Discovering Zen on Cold Lake - Get out on the water to escape deadlines, headlines and lineups
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Vast as Cold Lake is, you don’t have to go far to find fish. In just over an hour, Greg and Lisa Folliott have reeled in (and released) three good sized lake trout. Our fishing guide, Kim Grey of Angler’s Bait Tackle and More, says that this is a slow day. Not that anyone minds.
On a warm summer morning, with diamonds rippling on the water and blue skies above, just being here is bliss. We are all sprawled on the cushioned benches of Grey’s 20-foot pontoon boat and there’s still room to stretch out. Kim and Greg trade anecdotes of falling asleep while fishing, lulled by the sun and the slow rocking of the boat, and waking to a tug on the line.
If you’re looking to take a break from the urban bustle, drifting in a boat on a lake like this is hard to top. Not a cloud in the sky, nary a wave in the water.
The only traffic is a handful of boats floating in the bay, going nowhere fast. A gentle nod of the head or a slight wave to acknowledge passing anglers is as strenuous as it gets. Deadlines, headlines and lineups can all be blissfully forgotten.
Until there’s a bite, fishing is essentially forced relaxation. And that is a good thing, a very good thing. For many of us, even when we chisel out some rare time to relax, we often plan distractions or activities to fill that time.
In fishing, it’s about waiting and being present until the moment to act arrives. In the meantime, our senses can attune to the quiet of our surroundings, the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze off the lake.
“Getting out on the water, the tranquility of nature, is just something that gets in your blood,” says Greg. “What more do you want?”
“From my doorstep to the lake, to boat in the water, it’s about 20 minutes.” he adds with a grin.
When the heat becomes overpowering, the natural flow of the day takes us to Evergreen Birch Lodge, where a lunch is spread out in the shade of a covered gazebo. Any meal at the lodge is a treat, whether it’s a fish-fry or finger sandwiches. Bev McNeil, who owns and runs the lodge, always puts a special touch into food preparation.
For this hot afternoon, we dig into a fresh fruit salad with peach slices, blackberries, strawberries and avocado, lightly drizzled with oil and garnished with arugula. Our three-course lunch is rounded out with a Thai soup, an assortment of fresh sandwiches on marbled rye and vegetables.
Our group is well fed before the dessert arrives but who can say no to homemade pie and ice cream? Paired with coffee, reclining in Adirondack chairs in the shade of a mini-forest, listening to the lull of birdsong, the sensation is much like lazily drifting on the water.
Ah, but that water calls. Coffee done and plates licked clean, we were back for an essential stroll on the shores of Cold Lake. Drifting on that cool water all day, the urge to jump in becomes irresistible. Beach life is a real thing in Cold Lake, despite the lake’s name. It’s not as cold as advertised, and the effect on hot, weary muscles can be therapeutic.
For the adventurous, Wicked Watersports on Kinosoo Beach offers watercraft rentals and is one of only four certified flyboarding locations in Alberta. Alternately, the Cold Lake M.D. Campground offers a little more shade and seclusion for those who want to chill, as in chill out.
Cozy spots like Evergreen Birch Lodge, and Waterfront Harbour B&B are not far from the beach and are great to come back to after a full day of enjoying the zen-like effects of the water. And to top it off, end your day with a sunset walk in the sand. After all, the best souvenir you can take home from a holiday is fond memories and peace of mind.
WHEN YOU GO
For more on how to #TakeItToTheLake this summer, either search the tag on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read more here.
You can get a great room for under $100 a night at a number of hotels in the Bonnyville/Cold Lake region – and all of them are within minutes of an amazing #TakeItToTheLake moment. For accommodations in the Bonnyville area click here. For hotels in Cold Lake, click here.
Be sure to let us know what you find and share your adventures with the hashtag #TakeItToTheLake as you might be featured on ZenSeekers and our partners' social media channels.
Video produced by ZenSeekers and Edmonton's Viva Voce Group and all images produced by ZenSeekers and Indigenous photographer, Canmore based Angus Cockney.