There's bucket list trips then there's the trips you can only dream of!
Gerry Cariou
By Gerry Cariou

Gerry Cariou is the Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country.

Last Updated: October 8, 2019

Every great dream begins with a dreamer...


Sitting in the Sunset Country office on a cool October afternoon, I looked out the office window at the beauty of Lake of the Woods and all it offers. Given it was a Friday afternoon, I'll admit my work ethic is less intense lol, but isn't everybody's?  As a travel marketer, I try and convince you to visit Ontario's Sunset Country and so I got thinking if I had the chance, and with no limits in mind, what would be my dream trip up here? I can tell you it's a lot of fun just to think about it - all that water, all that open space, nature, wildlife. So with three weeks of holidays and no cash limit (remember it's a dream), what would I do?

So I had the idea to write this article as my thing to do for the rest of the day and here's the dream trip that' I'd take to Sunset Country...

Visiting as many lakes as possible would be part of the dream trip...

Where to Start...

With so many choices, what does one do first? Fishing a remote outpost lake comes immediately to mind so the only decision really is where to go. Seems like somewhere further north would be a real adventure so  I'd be heading to catch big lake trout, walleye and pike north of Red Lake, or maybe Sioux Lookout, or since it's a dream trip, both! Staying in one of these cabins, often the only one on the lake is something everyone should experience. The cabins are fully-equipped and you prepare your own meals. The fishing on these remote outpost lakes is often, over the top good! You can literally catch and release 100 fish in a day. Of course,  a walleye shore lunch is part of the day. Nothing like freshly caught fish right out of the lake!

When you take a trip to a remote outpost, you "own" that lake for the week

Taking it to the Next Level

After enjoying time at the outpost it would be time to try something even a little more extreme. A wilderness canoe trip into a Provincial Park. After enlisting the help of a canoe outfitter in planning the route, arranging for a confirmed pick-up time, and renting their equipment, it would then be relatively easy to start on an adventure into the backcountry areas of Ontario's Sunset Country. Choosing where to go is the hard part as each wilderness park offers something different - all majestic and teeming with wildlife and fish. Along the journey, you can look for Indigenous paintings on cliff walls, some centuries old. The history of indigenous culture is a long one and learning about it is worthy of a trip unto itself.

A week of paddling and camping under the stars would be something to do if you love adventure - and it would bring back memories of many paddling trips I took all those years ago. The sound of the paddle as it hits the water, the canoe gliding effortlessly over glass calm lakes is an experience like few others. All around you are the true Boreal landscapes untouched by logging and development. This can only be accessed and experienced first hand on a wilderness canoe trip so it definitely gets on the dream trip list.  

Experiencing wilderness first hand in a canoe should be a part of any dream trip to Sunset Country

Time to Cruise the Big Lakes in a Floating Cabin

So, after being slightly exhausted from my remote outpost and canoe trips, it's time to take it easy for a week and go for a cruise on a houseboat. Since I live next to Lake of the Woods and have been on it countless times, I'm going to try a lake I haven't visited before - Lac Seul - and I can't wait to cruise its shorelines, look for wildlife and of course, wet a fishing line! Not only is a houseboat one of the most relaxing of vacation, planning for your houseboat trip takes some time, and it's important to do it right to ensure you have all you need while out on the water. Good thing the houseboat rental operations make it easy to do.

I like the fact that once you leave the dock it's just you, your family and/or your friends - and the lake - and you can do whatever you want, at whatever pace you want. If it's hot out then swimming will be the major activity and with the fishing boat in tow, you can catch and release dozens of the walleye Lac Seul is famous for. We'll keep a few small ones in the slot to eat for supper of course! I think that after a week out on the water in this floating cabin, the energy I spent on the outpost and wilderness canoe trips will be fully restored! 

Not a bad view off the back of the houseboat!

It was an Enjoyable 3 Weeks!

Well, after three weeks in Sunset Country doing whatever I wanted, I guess its time for the dream to end. The experience of owning a lake - even if just for a week - would probably be the highlight of this trip for me. Being in a remote location and being able to fish whenever I want - even at night - is a dream come true! The canoe trip and the true wilderness aspect that it offers would be the most rewarding part of this trip. When you think about it, completing a wilderness canoe trip is as much an achievement as it is a fun vacation - and certainly something to hang your hat on. The final week on a houseboat well, it's just something I've always wanted to do - especially with my family and maybe a few friends. It's was also a good, relaxing way to end the dream vacation. 

Truth be told if I actually got to do this, it would be a tough time coming back when it ended and getting used to working again.

Can I edit this dream so it doesn't ever end?

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