Winter Activities near Blue Moon Retreat

As we are on the quiet, East Gate side of Algonquin Park, life is fairly laidback in the Purdy/Combermere area. It is never anywhere near as hectic as the Muskoka / Huntsville area.

Winter Activities near Blue Moon Retreat

As we are on the quiet, East Gate side of Algonquin Park, life is fairly laidback in the Purdy/Combermere area. It is never anywhere near as hectic as the Muskoka / Huntsville area.

Introduction

As we are on the quiet, East Gate side of Algonquin Park, life is fairly laidback in the Purdy/Combermere area. It is never anywhere near as hectic as the Muskoka / Huntsville area – just one example: I have heard that the Town of Huntsville has a system for parking tour buses; around here, besides the school buses the only bus we see is the daily one that goes between Pembroke and Toronto.

In the winter off season, life slows down even further. Most of the cottages have been long closed and the number of visitors is only a fraction of what it is in the summer; thus, the people in the stores and restaurants have even more time for a friendly chat. With no mobile phone coverage, you can relax without worrying that work will be calling. Many of our winter guests come from the Toronto and Ottawa areas for a week, weekend or mid-break at the extremely low off season rates.

The serious snowmobilers will love the ready access to the over 49,000 km of groomed snowmobile trails. Others will take advantage of the bright sunny days to enjoy outdoors winter sports, such as, horseback riding, recreational snowmobiling, dog sledding, or cross country skiing on the blanket of shimmering snow. You can also try ice skating on the outdoor rinks in Maynooth or Combermere or if you prefer indoors skating you can do this at the arenas in Barry’s Bay and Bancroft.

All will probably enjoy curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace, or watching that movie you just never seem to have had time for. After you have been outside in the nippy air (sometimes down right cold), you are sure to enjoy the heat from the fireplace or maybe a dip in the hot tub (or Jacuzzi) or even a session or two in the sauna.

We highly recommend to the winter carnivals and festivals in the area – the main ones are Frosty Frolics in Bancroft and Timberfest in Barrys Bay – both held in February. March brings the St Patrick’s Day party at the barn in Maynooth – the breadth and depth of local talent will amaze you.

We hope that you find this list of things to do and see in the winter helpful.

Algonquin Park

From the Ontario Parks’ web site (www.ontarioparks.com)

“Algonquin Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter as during the summer. Highway 60 is plowed and sanded all winter and many trails are available for the winter visitor. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the Christmas and March breaks. A valid permit is required to use the park.

Snowshoeing enthusiasts can go virtually anywhere within the park except on cross-country ski trails. If you prefer a set trail, you might try one of the short walking trails along the Highway 60 corridor or one of the two longer backpacking trails…”.

Cross-country Skiing – Algonquin has three trail networks for cross-country skiing. They offer trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.

Fen Lake Ski Trail is located at the West Gate of the park. Much of this trail travels through the hardwood bush typical of Algonquin’s west side. You will almost certainly see the tracks of moose on you outing. It offers four loops of 1.25, 5.2, 11.4 and 13km (.78, 3.2, 7.1 & 8.1 miles) and offers both easy and more challenging sections. All trails are groomed and track set and a 6 km section also offers a lane for skate skiing. A shelter and toilets are located at the beginning of the trail and at Fen Lake.

Minnesing Trail is located on the north side of Highway 60, 23 km (14.3 miles) from the West Gate. The Minnesing Trail has four loops ranging in distance from 4.7 to 23.4 km (2.9 to 14.5 miles). The trail is maintained for backcountry wilderness skiing and is not groomed. Wide touring skis and large basket poles are essential for soft snow conditions.

Leaf Lake Trail System provides some of the most beautiful vistas and exhilarating skiing available anywhere. These trails are found 1 km (.62 miles) west of the East Gate. As well as a great variety of country you may see the tracks of moose, otter, ruffed grouse, marten and many other animals. Leaf Lake Ski Trail offers a wide variety of trail selections ranging in length from 5 to 51 km (3.1 to 31.7 miles) and ranging from easy to very difficult. The system includes a loop that is groomed for skate skiing. All trails are groomed and many are track set. Shelters and toilets are available at several locations within the trail system”.

Fishing during winter is not permitted in Algonquin Park.

Snowmobiling is not permitted within Algonquin Park with the exception of the hydro line across Clyde Township.

ATV Tours – Guided

Guided ATV (4 wheeler) tours year round at Top of the Mountain Tours (in the Killaloe / Brudenell area) – www.topofthemountaintours.com

From their web site: “Top of the Mountain Tours is a family owned business located 1 km off the historic Opeongo Line in the Madawaska Highlands – a short drive from the highest populated point in Ontario. On our trail loop, you will ride through varying terrain – hills, ravines, marshes, rocky creek beds, streams, beaver ponds and dams. On each tour, a light lunch is served atop a rock cliff overlooking a group of lakes.

