the side. We looked at a variety of projects he'd been working on - via photos on his cell. It was great to have the company of a good friend tonight. In many ways this place still felt like home.
Before I left for Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park the next morning, I wanted to explore a nearby waterfall that we used to call "The Trestle", as it was hidden behind the CPR rail line. It really wasn't a rail trestle in the strictest sense of the word. But it sure sounded better than "The Culvert".
Stay tuned for Part XI.