Almost every summer of my life, I’ve spent some time up in Thunder Bay at the camp. My Grandparents on my Dad’s side have had the camp for a long time, and it’s one of my favorite places to be!
I love pretty much everything about the camp – how up on Silver Beach, it’s called a camp instead of a cabin, how it’s right on Lake Superior, how once you’re there you can bike, walk or canoe to anywhere you need to go, how nice everyone is, how the camp is often heated by a fire, how a little creek runs between my Nana’s two camps.
Danielle, Kenzie and I were only there for 4 days, but we made the most of them, running around doing all the things we used to do as kids. It’s nice to know that 10 years later, kayaking over the sunken tugboat is still creepy and gives me goosebumps. And swimming in Lake Superior also gives me goosebumps, because saying “the lake is cold” is like saying “the fire is hot” or “chocolate is tasty”. I mean…duh!
I suppose by now it sounds like all I’m doing this summer is hopping from one cabin to another, but don’t worry – I’m still training hard! I put in a decent week of training and still got to do all the camp things I love, although I did get fairly tired by the end of our vacation.
In order to get more mother-daughter time, my Mom would sometimes follow me on a bike. It was nice to spend as much time with my family as possible, and since I only get to see them in person for a couple weeks out of the year, we take whatever time we can get!
Our first night there we visited the Kamview Nordic Centre and jumped into one of their Tuesday night 5km running races. Well, I didn’t exactly “race” as I’d already done intervals that morning, but I had a blast checking out the courses and running almost as fast as some of the 10 yr old kids ripping around the course! I did a short talk and it was nice to meet the skiers in the area; they were super nice and welcoming.
The next day we all piled in the car and drove over to the Sibley Penninsula, this amazing park with the Sleeping Giant – these large rock clifs that look exactly like the profile of a man lying down when you see it on the horizon. The (short version) of the legend goes that the native Indians knew about a massive natural store of silver on the penninsula, and when the white men tricked it out of the Indians, their God, Nanabijou, laid down on the land and turned to stone, flooding the mines and protecting the silver. While my Mom and sister hiked, Danielle, my Dad, Cass (our dog) and I went on a long 25km run around the sleeping giant. It took a lot longer than I thought since the trail turned into a tiny single-track covered in fallen trees and bushwhacking sections, although it was beautiful. Danielle and I went ahead since we were sure my Dad would turn around since the boulder-scrambling sections would be really difficult to do with a dog on the leash. But when we got back to the car, he wasn’t there! So I grabbed a sandwich and a waterbottle and started backtracking. We came back 45 minutes later, for a total of 4 hours, which was a bit more than I’d planned on, and I was really impressed that everyone made it. And even more impressed that my Mom puts up with us. 🙂
Some people have summer traditions; they need to go camping once a summer, or roast a marshmallow, go fishing, or jump in a lake. Me, I need to go cliff jumping. I love that rush of adrenaline and the feeling of falling before you hit the water, and the shock of freezing Lake Superior gives you a little jolt! Every summer I’ve been at the camp, my cousins and I have gone to the quarry to jump off the cliffs. It’s maybe the safest place I’ve ever jumped because it’s a straight shot down into really deep water, but climbing back out can be a little tricky if the waves are big. There are a bunch of different heights to jump from, and we’d work our way higher every summer till we reached the top, which is maybe 25-30 ft. Naturally, I couldn’t come all the way to camp and not go to the quarry, so Danielle, Mackenzie and I biked over.
Another key part of summer is the sauna house. It takes a long time to get the fire stoked enough to heat the sauna, but it’s so worth it. I don’t like getting too hot, but I love running out into the lake to cool off. It’s always a funny scene because the lake is so shallow for about a hundred feet, so you end up sprinting, trying to keep your knees above the water, until you trip and face-plant. You have to run fast because if you’re too slow, you won’t stay hot enough to want to dive in!
It was a fantastic week and I feel so refreshed having had some quality family time, and time up North. And now my Minnesotan accent is fully back. 🙂
Before you go, if you haven’t “liked” the National Nordic Foundation’s facebook page, please do it! This is where lots of photos, race results and information on different U19, U23 and World Junior Championship trips gets posted.