My summer was jam packed – we did our first ever family camping trip in Minnedosa, an epic train-taking, beluga-watching, dog-carting trip to Churchill, plus trips to the beach, the lake, the farmers’ market, the pool, the park, etc, etc, etc…So as the summer slipped into fall and I got the chance to head out to Falcon Trails Resort, I decided this was the perfect place to unwind after a whirlwind summer and find a little me time.
Step 1: Arrive at sunset
Taking off after work, there is no better reminder that I’m ready for a little down time than getting through rush hour traffic. As more trees and rocks begin to pop up from the flat land, I know I’m getting close to Whiteshell Provincial Park. During the summer, Falcon Lake is packed with cottagers and campers escaping to the lake life. But now, as kids are back to school, the lake is quiet. Falcon Trails Resort is tucked away on the south end of the park’s Falcon Lake and I imagine that even at the height of summer this place is as serene and peaceful as it is when I arrive as sunset. Let the unwinding begin!
Step 2: Sit by a fire
Settling into the Sunrise cabin, its cozy atmosphere is made even cozier with a blaze roaring in the fireplace. The staff at this family-run resort have built the fire, all I need to do is light it, sit back and relax. Ahhhh.
Step 3: Go on a hike
After a quick breakfast featuring some delicious fresh breads and scones (seriously the best scones I have ever eaten) from Old Church Bakery in Steinbach, I’m off to commune with nature on a hike to High Lake. The path is wide, but it’s not always easy – a good metaphor for life that I contemplate during the hike. As I climb steep incline and step over rocks, I try to clear my head of thoughts of packing lunches and doing laundry. Everyday to-do lists don’t belong between the trees.
My destination is Falcon Trails’ Eco Cabins on High Lake. Guests lucky enough to stay at one of four (soon-to-be six, as two more are under construction) cabins here enjoy complete seclusion – there is no other development on this lake. The hand crafted lakefront cabins here are each unique – built with materials like logs and straw bales; the love the Christie/Hamilton family have poured into these cabins is obvious.
Step 4: Get out on the water
Whether it’s motor-powered or paddle-powered, getting out on the water will clear anyone’s mind. As the sun sparkles on the lake, I feel the wind on my face and I breathe in the fresh fall air. What more do I need to say: it’s completely relaxing. If I had had a fishing rod, I would have dropped a line. High Lake is a deep lake, good for perch, jackfish, and black crappie. Although having to reel in a fighting fish would have seriously killed my zen state of mind.
Step 5: Ride a horse
There’s nothing like bouncing around on a horse to make you forget about life at home and think solely about how sore your butt is. I’m mostly joking; the trail ride through the forest with Falcon Beach Ranch is really quite enjoyable. My horse is Apache, a beautiful animal, who seems to take my struggle to loosen up quite literally as he keeps pulling at the reins, looking for a bit more slack.
We come to an agreement and enjoy the rest of the ride in peace.
Step 6: Shoot a rifle
Breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out; breath in, hold, and fire. This is the direction I get at the Biathlon Manitoba training centre located at Falcon Lake. A short walk across the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes are the range and trails used for the sport that combines the physical exertion of cross country skiing and the accuracy and focus required for target shooting. It was here that two-time Olympian Megan Imrie got her start in the sport, and today local kids and biathletes across the province come here to train and compete.
With instruction provided by biathlon coach and manager at Falcon Trails, Caleigh, I assume the position, aim, breathe, and fire. And miss. Every time. Despite my inaccuracy, the activity has made me channel my concentration, and in the end I feel ready to take on any new challenge life throws my way.
Step 7: Enjoy the view
This step is extremely easy to do as the views are amazing everywhere I look. My cabin – as all the cabins are – is lakeside, so the view of the lake from the cabin is equally as impressive as the view from the private dock. I set myself in front of the window to take advantage of the light streaming in through the large windows and finally colour my first page in the colouring book I bought myself for the May long weekend. I told you my summer was busy.
Step 8: Sit in a hot tub or sauna
The Sunrise cabin, along with the eight other Falcon Cabins and the Boreal Lodge for larger groups, has a hot tub on a screened in porch, making it the perfect place to end the day with a glass of wine. There’s also a lakefront wood burning sauna, for those looking to sweat out their stress.
Step 9: Get a good night’s sleep
I climb the ladder to my bed in the loft, a cozy little corner where my mind-clearing activities help me drift off easily to dreamland.
Step 10: Watch the sun rise
I head down to the dock in my pajamas to watch the lake wake up. There’s a sleepy mist over the water, and a flock of geese overhead honk their morning song.
And as the sun begins to peek over the trees, I can’t help thinking that this would be an awesome place to bring my family. The kids could jump off the dock, their laughter echoing off the water. We could pile into a canoe and go fishing, go on an adventure in the forest, and I would yell at them when they throw stuff down from the loft. This was a great place to find some peace and quiet, but I think next time I’ll bring some chaos and noise.