#TakeItToTheLake

 

#TakeItToTheLake

Alberta’s North East is home to transformative travel experiences in wide, open spaces.  It’s where you will find Alberta’s only island-based provincial park, a history that goes back many millennia and communities bursting with entrepreneurs making these towns happening destinations.

Lac La Biche, Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Athabasca and Vermilion here is your invitation to invite friends and family to come enjoy some time on the water.

It’s time to invite those you haven’t seen for a while to come #TakeItToTheLake.

Over the past few years, we @ZenSeekers have been working with Travel Alberta and our destination partners to generate engaging video, editorial and photo content celebrating the region, built to remind you how good life is in North Eastern Alberta.

Please share these stories with friends and family with an invitation for them to pack their swim trunks and get out to see you this summer.  Take ‘em for a swim, get out for a paddle or in the boat to catch some dinner because as you know, the water has a way to regenerate and rejuvenate a soul…and who can bet those sunsets in Alberta North East's wide open spaces. 

For those of us further away, use these #TakeItToTheLake stories to inspire your future adventures - these places are worth the wait if you can’t visit in 2020.

We encourage you to share any of our stories below. Explore what’s possible via ZenSeekers videos and stories to #TakeItToTheLake this summer.

Learn more on what each of these communities has in store:

Lac La Biche tourism page

MD Of Bonnyville

The Town of Vermilion under visiting

Athabasca County

Métis Crossing

 

Don’t forget to use Facebook Check-in when you are visiting, and remember to tag each post and photo with #TakeItToTheLake – as you could be featured on ZenSeekers social media channels and those of our partners above!

Stories

Canmore-based Inuit photographer Angus Cockney recently went on assignment for ZenSeekers #TakeItToTheLake expedition, exploring the beauty and culture of the vast Athabasca Region. His photos evoke solitude and wide-open spaces, and convey a real sense that the people who live here love and enjoy their backyard. 

Angus Cockney stalked the sunrise over the lake like a cougar tracking a deer in the forest, his strides long and quiet, his gaze intent. The dreamiest times for a photographer like Cockney are dawn and dusk. It's all about the glimmering light that plays on the landscape.

 

 

 

Vast as Cold Lake is, you don’t have to go far to find fish. In just over an hour, Greg and Lisa Folliot have reeled in (and released) three good sized lake trout. Our fishing guide, Kim Grey of Angler’s Fishing Tours, says that this is a slow day. Not that anyone minds.

Fiddle song dances play lightly over the patio at Métis Crossing as Sameer Ahmed and his wife Salma do their best to match their steps to the beat. Soha, their daughter, joins in too. Brianna Lizotte, the fiddle player, is teaching them a Métis jig, with the basic 3-and-1 step and a couple of changes. 

Buzzing envelops us as Rob Wicker holds out a panel of his honeybee hives for us to see. There, in front of us, are a handful of worker bees, ignoring us working like, well - bees on their honeycomb. Wonder overpowers us all.

Grinning ear to ear and spraying a fan of water behind him, Josh Meredith skims past on a Sea-Doo. Nikki Hallows is close behind, cutting across his wake and goosing the engine to launch herself into the air. Engine hum fills the air as they rev around Baptiste Lake in Athabasca County, Alberta.

The cafe, the cheesemaker, the craft cocktail maker - it’s not a nursery rhyme, it’s an afternoon in Vermilion. Afternoon indulgences are the kind of thing that are often best shared with friends. For example, strawberries with chocolate smeared on toast, a sampling of fine cheeses or a three o’clock cocktail.

Folks in Alberta’s northeast may be more humble and less self-promoting, but they are equally as deserving of attention.

To help drive some attention to these very deserving creative spirits, FestivalSeekers & ZenSeekers are expanding our #TakeItToTheLake efforts by bringing you a new festival!

Dewy purple and magenta bursts of berries hang pendulously from the branches of eight-foot high Saskatoon bushes at Rocky Meadows Country Getaway, just outside Bonnyville. The Robson family walk the rows, filling buckets in a hushed, zen-like industriousness. 

