Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Fall in Ontario is a feast for all your senses…breathtaking vistas emblazoned with fiery colours of crimsons, reds, golds and more… Indulge yourself at an Ontario resort or inn this Fall, where an amazing array of packages such as Fall Colour Packages, Reconnect Now…Just the two of you, Spontaneous Getaways and Thanksgiving Packages and celebrations can be enjoyed with those closest to you for just that special reason. Just a short drive away, often only three or four turns from where you are. For a taste of Fall, browse through our web site at http://www.resortsofontario.com

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Beauview Cottage Resort

The first weekend of November is behind us and what a great start to November it was. It was nothing but sunshine and mild fall temperatures in Resort Country. Over the last few years, I have noticed a trend where we see most of October being wet and cool (with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend,) but come November, the temperature starts to climb back up. That trend looks to be continuing again for 2011 which means there is still time for you to getaway and enjoy some fall activities in Ontario’s beautiful natural landscapes.

By now most of the leaves have fallen meaning there is an increased opportunity to see and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. Moose and deer are on the move as they start their fall rut. Bears are busily searching for food as they bulk up for winter. Birds are starting their migration. Fall fishing is raved about as well.

There is a lot to be said for hiking in the fall. While you have likely missed the fall colour change, there is still reason to get out. The smells and sounds of fall are ever-present come November. The soft crunching feel and sound of the drying leaves are unmistakable and if you are patient enough, you might actually hear and see animals approaching. As the cool weather sets in, there is also a calming stillness in the fall air.

Fall mornings are especially tranquil when you wake up to see the morning fog rolling around the lakes. Combine that with a cup of coffee or tea and the sound of a loon calling and you are starting your day off the right way. Then once your day unwinds, take in the spectacular pastels of colour across the sky and reflected on the water as the sun begins to set.

This coming weekend, November 11-13, Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville is featuring Jann Arden as part of a girlfriends getaway package. Click here for all the details and to book your getaway package.

On November 19th, Pinestone Resort in Haliburton is hosting a Superstars Tribute live show beginning at 7:30 pm. Overnight packages start at $259 per couple which includes 2 tickets for the show and dinner buffet. Phone 705-457-1800 for more information.

For something even more laid back and relaxing, check out the “Spa Your Way” package from Pillar and Post in Niagara on the Lake from $195 pp. which gives you a $100 spa credit that you can use to alleviate all your pre holiday stress.

View our monthly newsletter for even more great fall packages and sign up to receive specials emailed to you directly.

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After what has been one of the hottest summers in recent memory, it seems as though mother nature finally turned on the Air Conditioning last night… Can’t blame her for doing her part to keep the a/c off for most of the summer to help combat climate change but what a difference today was. I for one welcome the change and the more comfortable sleeping conditions. When I woke up this morning, I noticed something a little different in the air, something almost a little crisp.  It reminded me of my favourite time of year… Fall. While there is still time to getaway this summer (and still some resort availability for the weekends leading up to and including labour day. Call us at 1-800-363-7227 for a list of resorts with availability.)

While the next season may still be several weeks away there are some great benefits to it.

  • Bugs tend to be less active. Not sure about others but at my place, the deer flies were bigger and meaner than ever this summer and it seems their season is coming to an end. I think the hot, dry July also did it’s part to lower the mosquito population… I am happy to say I have only had 1 bite in over a week and I live in a very low-lying, swamping area.
  • The beautiful colours on the trees. Our most northern resorts typically start seeing the colour changes around the middle of September, Algonquin usually starts changing the last week of September and with the Kawarthas and Eastern Ontario getting colour peaks into October.
  • Wildlife viewing and hearing. Have you ever heard a moose during the rutting season? A loon call during a fall morning canoe ride? A wolf howling? Once labour day passes, resort country tends to be quieter allowing for opportunities to hear the natural surroundings. And as the leaves drop, the forest is more exposed allowing for more viewing opportunities.
  • The smell. Fall has that unique smell (caused by decomposing leaves and plants,) but combined with the cooler air it provides a fresh scent.
  • Fishing. With fewer people out on the lakes, that means less pressure on the fish meaning more opportunities to catch the big one. The less boat traffic also makes casting more enjoyable without the constant up and down motion.
  • Hikes become even more enjoyable. It is a lot easier to hike in the fall when you aren’t drenched in sweat from the extremely hot humid days. Again because of fewer people traveling to get away, the trails are less busy providing more wildlife viewing possibilities.

While the summer has been great, with lots of fun had; the fall season opens up new opportunities. With summer’s end unofficially only 4 weekends away it might be time to start planning your great fall escape. We are here to help; give us a call, visit our website or send us an email.

