Years ago, Ben was fishing in his lake when a monster-sized fish bit his hook.
He struggled for two hours before reeling the beast ashore.
In its mouth was a golden fishhook and when he reached to grab it, the fish flipped its tail, spat out a map and then took out on the water, never to be seen again.
When he couldn’t find the treasure on the map, Ben grew frustrated, tore it to pieces and scattered them around his lake.
So goes the legend of Ben’s Lake Campground as told by owner Josh Lindsay, who created the story for a treasure hunt giveaway.
Valerie Vuillemot was the winner and accepted her prize, a sailboat, on Aug. 6, though she’s not sure what to do with it yet, she said.
“We don’t even know how to sail.”
The true story
In reality, Lindsay bartered his way to the sailboat over a series of 13 trades, which started with the fabled golden fishhook.
After getting the boat, he found himself in the same situation Vuillemot is in.
He owned a sailboat and he didn’t know how to sail.
“I thought maybe I’d do a sail around P.E.I. and this and that. Then I had to get realistic here with myself and my time.”
He couldn’t close his new campground to learn to sail and go adventuring.
That’s why giving the boat away made sense to Lindsay.
And as his trades had gone full circle from a hook to a boat, he came up with the treasure hunt as a way to promote areas of Ben’s Lake many people wouldn’t be familiar with, he said.
“Everyone always thinks of Ben’s Lake as the place to go fishing, but there’s a whole lot more in terms of nature and wildlife and wilderness here.”
A birthday surprise
Vuillemot completed the hunt as part of her birthday celebrations with her three children, a friend and the friend’s daughter. It involved some orienteering and map-reading challenges, as well as answering clues that were focused around Canadian trivia.
For her, it was just a fun activity to get out of the house and check out the campground. She knew Lindsay from college and had been watching his progress with Ben’s Lake on Facebook.
After completing the hunt, all six team members were entered in the draw, but she said the thought of winning didn’t even cross her mind until Josh called.
“We definitely were not expecting to win … I actually had to say, ‘can I call you back?’ We had to kind of mull it over for a couple hours.”
Truthfully, it was Vuillemot’s daughter, Alice, whose name was drawn.
When Lindsay told her Alice won, Vuillemot replied.
“I don’t think that’s legal.”
So officially, Vuillemot is the new owner of a boat she can’t use. Unofficially, when she suggested trading the boat for something more useful, like kayaks, Alice was adamant.
“You’re not trading my boat.”
If Vuillemot can’t trade it away, she’s got at least one backup plan.
“We’re hoping my sister might be able to come visit soon. She knows how to sail. Fingers crossed.”