Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hope Bay a gorgeous spot on Lake Huron

Wendy's family has been going to Hope Bay for summer vacation since the 1920s. Her grandfather built a sturdy green house called "Creaky Anteaky," and that's where we stayed. The house did literally creak in the wind and weather, but it was a beautiful piece of old carpentry work that still survives to this day. Many of the roof ribs are visible -- they're true 2x4s, and they are still in great shape. Wendy and I got to sleep in the crow's nest, which is surrounded by open windows with screens (critical in mosquito country). The cool evening breeze of the north country reminded me of my Minnesota childhood.

For the last five years, Wendy has been trying to convince me to fly my boys to Detroit, drive 6 hours north across the Canadian border into Ontario, Canada, to Hope Bay, and stay for at least a week. This year, we planned for it, and went for it. It was a fabulous vacation.

I thought I'd mention this in case you haven't heard of the Bruce Peninsula, a vacation-zone gem that is surrounded by Caribbean-like Lake Huron on both sides. The Peninsula stradles the Niagra Escarpment, a Limestone-Dolomite rock formation that extends from Niagra Falls to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Up there, the escarpment forms cliffs surrounding the bays, and there is a fantastic, well-managed and well-signed long-distance trail that spans the length of the peninsula. We day-hiked several sections of the Bruce Trail, and saw a number of long-distance backpackers and rock climbers. The trail is marked by paint stripes on trees, and there are many side trips provided as well. Kind of reminded me of the Appalachian Trail.

Perhaps the best part of the trip for me was to enjoy a ton of quality time with my family, and Wendy's extended family, in a relaxing setting that felt a world-apart from Idaho.