At the end of August I flew south, to what I have always known as "The North"- Ithingo Lake.
Almost every summer of my childhood I made the trip north with my mom. Driving for three days, then flying in a small plane. Landing on floats and pulling up to the dock where my grandma and grandpa would greet us, waving with big smiles, until we were tied up to the dock. This year our friend Bruce, who owns one of the other four cabins on the lake, flew me in to his place. His partner Louise greeted us at the dock - waving with a big smile. We took the motor boat across the lake to my family's cabin where my mom was waiting with a fresh out of the oven blueberry pie. I had arrived.
In 1979 my grandparents started the process of building the cabin. First cutting down trees on a different part of the lake. Trees big enough to build with are hard to come by in this country; wildfires are common and often left to burn in this unpopulated region.
The next year my grandparents, with the help of my mom and uncle, rafted up the logs and towed them across the lake to the cabin site. They practiced the log home building skills they had read in a book on the outhouse, then put them into use on a cabin that my grandpa had designed.
The cabin is full of memories from childhood. Making blueberry pies and muffins in the wood fired range, pulling up the floor to go down in the root cellar for stored canned goods and vegetables, running down the trail to the dock to fill the buckets with water. One summer I stayed with just Grandma and Grandpa at the cabin for a week. Grandpa brought me hot chocolate in bed every morning.
The cabin was base camp for adventures yet to be had. A couple days after I arrived Mom and I headed out to a favorite nearby lake.
We always called it Tee-Pee Lake, because someone had carved a tee-pee into the lichen on the rocks on the west shore. We were treated to a calm evening and no bugs.
Camp cooking is something that my mom has real skill at. Everything from chopping wood and selecting the perfect tea stick to perfect dutch-oven blueberry crisp.
Although mostly devoid of humans, this country is not empty. Beaches hold the telltale paw prints of black bears, or the rounded hoof prints of caribou. On the north end of Tee-Pee lake we saw what looked like a cow and calf caribou followed by a wolf.
For the second part of our trip we went down the Little Ithingo River to Vermilion Lake. High water kept us off the rocks and over the beaver dams.
Camping was experimental on this leg of the trip but we found good spots to unload the boat both nights. Ample firewood, flat tent spots and pleasing aesthetics.
The cabin sure was nice to come home to. I spent my last days making a birch bark box, picking blueberries and enjoying the beach near the cabin.
All good things must come to an end.
Our dreamy life in the wilderness was interrupted by the familiar sound of a float plane coming in for a landing. Soon we were homeward bound.