Lac Mercier, QC - Rebecca Bahar
My Watermark is Lac Mercier, Quebec.
Between the ages of twelve and fifteen, I spent the months of July and August at summer camp. Camp Kinneret, is located on Lac Mercier in Mont-Tremblant, is named after the Sea of Galilee. Camp Kinneret got its name because it is situated right beside a big, blue, and tranquil lake.
The lake was integral to our camp. The majority of our activities involved the water; we would go swimming,canoeing, and sailing every day. Relays, competitive swimming, and the camp triathlon were traditions that happened every single year. When it was time for “fitness swimming”, we would swim across the lake (the distance being just a bit over one kilometre) to visit the small town situated near the shore. We always bought ice cream at a small family-owned shop in the town. As a result, every member had to be creative when it came to bringing money with them when they swam. Ziploc bags, unsurprisingly, became a hot commodity at Camp Kinneret.
My first year there was an incredible experience, and I could not wait to return the following year. The moment I got there, however, the lake seemed different. It was much greener than before. The water seemed mucky. Turns out, our beloved lake was experiencing a blue-green algae bloom.
For the entire two months of camp that year, we were not allowed into the lake due to safety concerns. The water activities that defined my experiences at Camp Kinneret were all cancelled. It was a particular hot summer with perfect swimming weather, which only irked camp members more. It was going to be a long summer without long swims for ice cream and capture-the-flag canoeing.
Our general swimming periods turned into “bunk activities”, where we would braid each other’s hair, make bracelets, and paint nails. It bored everyone out of their minds. To the camp’s credit, they did everything they could to incorporate water into our activities. Sprinklers were set up to keep us cool, and a huge inflatable water slide was put up for our enjoyment. Water defined Camp Kinneret, and despite their best efforts the experiences that year were just not as thrilling.
The lake was a source of fitness and joy for all of us. It was Kinneret tradition for camp members every year to collectively create a plaque that defined their experience at camp. I distinctly remember the plaque that year, as it was covered in blue-green paint and sad faces. We still had fun, but the algae bloom made it significantly harder for us to enjoy ourselves.
A year later, Camp Kinneret’s lake had recovered and regained its beautiful blue water. As I stepped back into the cool gentle water, I knew camp was going to be a lot of fun this time around. And boy, was I right.