I’m slowly coming down from my long weekend high. Yesterday marked Victoria Day, a national holiday here in Canada, and together with the gloriously hot, sunny weather, the whole region was pulsating with a irrepressible desire to celebrate.
When Sunday morning dawned scorching hot, we decided to skip church and head out for a sightseeing adventure. With the kids in the car and a picnic packed in the cooler, we took off up the Lake Huron coast. It’s easy to overlook one’s own area as having potential for exploration because it seems too familiar, but whenever I venture out I’m reminded of how beautiful it really is and how little I know about it.
Within a half hour from home, we discovered a provincial park with a big waterfall that cascades over wide natural steps, collecting small swimming pools on each level as it makes it way out to the lake. As one of the first settlements in the area, there use to be a power plant and a mill here.
Further on, we reached a place called Oliphant and one of the most spectacular scenes I’ve seen along the Huron coast. Kilometres of white sand twist along the curves of the bay. A dense bog-like ground cover separates the road from the beach in other places. The Oliphant Fishing Islands, as they’re called, protect the area from the open water that stretches to Michigan on the far side.
There was almost no one in sight. A few small cottages dotted the road. A lone runner loped along the coast. A cluster of boats was tied to the public docks. I felt very remote. The landscape was almost desolate in its stark beauty and loneliness, yet refreshingly so.
Our next and last stop was Sauble Beach, where we ate our picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the famous beach, apparently voted Canada’s best on fresh water. I can believe it. The village was exploding with people – expensive cars clogging the streets, impossible parking, hordes of bikini-clad girls and shirtless, shoeless guys, oversized sunglasses and clothes that look several sizes too small, fake tans, real tans, sunburns that hurt just looking at them, pounding bass coming from the cars, long line-ups at DQ and Mars Cosmic Fries take-out, and more than enough of those strapless bikini tops that seriously look like they’re about to fall right off – maybe that’s the point, I don’t know!
We returned home in time for the kids’ naps, all of us tired and sunburnt and satisfied. It had been the perfect day.