Camp Ak-O-Mak Report from Diane Arnold
Coach asked me to write up a little recap of the Triathlon Training Camp that a few of your fellow Tri Dawgs attended at Camp Ak-O-Mak in Northern Ontario, June 14-19. In case this is the first you’ve heard of it, this is a girl’s camp where Jocelyn and Blair Saunders are coaches and Jocelyn is also Athletic Director. Brooke was practically raised there, and if you’ve been a Tri-Dawg for a while, I’d be surprised if you haven’t seen pictures posted from Lake Ahmic on our facebook page each summer. This year, they rolled out a brand new adult camp, and Coach, Marianne, Patti Huber and her husband, Neil, my husband, Dave, and I, plus a Tri-Dawg I hadn’t met before, Shoba Sidigonde and a very nice group of other folks made up the inaugural bunch of campers. I hope you enjoy this recap, as it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Bottom line is “Best Time Ever,” and I am dead serious about that!
We caravanned with the Hubers from home all the way to camp, having lunch in the Finger Lakes and dinner in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We slept the first night in a cute motel Patti found called Quiet Bay Log Motel, which was just down the road from Camp Ak-O-Mak. It’s for sale … hmmnnn…. Dave brought along his fiddle and banjo-guitar to learn some new tunes between some serious sleeping sessions that he needed to catch up on. Neil brought his fishing gear, and we all had bikes, so even the husbands got out for some rides. It was really nice, though, to share a vacation where there was so much for everyone to do, no matter if triathlon is your thing.
The days went something like this.
Coffee and then an earlybird one-mile-ish swim followed by either a run, paddle or swim back in time for the breakfast bell. (That bell became iconic, and,by day two, caused instant salivation.)
After breakfast, we were presented a choice of morning activities, depending on the weather and if you overate. Haha. UGH. (Maybe announcements should have come *before* meals??) Cycling, MTB, hiking and running were always on the table, so to speak.
After lunch, afternoon activities were presented while we digested with cups of tea. How civilized! These were anything from water sports (canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing) to workshops.
There were always a couple of swim practices a day in the coolest outdoor pools you will ever experience (you’ll see them in the photos and videos), as well as daily yoga, strength training and massages.
Aahhhhh… even with relaxing agenda items, we were rarely still. We were blessed with a rainy day, with NO thunder, so the swim was still on! Afterward,
though, we enjoyed reading by the fire along with the regular indoor activities. Forced “rest.”
Dinner was amazing. All of the meals were. There were even Vegan options. And wine. The chef was unbelievable and ran a very tight ship in the kitchen. The entire kitchen staff was top-notch. It was impossible to resist overeating. But then again, we worked from dawn until dinner. No shame in gorging! The hardest part for me was to not overeat right before a hard workout. It took everything I had to accomplish this, but by the last day, I had mastered it. However, by the last day, I was pretty sure another day would’ve probably killed me.
After dinner, if you could stay awake, there was some unexpected entertainment. My husband gave a little musical performance one night and we had just enough wine at dinner to enjoy some square dancing on a couple of nights. Remember, there is quite a bit less than 8 hours of dark there this time of year.
I’m not going to lie. There were bugs. Lest you think I am giving you only the good bits of the story, I will convince you otherwise by not sugar-coating the ONE possible downside (for some) to camp. The mosquitos and blackflies were pretty bad. I used a DEET-free bug spray that worked at least as well as other folks’ DEET … on the mosquitos. But next year I will look for something that is better for blackflies. (Then, next year, it won’t be buggy at all! It was an exceptionally wet spring this year.) Having said that, I think most of us got the bug situation under control after a couple of days, knowing when they are the worst and how to spend time without any bug spray on at all and not get eaten. The good news is, within a couple days of returning home, all evidence of bites were fading. : ) Also, NO TICKS, and no poison ivy. See? It wasn’t that bad at all.
I went to girl scout camp once or twice in my youth, and tent-camped every summer with my family out West growing up, so this trip was a no brainer for me. Camp Ak-O-Mak -- in my humble opinion -- is Glamping, with four walls and a good roof on each cabin, flush toilets and even hot water in the showers if you’re not into jumping into the lake to get clean. And did I mention the food? And wine?? So even If you don’t consider yourself much of a camper, you might want to look into this for next year. The number of days and timing of camp mean that you don’t have to blow a lot of vacation time, and the cost is very affordable. Dave and I will definitely be back! Here’s a link to their website.
Here are some links to photos and videos to inspire you, which were created by Blair Saunders and posted on Facebook:
Slideshow #2 (a video collection)
Five clips of the sky from 5 days at Ak-O-Mak