As she bends over to look into the windows of the tiny church, Rosalie Subchuk sighs. Memories from her childhood have awoken on this visit through Plamondon, in Lac La Biche region, Alberta. Subchuk grew up on a farm in the 1960s and 70s not far from the hamlet.

It’s incredible when you start to think about how many different activities involve water. That might be skiing or snowboarding in the winter, to paddle boarding, kayaking or flyboarding in the summer. What is Flyboarding? If you guessed snowboarding and flying, you are right. But now the question is, are you ready to try it?

Athabasca, AB - Glenda Gray points and shouts to get our attention as a pod of pelicans simultaneously takes flight from a nest of driftwood floating close to shore. For the next minute or so we are treated to soaring views of the birds in flight formation as Darcy Zelman guides the jetboat alongside.

How did a community in central-east Alberta score a manmade lake that would go on to make the region a prime spot for a Provincial Park?

Ever eaten a fire ant? That’s the question Dragan Uzelac has posed to Maranda Cardinal and her friend Taissya Reutov. The two women pause, unsure if Uzelac is joking. He’s not.

Crane Lake, M.D. of Bonnyville - We all know we need more happy in our lives and you can find it on the lakes within the M.D. of Bonnyville.

Splitting cracks echo in the poplar woods around us, as John Ritchie and Winston and Christina Desjarlais break long sticks down to uniform size to begin the structural supports of a lean-to shelter. Using the sticks they form tripod supports, one on each end, to prop up the cross beam.

Vermilion, AB - Kim Chomyk breaks into a grin as the shape of a bowl begins to emerge from the potter’s wheel, under the careful coaching of Heather Milan at the Pottery Guild in Vermilion. Chomyk and her husband Eric have come to Vermilion for the day to explore the local arts scene.

An adventure therapist. Could that be your new career goal?

It’s not every day that someone can paddle their way around history. But you can in Lac La Biche, home to one of Canada’s most unique provincial parks, Sir Winston Churchill Park, Alberta’s only campground that is on an island.

“I think we can get a bit closer,” Jamie says, and we paddle as silently as we can towards a huge American pelican. Soon, we are just metres away from the giant bird, and he looks at us curiously wondering what we’re up to.

As we cross the causeway to Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park’s Big Island, we stop to admire the view. Sunshine glints off the water and fishing boats, while cyclists cross the causeway. On the island road, the truck in front of us pulls over and waves us on.

The pike’s tail thrashes, splashing the sides of the boat. It’s a strong 10-pounder and it’s putting up a fight. This is the eighth fish on our lines in less than an hour but it’s my first. Not just my first today; it’s my first ever.

#TakeItToTheLake My heart thumps rapidly as I start the Sea-Doo’s ignition. It’s my first time jet skiing and I’m excited, but a little nervous. After the safety talk, I wonder if I should be wearing a wetsuit, or if I’m going to fall off, then relax as I look around the lake. The sun is shining, the lake is placid, and the water is warm. We couldn’t ask for a better day to go jet skiing.

Tendrils of smoke curl from the kindling I’ve just set alight. Soon, the slow burning embers ignite and tiny dragon tongues lick the sky. Shawn Perry sets a pot over the fire, preparing to make tea from the leaves we’ve just harvested.

Flying high over the waves, Nathalie Senez takes a plunging dive. Momentarily, she pops up again. Mere seconds later she’s back in the air. Senez is a talented athlete, no doubt, but she’s no superhero - she’s a flyboarder.

Brian Hamilton, our captain, tells the tale of the Kinosoo, or “big fish” for which Cold Lake is named. Legend has it that a giant fish bit a Dene warrior’s canoe in two as he paddled across French Bay to see his beloved.

Frogs hop under fern leaves as trembling aspen whisper above. Sun filters through the high forest canopy as the breeze stirs the treetops, sight and sound combined bringing to mind a sense of shimmering.

The safest water adventures are the smartest ones. When you plan to head out, Canada’s authority on playing it right, AdventureSmart reminds you to follow the 3 Ts of safety for any paddling getaway this summer

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