Day 137 - Lake of the Woods
Longbow is a lovely lake known as the "Fisherman's Paradise" for its abundance of a large variety of fish. The Ministry of Natural Resources has sampled the lake and found that there is an extraordinary number of larger fish within the confines of the lake. The lake itself is 3 miles by 5 miles and feeds into the huge Lake of the Woods. The Lake of the Woods is approximately 15 feet lower than Longbow, but an electric conveyor belt makes travel between the two lakes quite easy. The Lake of the Woods is huge as can be gleaned by the fact that the lake contains over 14,000 islands, borders Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba. Fishing is exceptional in this lake too and a guide is often recommended for your first time experience so that you can get a "feel" for the lake itself and the fishing techniques employed.
It was in 1957 that a piece of property on Longbow Lake caught the attention of Walter and Betty Gustafson. Located on a small peninsula of land, the location seemed an ideal spot to open a tourist camp. The camp had originally been a timber harvesting headquarter for the historic Hudson's Bay Company. It had 8 cabins including a log home Betty and Walter would make their own on 3 acres. With the help of Walter's Swedish-Norwegian parents, Betty and Wally renovated the cabins and planted trees and created vegetable and flower gardens. As the Gustafsons did not have a great deal of money, they soon started renting the cabins.
"We split and carried wood for wood-burning stoves; we pushed and cranked boats up an old roller system; we had old cedar strip wood boats with all the maintenance that is entailed, but there was a community spirit that drove us and kept us together" says Walter Gustafson. "Those were the times that produced some of our warmest memories, our laughter, and, yes, sorrow in seeing the passing of some of "our family", but the memories will live forever".
When the Resort began electricity was limited and there were no inside toilets. There was running water only from a cistern as water was supplied by a cantankerous and electrifying gas pump. Today Gustafson's Resort has grown to a dozen cabins and is open from spring into the fall. Early guests would not recognize the resort today as so much has changed, but it is still Betty and Wally that greet the guests. And for generations the guests have come back for the fishing and the friendly "family" atmosphere only nine miles east of Kenora. There is a beach area and several docks equipped with benches for fishing; some of the biggest fish are caught right off the docks. Kids have a great time catching perch and rock bass while their parents relax in the sun.