October 14th 2018
Curious about the South Side and Grassy Plains, I decided to head out on an exploration adventure. Recent forest fires around the Lakes District were devastating and Grassy Plains school opened a few days late this year. The school district even contemplated having the students and staff come to one of the schools I work at to commence the school year. But luckily, the fires were able to be safely contained and are now mostly extinguished. It was time to go and see the scene for myself. After driving to the Francois Lake Ferry terminal, I was lucky enough to have a short wait. The ferry crosses every 50 minutes and is FREE! Although the name is Francois Lake, locals tend to call it Frances Lake.
Once you arrive in South side you drive straight up the hill and soon find yourself surrounded by pasture and farm land. There is a strong Mennonite presence here including a school, a cafe, and churches. As I entered Grassy Plains I was in awe at the beauty. Across from the Grassy Plains public school was rolling hills, cattle, a beautiful little lake, and snow capped mountains in the distance! (Tweedsmuir Park). It is so peaceful and rural here.
I stopped several times to admire the views and take photos. I followed the road past Grassy Plains ending up at Takysie Lake. There are recreational camping areas here overlooking lovely Takysie Lake.
I had seen some evidence of the fires to this point, but was quite shocked as I approached Takysie Lake Resort. The owners of this “resort” would not evacuate and the fire devastated the property across the street and even burned through their fence and sign! The owners stayed and said they fed the fire fighters every day and only slept from midnight until 4:00 a.m. most of the summer. The cabins, camping spots, cafe, store, and gas pumps all are still standing while much of the woods and land around them was lost to fires. I took some photos of the pink popular trees on the edge of the lake. The trees were covered with pink fire retardant.
I walked around the Takysie Lake “resort” then went inside to explore the unique store and have lunch at the cafe (with many of the locals). The owners and locals were super friendly and chatted with me. It turns out the previous night was a community heroes gala in Burns Lake. The owners won an award and the husband attended but the wife stayed at the resort to cook dinner! This is a wonderful area to explore…The people are so friendly and you can definitely step back from the chaos of urban or hectic life. I will definitely be back!