The artist's wife portages the canoe at Ida Lake in 2006.

Ann and Ida Lake

The artist reflects on changing times on the North Island.

One feeling we all have in common these days seems to be that we have no control over how quickly time flies by us. The days that are way behind us now feel like they were here just yesterday!

The painting shown here was done in 2006 at Ida Lake. It is one of my wife, Ann, carrying our canoe which we’ve had since 1958, the year we got married. This canoe carried us over multitudes of lakes when we lived in Manitoba and has a yoke built into the middle which was used to carry it over multitudes of portages. In 2006, as a model for my painting, Ann was still able to carry it all by herself.

Our daughter, Lorece and her husband, Dennis, have been trying to get us into action once more and this summer coerced us into buying roof racks for our van. I`m not sure what has happened to our bodies but Ann and I (both of us!) can barely lift the canoe up on to the racks! We have done it, though, and have had some marvelous paddles in the hinterland, along with the camaraderie of our kids, who wanted to make sure we were OK out there!

Ida Lake is the little gem of a lake that lies next to the much larger Bonanza Lake. It is the lake that is being used to feed the new Hydro Electric powerhouse at the mouth of the Kokish River. Changes like this scare me because I don`t think anyone knows with any surety what the effect will be. Will I be able to dip my paddle into the same waters without grounding out?

An interesting Sunday drive is to go and see what they are doing up at Ida Lake. This where the dam is being built that will feed the huge penstocks that take the water to the powerhouse. To get there you need to take the Beaver Cove road but instead of turning left at the Telegraph Cove part, turn right, on past the Sea Soil place and just follow the heavily used road. Much of the workers’ traffic goes here so watch out for Sunday workers!

Meanwhile check out some of our wonderful lakes back in the hills. If you have a canoe or a kayak, so much the better!

Gordon Henschel owns an art gallery in Nimpkish Heights. www.henschel.ca