On your tour you will experience the beauty and serenity of both hardwood and softwood forests teeming with local wildlife, and a variety of naturally occurring plants. Don’t let the beauty of your surroundings fool you! This is an adventure tour full of challenges, thrills, and adrenaline pumping action. Our knowledgeable guide will tailor your tour to meet your level of experience for maximum enjoyment. First time riders are welcome. Please note : All drivers must be at least 16 years of age.”

Barn Dance

Most Friday nights at the barn in Maynooth there is a real old fashioned country and western barn dance.

Bowling

Bancroft Bowling Lanes 613-332-1323 Hwy 62 S., Bancroft.

Carnivals & Festivals

Bancroft… FROSTY FROLICS 10 day Winter Carnival… from their web site “…Frosty Frolics is a 10 day winter carnival held in Bancroft during mid-February of each year. The highlight of the carnival is the sled dog races held on the third Saturday in February. The premier sled dog race is the 60-mile mid-distance race, which attracts teams from Ontario, Quebec and the northeastern USA. There is a keen interest by the mushers to participate in our race because of the challenging course offered through the rugged countryside of Dungannon and Mayo Townships. This race is a jewel in both the Hastings County Triple Crown, (Eldorado, Marmora, Bancroft), and the Ontario Quad Crown, (Marmora, Minden, Kearney, Bancroft). Also featured are 4 and 6 -mile sprint races. Other events to accompany the sled dog races are horse-drawn sleigh rides, a craft show, all-you-can-eat-brunch, hot apple cider and maple syrup taffy made on the snow.

Other events to take place during the 10 day winter carnival include: snow sculpturing contest; cross country skiing; snowmobile fun rides; snowmobile rallies; live theatre; luge competitions free indoor skating…”

Barrys Bay – Timberfest – it normally takes place the weekend nearest the middle of February.

Maple Syrup Festival… From the Country Connection Magazine web site “…Whoever would have thought that we would derive such pleasure from tree sap? When winter days reach a mild 5°C but the nights stay cold, those with a sweet tooth turn to maple syrup, maple sugar and maple butter to warm their bellies in the last remaining days of winter… Ontarians have long known about this ambrosial elixir, having learned of its delights from North American natives … Native tribes had such a liking for maple syrup that it was once used as a form of currency … tribes used maple syrup as a basic seasoning for grains and breads, stews, teas, berries and vegetables.

The sap that runs from maple trees… is a clear fluid, very liquid and not very sweet. When condensed down to a 35th of its original volume, the sap becomes a sweet nectar with an abundance of uses.

In Eastern Ontario… The finest way to experience maple products is to visit a sugar shack in March or April. Many local producers open their doors to visitors, eager to taste freshly made syrup drizzled on snow. A day at a sugar shack is both educational and filling. Some syrup operations even promote delicious pancake breakfasts…” In 2001, one of the local festivals …” April 13, Maple Syrup Festival, Lloyd Watson Centre, Wilberforce, (705) 448-2419”

Maynooth – St Patricks Day : If you are planning on going in March, then the St Patricks Day party at the barn in Maynooth is a must – 12 hours of music. By the way, most Saturday nights at the barn there is a real old fashioned country and western barn.

Dog Sledding and Snowmobiling Trips and Tours

Highland Wilderness Tours. Their web site www.ridethewilderness.com states “Your guide is Penny Nicol, with over 15 years of experience in dogs. Under the POLESTAR prefix, Penny bred over ten American and Canadian Champion Alaskan Malamutes between 1987 – 1994….In 1994, Penny moved on the Alaskan Husky (a dog genetically engineered to win!) and began racing in Ontario, and after a successful career, in 2000 began outfitting by dogteam and on horseback….Try our ‘Dogsledding 101″ – a fun and informative introductory package! When you arrive, you’ll visit the dogyard on our 134 acre wilderness property, and learn a bit about the Alaskan Husky. In the dogyard, we’ll orient you to driving a dogsled, how to properly balance in turns, and basic control of your sled. We’ll teach you how to direct your leaders effectively, using only your voice. And when you’re ready, we’ll harness your team (chosen for your experience level) and you’ll follow your guide on a tour of our private wilderness trail system. It’s relaxed and friendly, one on one instruction, and you and your group will be treated to a one hour dogsledding adventure you’ll really enjoy! (We find an hour of driving a sled is usually plenty for the majority of newcomers to the sport!)”.

