Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 Canadian Vacation: Paddling Lake Simcoe

I mentioned in yesterday's post about our desire to be near water for this vacation. Kids, water and sand are always a good combination. We also love to paddle, so we were leaning toward taking our kayak. The little cottage we rented turned out to be perfect in this regard.

In addition to being in close proximity to a rail trail that connected us to town, we were perched right on Shingle Bay at the top of Lake Simcoe. Lake Simcoe is the biggest lake in Ontario and it was absolutely beautiful. I still can't get over how clear the water was.

To the left of us was the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) training campus and the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail. So basically, just woods. To the right was one additional house (the people who owned our cottage), and to the right of them was a summer camp.

The campers spent a part of each morning and afternoon playing in the water (swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.), but they weren't much of a bother. In fact, they were pretty entertaining. For the most part, we had Shingle Bay to ourselves.

We were actually pleasantly surprised at how little water traffic there was.

Our section of the bay had a perimeter of about two miles, so it was pretty ideal for kayaking. And since it was fairly shallow, we felt comfortable taking our kids out with us, even though it was a huge lake.

We were able to paddle individually and take Jack out for longer periods. And we even managed a couple of trips with all four of us. Thankfully Isaac is coming around to the idea of being on the water.

During the course of the week, my parents stayed with us for a couple of nights. We had them them watch our boys and we enjoyed a mini paddling date at 10pm one evening. It was so nice to enjoy the serene setting, just the two of us. Unfortunately it was cloudy, so there wasn't much in the way of stars, but the temperature was cool and it was so peaceful. A perfect late night date for us.

A while back, Daniel purchased a sail for our kayak for about $20. It arrived just in time for our trip. He has been talking about his desire to try to attach a sail to a kayak for years, so he was thrilled to finally try it out.

He went out a couple of times by himself, letting the wind blow him across the bay. And was even able to take Jack out with him. 

Jack wasn't so sure about sailing at first, but ended up having a really fun time with his dad. I have yet to try the kayak with the sail, but loved being able to go out on the water on a daily basis just the same.

On one excursion with Daniel, it was so peaceful that Jack actually fell asleep with his legs hanging off the side of the kayak. Right in the middle of the bay for about 20 minutes! 

Like biking, having plenty of opportunities to practice skills like paddling was an extra perk of this vacation. Jack is really getting more and more adept at handling his own paddle. 

I took him out at dusk on our last night at the cottage. It was a delightful way to end the week, just me and my big boy.

This trip had so many things we loved. It was really a great get away for our family and we have many memories. I can't wait until Isaac is a littler older and can enjoy more of the activities. For now he is content as long as food is involved!

Video showcases a bit of Jack's paddling abilities (remember he is only four), and a snippet of Daniel sailing.

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