Lake Topaz, ON - Luke Swadron

My Watermark is Lake Topaz, Ontario.

It was the summer of 2014 and the second session of my camp has optional canoe-trips that go from 3 days to 12 days depending on your age group. One of the most anticipated trips at my camp is the 9-day trip in Killarney Provincial Park. Only 9 campers get the opportunity to go and the lake passes need to be bought 7 months in advance. Because it was such an exclusive trip, the trip leaders needed to do a lottery to see who goes on the trip. All my friends waited as they drew 9 names from the hat. My name was the first to be read. I was filled with excitement but as the names continued to be read, my excitement turned quickly into anxiety as not a single one of my close friends were named. I was about to embark on a 9 day trip that I had been thinking about for years and all I could think about was how awkward it would be.

On the fifth day of the trip, despite being an easy trip to this point in terms of workload, we had been through a lot of obstacles; thunderstorms, comically large amounts of deer flies, even a dangerous encounter with a grizzly bear. However nothing would compare to what we would be doing that day: a 4 km hike straight up hill on loose rocks. At the peak of this portage, a small pond sits in solitude. The lake has 'gatorade' blue water due to acidic rain and is surrounded by cliffs that you can jump off of into the water. The hike was excruciating, having to rotate a food barrel and a canoe up hill while constantly losing your footing was difficult but it was all worth it.

We made it to the lake and dived in. It was even more beautiful then my trippers described. The feeling of great achievement was overwhelming. After jumping off the cliffs until we were out of energy, we sat on the cliffside that overlooked the lake and ate the wild blueberries. I realized then how silly it was of me to worry about the people I was on the trip with of all things. We all became great friends and are still friends today. Needless to say, whenever I feel down, I think about conquering that portage then swimming in the lake with my new friends.

Lake Topaz, ON
Upper Canada College
Premek Hamr
Luke Swadron

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