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School’s out for another summer and that means you are likely trying to figure out what to do with the kids. In an earlier post I mentioned some of the resorts that offer children’s programs but there are also resorts that let you plan your own days events. Our cottage resorts are a great option for reconnecting with your family, with the natural surroundings and are conducive to having fun. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and realize this could be the start of an annual tradition.

Bondi Village Cottage Resort

Kayaking on Lake of Bays at Bondi

At Bondi Resort in Dwight they are welcoming guests back this week for their 50th summer! Over the years the family has grown and they are now at the point of taking over the resort when they come. Bondi offers a little bit of everything from swimming in the lake, a frisbee golf course, several kilometers of hiking trails, wolf calling, star-gazing and so much more. The team at Bondi knows what it takes to make a vacation memorable and keeping their guests coming back year after year.

Looking to catch the “big one?” They look no further than Beauview Cottage Resort. In owner Gord’s latest blog post, he shares a picture of some young gentlemen showing off their catch. Speaking from experience, the first bass a young boy catches is the one he will remember for the rest of his life… not to mention it’ll have them hooked on fishing. Beauview also added to their water toys this year with a “Moonwalk” connecting the “Iceberg” to the Water trampoline. At the end of the day, you can soak in a private hot tub or sit under the stars next to a campfire.

The 4 season Sandy Lane Resort in Haliburton is another great option for those looking for a kid friendly atmosphere. The cottages surround a beautiful park like setting on the shore of Halls Lake. Sandy Lane is ideal for all types of activities and your kids will love playing on their playground equipment, swimming in the lake, or just going out for a relaxing and calm paddle on the water.

Heading east towards Ottawa? Then you’ll want to stay Perth’s “Ultimate Family Resort on the Lake,” McCreary’s Beach, which is only 10 minutes out-of-town and only 45 minutes to the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. Pick between staying in one of their charming cottages or condos and enjoy the tranquil setting as you look out onto Mississippi Lake. During your stay, you’ll enjoy use of their Fun Zone, entertainment complex, arcade, tennis courts and so much more.

Whether you are looking to go to the near north, towards Lake Huron in the west, or east of Toronto, there are spectacular cottage resorts available. Visit the cottage resort section of our website and start planning your new summer tradition of experience cottage resorts in Ontario.

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Surfing in Muskoka? Really? That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about this awesome new activity being offered at Colonial Bay Cottage Resort this summer. Sure enough it’s true and if you haven’t yet seen this activity take a look at this video to see what you and your friends and family could be doing this summer on Lake of Bays.

If surfing isn’t your cup of tea, Colonial Bay has much more to offer their guests. Located on the outskirts of Huntsville, it is conveniently located down the road from Algonquin Park and several other hiking/biking trails that are located off of Hwy 60. There is boating, canoeing and kayaking on the great freshwater.  In Northern Muskoka area, there is an abundance of wildlife including black bears, moose, deer, beavers, and even the occasional howl of the wolves. It truly is a nature lovers (and photographers)  paradise and a perfect holiday vacation spot.

Of course you don’t have to leave Colonial Bay at all to find great photography, fun in the sun and let’s not forget that it’s great way to spend a day relaxing on the shores of Lake of Bays. For more great information on Colonial Bay and what they have going on this summer, visit their blog at http://colonial-bay-ontario-cottages.blogspot.com/.

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Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

Algonquin Cottage Outpost/Voyageur Quest has been providing unique Algonquin experiences for years. This year they are proud to add to their list of experiences, the opportunity to stay on a private island in Algonquin Park. The Algonquin Island Retreat is a perfect place for you to indulge in a romantic escape for two.  

This incredible experience starts with a traditional 15 minute (1 km) canoe paddle from access point #1 at the Voyageur Quest Outpost on Kawawaymog Lake located at Algonquin’s

Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

 Western boundary. As you arrive at the island, you’ll find a restored and comfortable ranger cabin. Since the renovation, the cabin now offers running hot water, solar power and of course the walk out deck from the second floor master bedroom. From the cabins two decks you are provided with a 360 degree view of water and stunning landscapes perfect for spending the day relaxing in peace and quiet. The comfortable accommodations mean you can enjoy all the sounds of nature without having to “rough it” in a tent. Also included with your stay is the opportunity to use the floating sauna which is an experience onto itself.

While this would be the perfect escape for a romantic week, artisans are also welcomed. When this cabin was still used as a ranger station it had many famous guests including famed “Group of Seven” artist Tom Thomson. There is plenty of inspiration that comes from Algonquin Park and this experience would be sure to provide some creative sparks. Stunning

Voyageur Quest

Voyageur Quest

sunrises/sunsets, the call of the loons or howl of a wolf, and nature unfolding…who wouldn’t find this artistically pleasing.

