Winning in Winnetou

 

 

 

We’re staring at the road sign proclaiming boldly – Nobel, Ontario. We’ve been on the road for the past two hours and temperatures in the family Dodge Caravan are showing an upward trend. There’s still miles to go. So I say, “This town was named after Alfred Nobel, you know, the guy who…”

“We KNOW!”

The two youngsters in my family are a history-challenged lot.

But they do seem to be aware of this. So I try something else.

“This town was very important during the Second World War. Lots of ammunition-producing factories here in those days.”

“We just want to get to the resort,” they mutter and I give up in a huff. No sense of history!

Cottaging is an annual summer ritual, and this time we’re off to Winnetou Resort in the heart of Georgian Bay country in Ontario. The minute we get off the highway and into the side road which leads to the resort, we feel like we’re driving through a cathedral of trees. Deep green, a hushed silence, and an air of mystery. You think anything may happen here. There’s the promise of long days, brilliant sunshine and glittering waters.

Set on the bay, this 105-acre resort is located deep inside the Canadian bush. The cottage we’ve booked is clean and comfortable, with a grand view overlooking the still water – it sits on a huge flat rock, rather like an elephant’s back. There’s 2000 feet of sand, silk-like and smooth to our bare feet.

Taking a late evening walk along the resort, we look enviously at the returning anglers as they tether their boats.
“There’s walleye, muskie, bass and northern pike,” says my husband, showing off.

I sniff. The anglers have empty hands.

Our first nightfall at the resort, and all is incredibly still. Our cottage is lighted, but outside, the marshes sway mysteriously, the aged pines by our window sigh. A million stars hang in the black sky. The Adirondack chair is just a shadow by the swing hanging from the sturdy oak. It’s ghost story time! Snacking on marshmallows and sipping hot cocoa, we shiver in delicious fear. We wade deeper and deeper into the night and at last, comfy under the blankets, we yawn hugely. We slip into sleep easily.

Early morning, and I’m the first to wake up. I stand at the big window of the cottage. Strands of mist still travel wrath-like amidst the marshes. The occasional cry of a hidden loon sounds haunting and unforgettable. The sun is not yet up, and the upturned kayaks on the beach look strangely forlorn.

I turn kitchen-wards to brew tea. I wonder who will win in our paddle boat race today.

 

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