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Cabin Socks, An Old Fishing Cottage & Crisp Mornings: The Highlights of Autumn at the Lake

Is there actually anything that beats spending time at the cottage during the peak of autumn?

By: Shannon Bushinsky + Save to a List

Ok, nothing is better than cabin socks on a crisp and foggy autumn morning on a Canadian lake, am I right?

Spending time away from the stress of everyday life at my family's old fishing cottage in the southeastern reaches of Ontario really has its perks.  The bright and flashy colors of the deciduous trees jump out against the green conifers and dance across the foggy water while the blue jays caw the morning frost away.  Walking down to the water's edge, my boots are softened by the thick blanket of golden pine needles and vibrant sugar maple leaves.  My nose is filled with the scents of pine sap and chilling frost.

As I sit on the edge of the dock with my legs dangling over above the glossy freezing water, I watch the fog slowly roll across the lake.  The sun peaks over the top of the treeline on the eastern shore and dances across the water.  It gently touches my face with warmth and makes the 28 °F air bearable for a little while longer.  I breathe in the thin and chilled air, which pleasurably burns my nose.  My ears ring from the silence.  No one is around.

Inside the old fishing cottage, the warmth of the wood furnace stretches throughout the cold pine boards.  The smell of coffee from the metal can weaves its way from the corner to the center peak.  The cozy and compact space of the cottage provides a place for warm gathering.  Everyone is huddling, close and content.

At sunset, the kayak is pulled down to the water's edge and launched.  The paddles create a monotonous tone in the rippling water, cutting through the ear-ringing silence.  I meander along the shoreline, looking for deer, owls, and bears.  Eventually, I reach the middle of the lake and stop paddling.  A screech owl calls into the freezing air, but eventually ceases.  My ears ring again from the deafening silence.  I gently float in the middle of the lake, in the middle of dead silence, feeling small to the rest of the landscape.

Once the darkness swallows the lake, the fire in the furnace burns, casting dancing shadows across the boards.  The wind whistles through the smallest cracks in the boards and the cold seeps through the wooden floor.  The coyotes howl across the lake and the pines whistle in the wind.  The old fishing cottage creaks as I make my way to bed.  Wrapped in 4 thick blankets and heavy clothes, my mind meanders into the realm of dreams, waiting for the next day.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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