Contact info: Matt & Penny Nicol, Box 21, Maynooth, Ontario,K0L 2S0; Tel: 1-613-338-2330 or toll free1-866-RYD-WILD

Events – Calendars

Two local calendars of events:
www.bancroftdistrict.com/events.php
www.barrys-bay.com/cgi-bin/calendar/calendar.pl

Fishing

License – A fishing license is required to fish in Ontario. Please check the Ministry of Natural Resources web site – www.ontario.ca/travel-and-recreation/fishing for further information.

On Purdy Lake – some of our guests try ice fishing on the lake – this is without a fishing hut.

Open Seasons – Naturally, there are different open seasons for the various species of fish. We are in division 15 (as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Horseback Riding

Highland Wilderness Tours – Just north of Maynooth – Horseback Riding, Snowmobile Tours, etc. Highland Wilderness Tours has year round fun for the whole family. Matt & Penny Nicol offer horse back riding and guided wilderness tours on gentle and responsive Appaloosas & Quarter Horses. From their web site www.ridethewilderness.com. A great ride for novice or expert riders. Our trails will give you …breathtaking panoramic views, serene wilderness meadows, thundering waterfalls and tranquil forests”. They are now also offering guided snowmobile tours. From their web site “..Our guided snowmobile tours take you ‘off the beaten path’ into the wilderness of Algonquin Park & area… Our newer model sleds are comfortable ”two up” snowmobiles ~ with heated hand grips, thumb warmers, carbide runners and 400 & 500 cc’s of power. Comfortable over longer distances, and easy for anyone to drive!”.

Ice Skating

Try indoors at the Bancroft and Barrys Bay arenas or outdoors at the rinks in Maynooth and Combermere.

Luge

Bancroft is home of the Mineral Capital Luge Club complete with an 800 metre track just east of the Town. The sport of luge involves racing down an icy track in a prone position on a small sled. Steering is accomplished with the use of the legs and by shifting body weight. Luge events are held each winter during February and March. The club provides rentals and lessons for those wishing to experience luge.” Telephone: (613) 332 4908.

Rally

www.tallpinesrally.com

“Based in Bancroft, the Rally of the Tall Pines is a favourite event with competitors and fans alike. Taking place in late November, the rally always dishes out challenging conditions for the drivers.

Dirt, snow and ice routinely mix together on the roads to provide a supreme test of driving skill. As the final event of the Canadian Rally Championship, the Rally of the Tall Pines also features tight year-end battles which make for hard driving and great spectating.

Road Conditions

The Onatrio Ministry of Transportation offers information on road conditions from November through April on www.mto.gov.on.ca . The web site www.ontarioweather.com also offers road condition information.

Skiing – Cross Country

Algonquin Park has three trail networks for cross-country skiing. They offer trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.

Fen Lake Ski Trail is located at the West Gate of the park. Much of this trail travels through the hardwood bush typical of Algonquin’s west side. You will almost certainly see the tracks of moose on you outing. It offers four loops of 1.25, 5.2, 11.4 and 13km (.78, 3.2, 7.1 & 8.1 miles) and offers both easy and more challenging sections. All trails are groomed and track set and a 6 km section also offers a lane for skate skiing. A shelter and toilets are located at the beginning of the trail and at Fen Lake.

Minnesing Trail is located on the north side of Highway 60, 23 km (14.3 miles) from the West Gate. The Minnesing Trail has four loops ranging in distance from 4.7 to 23.4 km (2.9 to 14.5 miles). The trail is maintained for backcountry wilderness skiing and is not groomed. Wide touring skis and large basket poles are essential for soft snow conditions.

Leaf Lake Trail System provides some of the most beautiful vistas and exhilarating skiing available anywhere. These trails are found 1 km (.62 miles) west of the East Gate. As well as a great variety of country you may see the tracks of moose, otter, ruffed grouse, marten and many other animals. Leaf Lake Ski Trail offers a wide variety of trail selections ranging in length from 5 to 51 km (3.1 to 31.7 miles) and ranging from easy to very difficult. The system includes a loop that is groomed for skate skiing. All trails are groomed and many are track set. Shelters and toilets are available at several locations within the trail system”.

Pinecone Forest

Experience the solitude of winter in the Pinecone Forest. Our rustic track-set trails meander through various forest settings—towering groves of red and white pine, cedar bush and glades of mixed forest. Winter is a great time to view the birds and small mammals that make their home in the Pinecone Forest. Red squirrels and whiskey-jacks entertain skiers from their perches along the trail. Elusive animals including deer, wolf, fox and the occasional moose or elk, leave their tracks in the snow for study. There are two trails to choose from, a shorter one hour trail on level terrain for the beginner, and a longer one and a half hour trail with inclines and downhills for the more advanced and adventurous skier. Ski both routes and make a day of it.

