Summer Fun: Back to Goose Lake

Mack and I spent two weekends ago off the grid at his family’s cabin at Goose Lake, located about two and a half hours north west of Edmonton. This wasn’t my first time there (I had the chance to visit about four years ago), but I felt like we packed in a lot more this time around, even if we were there for just a short time.

Goose Lake

Goose Lake

I will readily admit to not being the most outdoorsy person, but even I found escaping the urban environment relaxing, especially in the evenings, surrounded by darkness and a tranquility not found in the city. This was particularly evident the one night we looked up at the inky sky, the lake so calm that starlight was actually reflecting off of the water.

Goose Lake

Into the woods

Goose Lake

Lots of photogenic wild fungi

Goose Lake


Mack’s parents had come down from Yellowknife to base their vacation around a stay at the lake. Needless to say, their puppies probably enjoyed this reprieve more than their human counterparts, with more fresh air and open space than they knew what to do with!

Goose Lake
Traz loves to play

Goose Lake

Curious puppies

Kotah was just wiped after a long day of fetch

Mack was most looking forward to nights around the campfire with a beer in hand. We did plenty of that, but we also fit in some more active pursuits. In many ways, the trip was a good way for us to relive all the things we used to do as kids, but don’t make much time for now as adults.

Goose Lake

Hot dog roast!

Goose Lake


Goose Lake


Goose Lake

You never forget how to ride a bike

Though we had escaped the city, as Mack said, we didn’t escape food trucks. Two lots down we found The Dogfather (no relation to The Dawg Father that closed in Edmonton a few years ago). Though the menu was standard burger and fries fare, The Dogfather does try to step it up with kitsch – they had a hearse and coffin decked out with the logo, with the slogan “Hot dogs to die for” painted on the side. The owner told us that starting in mid-September, he can be found at the west end location of the Spirit of Halloween, where patrons can donate to have their photo taken inside the coffin. Because of its proximity, we just had to try it out.

Goose Lake

The Dogfather

We ordered a large poutine ($7) to share. The fries had been made fresh, but we were disappointed – they tasted much more like they had been steamed instead of fried. We did like the gravy well enough, and he had been quite generous with the mozzarella.

Goose Lake


All in all, it was nice to get away, even for the weekend. Thanks to Shirley and Fred for your hospitality, and to Martin and Patti for having us. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time at the lake!

Goose Lake

Happy campers

Weekend at Goose Lake

Mack had been talking about bringing me to “the lake” all summer, and over the September long weekend, we finally made it to Goose Lake.

Goose Lake

We drove out on Saturday afternoon, arriving a little while before supper was to start, and had some time to laze around the fire with an alcoholic beverage in hand.

Our home for the weekend – Haights’ Haven (not quite the log cabin or insect sanctuary I had pictured)

Kim the Firemaster

Mack’s grandparents and Tom around the fire

After a dinner of Shirley’s chili and the massive sourdough sandwiches Mack and I had made the night before, we hung around the lake. Our canoe trip was cut short due to water seepage into the boat, but we did make it back on shore in time to see Tom catch a good-sized jackfish.

Tom with fish

We ended the night with some more time around the fire (with marshmallows!) and two card drinking games in Nightmare Nook – Sociables was particularly fun!

Mack playing Sociables

We woke up to the sound of people and pots on Sunday morning. That was one of the nicest things about staying at the lake – we were well taken care of, as both breakfast and dinner were prepared for us by Mack’s relatives, and we barely had to lift a finger all weekend.

The afternoon gave way to recreational pursuits including a leisurely bike ride through the neighbouring campsite, clowning around at a playground, and a lengthy canoe ride (in a fiberglass boat this time) across the lake. Though we weren’t able to get all the way to the weir due to a run-in with silt and weeds, we did see two blue herons.



Tom looking like he’s having the time of his life


Mack, Tom, Mike and Stacey also started a fierce (and mouthy) battle of horseshoes, and we spent more time around the campfire to feed our hunger for flame-kissed hotdogs.

Mike and Mack playing horseshoes

Sitting around the fire

Quite possibly the best picture from the weekend


Roasting hot dogs


Skippy (the two most adorable dogs I’ve seen in a long time)

Dinner was again a family affair. Stacey helped everyone barbecue the meat of choice they had brought along, and Shirley prepared a number of side dishes for everyone to share. Dessert on this night was a fabulous lemon meringue pie.

My steak and potatoes

Lemon meringue pie

Tom and Mike do “the pose”

We were a little less industrious this evening, and simply relaxed by the fire, entertained by a stream of politically incorrect jokes and pyro tendencies. The stars shone with force that night, and had it been a little warmer, I would have liked to lay down to fully appreciate their majesty.

Monday morning consisted of breakfast, group photos, clean-up, and of course, a rematch for the horseshoe gang. Kim also introduced me to “the book” – a loose-leaf record signed by all who have stayed at the lake.

The “kids”

Thanks again to Fred, Shirley, Stacey and Karen for all of your hospitality – I had a great time! It was nice to get away from the city for a while, be “off the grid” as Mack calls it, and to kick back and relax in the outdoors. Mack’s complete set of photos is here.