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Lake Ontario: Big catch escapes again

Lake Ontario: Big catch escapes again
December 30, 2020 Natasha Blakely

This is part of a series in which the Great Lakes Now staff looks back on 2020.


At this time last year, this humble news director made big claims regarding making a visit to Lake Ontario to complete the full list of “Great Lakes I’ve visited.”

Unfortunately, Lake Ontario remains an achievement I have yet to collect. Is there some sort of failed resolution curse that I should be wary of? Someone should let me know.

What had initially been high hopes for a summer road trip very rapidly dissipated come March this year when most of the year’s plans fell apart in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way that started impacting everyone’s lives.

Belle Isle (Photo by Naomi Blakely)

Life early on that spring and summer started with running every day and included vague plans to go running along the shore of Lake Ontario somewhere, but within a couple months morphed into injured knees and holing up at home with vague plans to stare at the lake sometime.

If anyone asked me what I did between June and October, I would honestly be hard-pressed to say. I… ate food? Slept? Worked? Possibly blacked out for 5 months.


Editor’s Note: She worked. See “2020 Vision” for some of what she actually did this year.


Regardless, the Lake Ontario trip did not happen.

Rather than disappointed however, I find myself grateful for the chances to familiarize myself with my more immediate area. Instead of casual jaunts around the region, I took numerous smaller trips within an hour of where I live, taking in more of my neighborhood, and the state and municipal parks splattered here and there.

With no access to a gym pool – or a personal one ☹ – I started swimming laps in the Detroit River by Belle Isle. While that beach and those waters might not make it onto some online list of world’s most beautiful beaches, I can tell you that wasn’t what I was dwelling on as I soaked in what little sun you can get in Michigan, breathing in the cool air and digging my feet into the sand.

Belle Isle (Photo by Natasha Blakely)

I would be the first to admit that this has been a frustrating and disappointing year. Grand plans have been trashed and relegated to some nebulous future that may or may not happen. This has not been the summer I will be spending the next two years telling people about because of some lovely exotic trip. No big catch for me.

But it has been filled with many metaphorical small catches that deserve to be appreciated.

So am I finally going to visit Lake Ontario in 2021?

Who’s to say?

All I can say is that not even COVID-19 will keep me from a beach or the water, even if I do end up getting a mask tan.


Read 2019’s staff lookbacks:

Superior Crossing: Sailing across the biggest, deepest and coldest Great Lake

An Open Letter: I have been seeing lake sturgeon and plan to keep it up in 2020

4 out of 5: I’ll get you next time, Lake Ontario

The Great Lakes in 2019: Senior Correspondent Gary Wilson’s look back at the headlines

Great Lakes Now: Our 2019 look back and our 2020 look ahead

Or read some real news on Great Lakes Now:

Pipelines and Plastic Bottles: Michigan advocate focuses on Line 5 and Nestle bottled water issue

PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous. A Pitt scientist is working to protect you from thousands of types at once.

Field Tiles: Continued use and improvement of drainage systems pose problems for Lake Erie

Public Concern: Climate change, runoff and chemicals at the forefront of people’s worries about the Great Lakes

Family-owned fishing businesses displaced by waterfront developments on Great Lakes


Featured image: Belle Isle (Photo by Naomi Blakely)

1 Comment

  1. Eric Jordan 8 months ago

    Background music is so soothing in the video 😍

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