In the evenings, we ate good meals – practically five-star! Pasta with canned tomato sauce, a good two litres of bourbon lemonade…all enjoyed in front of the crackling fire.


We were alone on our island. Our dog, Walter, raced crazily back and forth in the water, as Louis and I swam in the lake surrounded by coniferous trees, cliffs and invisible animals. Just a three-hour drive from Montreal, we were in Poisson Blanc Regional Park. It’s the perfect lake for any nature lover. There’s excellent paddling, breathtaking scenery and absolute tranquility. You can rent car-accessible cabins and campsites, or you can book a site on one of the many islands.

We were looking for peace and quiet, and figured we’d most likely find it in the middle of the lake. Turns out it was the furthest possible place to camp. “At least two and a half to three hours by canoe,” said the helpful man at the visitor’s centre. And so we paddled… through waves and wind and blazing sun, until we finally reached our island. Walter was too excited to lie down or even stand still for the entire journey. He turned circles in the canoe, eyes darting and scanning the horizon, his body shaking with excitement.

It was only as we approached our isolated refuge, that we felt our long weekend had finally started. It was hot and sunny. Perfect for swimming! We had also brought our fishing gear, so standing calf-deep in the water we cast our lines. Did we catch anything? Well… after losing a hook, I can report that we did catch a few tiny smallmouth bass. Walter ecstatically alternated between swimming for the ball (and scaring the fish), napping, and running wildly through the underbrush. This was his playground. With ears flapping and tongue lolling, he enjoyed pure, unadulterated freedom.

In the evenings, we ate good meals – practically five-star! Pasta with canned tomato sauce, a good two litres of bourbon lemonade… all enjoyed in front of the crackling fire, our glasses in hand, and the glow of a hot day in the sun on our skin.

Our second day passed much like the first; except in the late afternoon, a man came to warn us that a thunderstorm was on its way. “Better stay off the water.” We hid out in our tent as the skies opened, dumping buckets of rain on the fabric a few inches above our heads. An hour later we emerged to a very soggy landscape, but the sky was now clear. Soon night descended, and as you do when you’re camping, we followed the cue of the sun and went to sleep in the pitch-black forest.

I had barely opened my eyes on our final morning, when I heard Louis calling frantically from outside the tent. “Eliane, Eliane!” What catastrophe had happened? I leapt out into the breaking dawn, and… “I lost my sandal!” he said, pointing to his bare foot. “I almost caught a 12-inch trout! Oh, she was beautiful. I wish you had seen her!” While lying half-asleep in the tent I had imagined that I was the first person on earth to wake up that morning. Nope. Someone else had risen with the sun to fuss with the fish.

Our time passed altogether too quickly, and before we knew it, we were back in our canoe, paddling between islands toward the far distant shore, back at the regional park’s office and parking lot, and finally in our car, driving along the asphalt to Montreal.


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