Stewart Lake, a thing of beauty

lake shore cedar leaningStewart Lake near Mactier is one of the countless lakes that dot the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada, about 2 hours from Toronto. It is, real estate agents will assure you, a lesser lake, the greater and pricier lakes being Muskoka, Joseph and Rousseau. But Beauty has no truck with such opinions. Beauty serves the light.

For the past week, I observed Stewart Lake from its southern end, Kilty Bay. At dawn, it was as smooth and clear as a mirror. By mid-morning it was beginning to darken and ruffle under a NW breeze, the bane of sun umbrellas. As the sun went down, the breeze fell and the water began to reflect the sky, fading gradually back to silver as the trees blackened in the background, a black on silver silhouette. Some evenings, sunset glowed pink at the other end of the lake, deepening and deepening into a narrow band of vivid colour on the western horizon. One spectacular night, the entire sky turned mauve and the deep purple.

lake and clouds iphone

lake and cloudes 2 iphone

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERATrue a lake is watery as well as light filled and the fragrance of eau du lac haunted me night and day. Just breathing it seemed to heal the urban soul, beset this summer by power outages and road closures. It smelled like water lilies and wet cedar and earth and wilderness. (Well pseudo wilderness at least.)

It was home to a sizable otter and its frolicksome offspring and largeish fish that came up to feed at dusk and made undulating patterns like lesser Lochness monsters. A large hare scampered down for a drink. The deer, however, kept to themselves in the woods.

Stewart Lake has a squishy muddy bottom, an acquired taste for toes. It had very few motor boats while we were there, so kayaks and canoes could drift along the shore silently, an especially pleasurable experience when someone else is paddling. The tariff I paid was comedy: I sat in the bow and attempted to push off from the dock. The canoe didn’t move but I glided gracefully and silently off the seat onto my bum, feet in the air.

“Wait,” cried my sister Georgia when I had righted myself. “You don’t have a life jacket.”

No problem, we all agreed. If we tipped, I could walk back on the lake bottom.

Muddy, shallow and entirely beautiful!

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

6 thoughts on “Stewart Lake, a thing of beauty

  1. In spite of all it’s foibles and eccentricities I will sorely miss Stewart Lake next year! In the future, when the weather turns warm and July comes to an end, I will always think back on our family’s time at this quirky little Eden in the northern woods!
    Beautiful photos.

    • I grew up on this lake….we moved to the states when I was twelve, I miss Stewart Lake so much….what a childhood I had with the huge rock going down to the lake in our front yard….there were hardly any cottages on the lake at the time, our place was the last one outside of town and that was it….I walked to school from there…down the lane, over the railroad tracks, around the little ballpark, thru town and to,the school….loved every minute of it!

      • Thanks for this reply. I love the Lake Stewart so much. The cottage we usually rent right at the railway end of the lake is being sold. Alas. In any case I am here on a California mountain for the time being. I just posted a blog about the bears here, but some of my information came from Stewart Lake living. If you go to my home page the post called Bear Alley should come up.

  2. I love vicarious vacations in places close to my heart like those little northern lakes. Your words are as beautiful as the pictures.

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