Voyageur Quest offers many other getaway experiences and excursions from photography workshops to hiking, romance to “stew and brew.” They have something for everyone and you can find out more about their unique Algonquin experiences by visiting them at http://www.voyageurquest.com/index.php.

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A view of the topWith out a doubt, Ontario has some of fantastic hiking opportunities. No matter where you hike, you likely do it for the feeling you get. Sometimes that feeling is one of peace and relaxation, sometimes it is spiritual and sometimes it is a feeling of utter exhaustion and of course there might be the occasional time when you think to yourself “what was I thinking when I started this trail!?!” My personal love of hiking has been filled with all of those feels and often all of those feelings rolled into one.

This past summer I had the opportunity to hike to the top of “Silver Peaks” in Killarney Provincial Park with a couple of close friends. To give you an idea of the type of hike Silver Peaks

The path to Silver Peaks

Explorers Steve Kostecki and Mike Rowe

 offers, it was once one of the highest mountain peaks in all of Canada. Over time and because of Ice Ages, the landscape and mountain side has eroded. In the present day, you can see as far off as Sudbury in one direction and Manitoulin Island in the other direction. Not to mention the vast open waters of Georgian Bay.

A hike up Silver Peaks is deceiving. Once you access the trail, (there are several access points,) you have a feeling of “What? Is this it? I thought I was hiking up a mountain.” The first half of the trail is a fairly easy hike. The path is wide and you are treated to wonderful views of small lakes, bogs and beautiful trees. The trail is well-marked with very few spots to get turned around at. If you start out fairly early in the morning you will also find the trail less busy which is important if you are looking for peace and quiet as well as possible animal sightings. (This is bear country so take appropriate precautions.)

At roughly the half way point the trail up takes on a very dramatic change. You start heading uphill and at first it doesn’t seem too bad but then the trail changes and becomes littered with rocks and roots, it narrows in spots and there are sections where you are grasping for small trees and limbs to hang onto and use as leverage to pull yourself up. The rocks are loose and it is very easy to sprain an ankle. The hike up seems to take forever and I find that after about every 20 minutes of climbing that I am thinking that I must be insane for doing this. I didn’t know what to expect with this trip and while we had brought enough food, it would have been wise to bring more water (especially for hiking this trail on a hot summer’s day like we did.) I would suggest using a Camelback® to keep properly hydrated.

Continuing the trek just gets more and more difficult. The loose rocks continue to be a hazard and wearing shoes or hiking boots with good traction is a must at this point. The trail again deceives as it seems to open up to the sky. You feel like you are getting close and the trees below you seem to have topped out their growth. However when you look around you notice that there are still more trees growing higher. It is hard to imagine that trees are able to grow on such rocky terrain but they manage quite well. It’s at this point that you are about ¾ of the way to the top.

You will know when you are getting closer to the top when you start to notice small blueberry bushes popping up through the granite. If you are hiking at the right time of year (Early August,) these will be full of the most delicious blueberries you will ever try. A few more painful feet and the trees disperse as the ground changes to a smooth white granite rock face. This section is still a little tricky because the granite provides no traction at all. (It would be very treacherous on a rainy day as you can see water stains on the rock face where water has frequently rushed down the hill.) However with one final burst of energy you reach what is roughly the summit. (Silver Peak is part of La Cloche Mountains so there are several different peaks.)

Once at the top you are treated to stunning views in every direction. The landscape at the top is beautiful. There are blueberry bushes everywhere and these berries combined with the view make the hike one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. You literally feel like you have earned the experience. My friends and I take the time to sit and enjoy a lunch (and more blueberries for dessert.) It is just the 3 of us sitting at the top of one of the highest points in Ontario. After spending roughly an hour at the top relaxing we embark back down the trail.

Going down is always faster than going up but it is important to be mindful of your footing on this trail. The rocks and roots are even more hazardous. This hike will be physically exhausting but the memories will well worth it and you might even find yourself thinking about doing this hike again in the months and years that pass. Although on the day you finish you might swear off hiking for a while.

If you are looking for a place to rest your head after doing this hike, I would suggest Killarney Mountain Lodge located at the doorsteps of Killarney Provincial Park. If you want to combine this hiking trip with fishing, the French River is a short drive away as well as Georgian Bay, both known for their incredible fishing opportunities and you can spend some time at Sand Beach Lodge or Pleasant Cove Resort.

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