When you feel that summer is just an allusion, a myth, a long lost memory, something that happens only in your youth, learn that it is still real. And that if you follow this guide, you will find it.
Pack only what you need. Board the plane. Land in the prairies. Rent a car. Not just any car - a Volester (also known as a Raptor). Stroll through the Forks with a quick stop at Stella's Bakery in Winnipeg. Hit the Trans-Canada Highway. Blast the tunes. Watch the landscape change and the great Canadian Shield appear. Leave Manitoba for Ontario's beautiful Lake of the Woods.
Savour the lake, long days, hilly runs, Jimmy's pizza & cookies, and after dinner rum's. Brush-up on surfing skills. Explore what's up for grabs at Grandpa's. Sleep deeply. Wake up to the birds and not-so-lovely crows. Jump on a bike and into the lake for a swim first thing in the morning for good measure. Watch out for killer deer.
Hit the lake for walleye. Enjoy the views. Appreciate the simple life. Watch for Bald Eagles. Believe they bring good luck. Appreciate all that nature has to offer. Practice filleting fish and enjoy every bite. Say yes to a good Caesar and possibly a few more rum's. Catch up with old friends and listen to live music. Walk home after the bar the long way once in a while.
Pack a picnic. Load up the boat and car with fishing rods, paddle-boards, friends and family. Spend the day in the sun. Catch fish. Race for fun. Take naps. Be brave enough to tackle epic trail runs but stop and enjoy the scenery. Jump off cliffs with your shoes on. Don't think twice, it's alright. Help your parents out when you can. Eat well. Hop in a boat with old friends and party until the sun comes up. Go skinny dipping if the wind hits you the right way.
Sleep in, but not too long. Swim. Paddle more. Visit as many camps and cottages as possible. Love the animals in your life. Celebrate birthdays. Take step photos to track the good times. Get the whole family in the lake for a swim. Win a few games of Bocce Ball and Yuker. Always play music because nothing is better than music. Check out local breweries and bars. Drink more Caesars.
Wake up with good company and coffee. Take on tough runs and workouts with positivity and fit one last trail run in before you hit the road. Add one more cliff jump in as well. Drink smoothies and love the people in your life.
Load up the car - hit the road and sky back to where you came from. The city will be waiting for you but the summer is there if you go looking for it.
Lots love to Ali, Benny, Michael, Dad, Mom, Jeff, August, Elizabeth, Dan, Jim & Gail, Clare, Maura, D-Wayne, Dougie and Maggie for making the weekend so magical. The Lake of the Woods is a very special place. Miss you guys.