I was happily born and raised here in Sault Ste. Marie. I have traveled to many places in Canada and our forests, lakes, beaches, and surroundings are as breathtaking as any I’ve ever seen. As many can attest who have left the Sault, there is often a longing to return.
I have made my home here. Surrounded by friends, family and a close-knit community, of caring, giving and talented people. I have always been an outdoor person. Raised in the far west end of the city, Carpin Beach Area, my siblings and I were country kids. Didn’t hear cars outside my bedroom window at night, just the frogs in the small creek that ran through the side of our property and what seemed like a million crickets singing you to sleep every night. We were outside playing on the weekends from early morning until the sun went down and after school every day. I have so much gratitude for our country upbringing.
Our family has been fortunate enough to have a camp on Devils Lake since long before I was born, originally built by my grandfather in 1952. It is approximately a 6 km drive from Searchmont, Ontario (NW of the Sault) and one of the most beautiful spots on earth in my eyes. Surrounded by thick forests full of Spruce, Cedar, Birch and Maple whose leaves in the Autumn months paint the hills and forests in warm rich fall colors. Devils Lake is where my love of nature, camping, canoeing, and hiking started. So a lot of my articles will involve outside experiences in and around our city.
As kids, from the day grade school, let out in the end of June, until we returned in September, the camp was our stomping grounds and our summer school you could say. We learned so much about living in and loving nature in the North, that I am sure it is where my, “the grass is greenest right where you stand”, dreamer attitude began. I would dream of what canoeing adventure would be next, which leaves, stones, lily pads, frogs or bugs we would find. Daydreaming of the next big hike up the mountain, to plant in the ground our flag to commemorate our trek to the top. Dream of our rides in the back of grandpas truck to the dump in the evening, where we would sit quietly and watch the bears. As children, it was an after-dinner event to look forward to. There were at least 3 or more bears at the country dump on any given evening. After this, we would drive into the Searchmont Confectionary Store for Ice Cream.
The Lake is also where our grandpa taught me my very first guitar chords. The 3 simple chords that would add to my endless singing and writing of songs as a child and carried me through to my songwriting today. Since I was a kid I apparently always knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the nature-loving, guitar picking, songwriter/singer, art-driven Sault-ite that I grew up to become.
Wishes do come true!
Our family also has a bush camp at Prince Lake, just west of Sault Ste Marie in Prince Township. The property has a log cabin on it that my grandpa, father, and uncles all built together as a spot to have coffee and relax after cutting the family’s wood for the winter months. We as a family, all still enjoy this spot to this day. It is also a well-known resting stop for snowmobilers and four-wheeler riders in the Sault area. Who although most have no idea who our family is, have stopped and enjoyed our bush camp and even spent the night, many leaving us notes, thanking us for the use of the shelter. More proof as to the kindness of our Sault Ste. Marie residents.
Spending the night at Prince Lake cabin is like stepping back in time. There aren’t any luxuries that we’re used to having at home. It is the perfect nature walk, snowshoeing area and tobogganing hill for the kids. A small one-room cabin with wood stove, no running water, and drafts-a-plenty. A bunk bed. An outhouse. A deck of cards. What more could anyone want? How about silence? You can stand outside the cabin and not hear a sound but the branches swaying in the wind or cracking under the sparkly, icy snow and my favorite, the lonesome cry of the birds. You can lay in the snow in the winter or on the thick blanketed, foliage forest ground in the summer. Staring up at the millions of stars in the sky it’s the best way to contemplate just how lucky we all are and how beautiful this life is.
To sum it up, I love Sault Ste. Marie because it’s where my people are! It’s abundant in lakes, rivers, and forests. Oh my! Starting at one corner of our city to the other and beyond. From Gros Cap Bluffs to Point De Chaines and heading north to Haviland, Harmony, Batchewanna Beaches. To Our Beautiful Big Lake Superior and Agawa Canyon, Achigan Lake, and Searchmont Area! Our St. Marys River and Soo Locks, White Fish Island, then East to Echo Bay, Thessalon, and Bruce Mines. I could go on all day. The History, the sites, experiences, diversity in people and adventures are endless in our Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma area. Add in our great community of proud business owners who take pride in their work. Our helpful people and eco-conscious citizens and I don’t feel it’s a stretch to call our city, “Our Own Little Piece Of Paradise”.