Lodge Life

Here are some stories from past seasons. For the most up to date pictures and comments visit our FaceBook page.

The Real Pioneers

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
[caption id="attachment_82" align="alignleft" width="300" caption=""Our Start at Hay Lake"                                  "][/caption] I've told a lot of guests how Phil and I came to Hay Lake Lodge and Cottages, when Doug was 6 months old.  I have some great stories - how there was no hydro (electricity) when we came, only a generator, how we had to build the business back up from nothing because it had been closed, how I became the cook - and it's all true!  Sometimes looking back there is a bit of a "Little House in the Big Woods" feeling when I describe my daughter Laura's cradle by the fire to keep warm in the winter, or how I kept Doug in his carrier on my back while I served dinner, because he was ill and that was the only way he would sleep.  The winter Phil worked away, I had to turn off the generator at night and as it faded into silence, there was just a kerosene lamp in the window against the dark trees.  I love to tell my "pioneer stories" - but today I want to introduce you to the real pioneers - Gordon and Clover Palbiski, who built Hay Lake Lodge and Cottages and ran it from 1953 to 1974. This is Clover. Clover's an Avery, the family  who runs Opeongo Outfitters, the oldest outfitters in Algonquin Park.  Clover is the best baker and cook in the world, and still supplies Hay Lake with butter tarts and pies.   She has enough energy for 10 people and makes you feel at home immediately. Then there is Gordon.  Gordon has just published his memoirs, so you'll have to read the whole story for yourself, but they broke the mold when they made Gordon.  His first job  was hauling an ice sleigh with a team of horses, and he became a bush pilot when he ran the Lodge.  Gordon's story has it all. Gordon and Clover were the real pioneers. They cleared the bush, cut the logs, built the cabins and the lodge, raised a family and made lifelong friends with guests who came to fish and hunt, and stayed for the warm hospitality.   We learned the lodge business from them.  Today we are lucky; they are our neighbours and our friends.  Be sure to stop over at Clover's for a pie or home made bread when you are here - and listen to Gordon's outrageous stories.  You'll see a part of what has made Hay Lake so special.