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A few years back, my wife and kids went to my grandparents place at Wayakewin Lake in northern Saskatchewan. We had high hopes of fair weather for the trip from Tofield to Wayakewin but shortly after crossing the border, things got nasty quickly.

After the eight-hour drive, we all settled around the table for a home cooked meal by my grandmother. The trip was worth it right there for me. During and well after the meal, we passed around stories, most of them coming from my grandfather who had careers in both the Military and as a Correction Officer.

Growing up, my grandfather was always encouraging us to do things we normally wouldn’t do, whether it was jumping off a boat into a lake or going for a walk in the middle of the night. He always said, “Life is all about the experiences, don’t let them pass by.” He had the fortune to  travel to over 30 countries during his time in the service so his experiences are vast to say the least.

After settling in the first day and being cabin bound by the weather, the second day looked as though it was going to promise pretty much the same as the first day—overcast, wind and periods of rain.

After moping around the cabin for a while and seeing our kids becoming restless, my grandfather suggested we go down to the beach for a walk to get out of the house. My son and I agreed to the tour. When we got there, it was just as cloudy, windy and not much was going on. The lake was choppy and the beach was empty except for us. My son, the diehard water weasel, decided to go for a bit of a swim while my grandfather and I watched from the beach. The boy wasn’t in for very long.

Shortly after, he was back on the beach drying off. It was at this point we noticed a pine marten darting in and out of the tree line on the far side of the beach. I raced back to the truck for the camera but to no avail, the marten was gone. That was the first time I had ever seen one so I was excited to say the least.

We patiently waited for its return but we had no such luck. We decided to pull the pin at that point and head back to the cabin so my son could get into some dry clothes. As we were walking, my son yelled out, “Look, a rabbit!” There it was, a small rabbit bee lining it straight for the lake. Closer and closer it got to the edge and finally right into the water it went. If I wasn’t there to see it with my own eye’s I never would have believed it. And thankfully, I still had my camera in hand to take a few pictures.

He jumped into the lake for a few minutes and then out he came. He then hung out on the beach for a few minutes. I took a few pictures and then left it to continue its relaxation.

Now, I’m not sure if the pine marten had anything to do with it needing to take a dip to avoid danger, or maybe there was something bigger in the woods we didn’t see like a bear or a lynx. Or, perhaps it was just infested with fleas but none the less it was a remarkable experience we will never forget.

Everyone that opted to stay in the cabin missed out and it just goes to show you that if we hadn’t gone out at my grandfather’s advice for a stroll to the lake, we never would have seen that pine marten or the little rabbit go for a soak. ■

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