My home for the first 18 years of my life was just 1/2 mile from the South Saskatchewan River. As noted in an earlier blog the river was a source for ice for our ice house where we kept perishables cold in the summer. It was also our source for water for our house. For bathing, washing clothes, etc.
We had a lot of respect for the river. I have no recollection of hearing of anyone drowning in the river but in the early years there was a lot of visiting across the river by boat. My parents were very strict about where we were allowed to swim in the river. The river could be very low in the summer and many sandbars would form close to shore. This would make for a perfect swimming area for us although there was also the danger of quick sand!
I’m sure even when I was young there were swimming lessons offered in Outlook, SK where they actually had a swimming pool! However, for some reason, we didn’t participate in any lessons. When I moved to Regina I joined the YWCA and not only took swimming lessons but also exercise classes on a regular basis. Swimming just never appealed to me.
The first time I vacationed at a lake it was at Waskesieu in Prince Albert National Park and the water was cold; very, very cold. I spent little time swimming. Then there was Crystal Lake, a small lake about two miles long. This lake is just north of Canora in Saskatchewan and true to its name the water is crystal clear. Doc had grown up spending summers at this lake so it was where we went when Colleen was about two years old. We rented a cabin right on the lake. The water was warm, Colleen was having so much fun, and the next minute she almost drowned. Lesson learned – don’t take your eye off a child if only for a moment.
Then there was Madge Lake, in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, near Kamsack, SK. If you have never been to that area of the prairie provinces you really should go. It is called “God’s Country” — so lush with trees and vegetation that it shelters you from the wind. Madge Lake is where we loved to go as a family and where my kids learned to swim and canoe. I even managed to play a game or two at the beautiful golf course in the park.
Our friends, Pat and Harlow Way, were also great fans of Madge Lake. There were six kids in the Way family and they loved going to Madge Lake. The water is clean and you could walk out 1/4 mile in the water and not have the water up to your waist.
We arrived at the lake one Saturday and I had made a cooler filled with potato salad, hot dogs and buns etc. We joined the Ways for lunch. Harlow tended the BBQ and after a beer or two we sat down to eat. It was a really hot day and I just opened the two large cans of beans and put them on the table. The Way kids had never eaten beans like that and one of them said, “Mom, the beans are cold!” It was a new experience for them.
I did try water skiing once and got up on the skis but that was enough for me! I love to walk the beaches along the wet sand.The pool at Coral Springs Resort is my choice for being in the water.