Silent lake Provincial Park – the other side of Bancroft

Cross-country skiing on groomed trails, ice fishing, snowshoeing and winter camping are popular winter activities. The park offers ski lessons and ski rentals. More than 40 km of groomed cross-country ski trails start and finish at the same parking lot. Four colour-coded loops are 2.5 km to 19 km long and graded for novice to experienced skiers. An 8-km trail has been groomed specially for skate-skiing. Skiers can warm up at huts, which each have a stove and stock of firewood, along the trails.

Snowmobiling

For the Snowmobiler… Great Snowmobiling …There are over 49,000 km (30,500 miles) of OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) groomed snowmobile trails in Ontario. From the OFSC web site – www.ofsc.on.ca

“Generally, they (trails) are clearly marked and well-defined corridors with fewer dangerous surprises. Because they are groomed and used regularly, overall they are smoother and wider, with better sight lines and fewer hazardous corners, intersections, inclines and obstacles. Most water crossings and ditches are bridged and ice crossings are usually staked or tree lined. Traffic signs are prevalent throughout the system to give riders as much advance warning as possible of trail conditions ahead….

What are Top Trails? As you snowmobile around the province this winter, you’ll see TOP Trail signs. So what are TOP Trails and how do they differ from local club trails?

The OFSC’s showcase trails are an 18,000 kilometre (11,200 mile) border to border system called Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) Trails. TOP Trails came into being from 1992-95 ….In some cases, new TOP Trails had to be carved out of the bush. In others, substantial improvement was required as existing trapper’s paths, abandoned rail lines and old forestry roads were brought on stream. Sometimes, existing club trails were upgraded to improve riding conditions. Throughout, the primary mandate was to create a trail system for touring snowmobilers that is safe, signed and well connected, with easy access to the necessary amenities and services. Each local snowmobile club is responsible for priority grooming of its own section(s) of TOP Trail.

Today, OFSC TOP Trails are showcased on the OFSC’s annual TOP Trail Guide as a three tier system. Trunk Trails are the main border to border snow highways, designated by one letter (“A”) and shown on the Guide inred. Feeder Trails channel traffic onto Trunk Trails from communities and local trail systems. They are shown inblue and designated by one letter and a three digit number (“A101”), the letter indicating what Trunk Trail it connects to. Finally, Connector Trails are designated by two letters and three digits (“A101D”) and shown ingreen. These trails connect two Trunk Trails (in this example, “A” and “D).

The next time you ride a TOP Trail, remember that you’re travelling a system that, if you have the time, will take you anywhere in Ontario and connect you to trails in neighbouring provinces and states too. No wonder they’re called TOP Trails!”

Weather

We include this section on weather as your willingness to participate in outdoor pursuits may well depend on the temperature outside. Besides looking at the averages, we would advise looking at the recorded maximums as these show how much the temperature can vary; i.e. for the 5 months starting in November, the maximum temperature range in a month is between 50.6°C (91°C) and 62.7°C (112.8°F).

In any case, even when it is at its coldest outside, we are sure that you will enjoy the fireplaces, hot tubs, sauna, Jacuzzi and satellite TV. This may also well be the time to read that good book which you just haven’t had time to. Or perhaps you will find something of interest in the video libraries in the cottages.

According to Environment Canada, in our area:

Average annual snowfall of 195 cm (6.4 feet)
Maximum one day snowfall was 43.2 cm (17 inches)

November temperatures

Average: High: 4.8°C (40.6°F) Low: -3.5°C (25.7°F)
Maximum: High 23.9°C (75°F) Low -26.7°C (-16°F)

December temperatures

Average: High: -2.5°C (27.5°F) Low: -11.9°C (10.6°F)
Maximum: High 16°C (60.8°F) Low -41.1°C (-42°F)

January temperatures

Average: High: -5.2°C (22.6°F) Low -16.5°C (2.3°F)
Maximum: High 11.7°C (53.1°F) Low -43.9°C (-47°F)

February temperatures

Average: High: -3.1°C (26.4°F) Low -15.9°C (3.4°F)
Maximum: High 12.2°C (54°F) Low -42.2°C (-44°F)

March temperatures

Average: High: 3°C (37.4°F) Low -8.6°C (16.5°F)
Maximum: High 24.4°C (75.9°F) Low -38.3°C (-36.9°F)

For the current weather forecast for Algonquin Park, check www.ontarioweather.com/forecasts/; for Bancroft check www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca which also gives you the current conditions.

             

Copyright © 2017 Blue Moon Retreat.

Blue Moon Retreat - Pet Friendly Resort
Blue Moon Retreat - Pet Friendly Resort
             

Copyright © 2017 Blue Moon Retreat.

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