The Richardson's planned to go on several snowmobile trips during the winter of 2021 but had to cancel due to pandemic restrictions. Fortunately, we were able to defer the bookings for a year and were thrilled to partake of these long-awaited winter outings over the last month.
This photo shows my husband John and me on the left, beside our longtime friends Nancy and Rick, enjoying a bit of snow shoeing at Elk Lake Wilderness Resort in February.
The four of us stayed in one of the resort's heated cabins overlooking Elk Lake, near Earlton in northern Ontario. With gas fireplace in the living room, full bathroom and kitchen, and two bedrooms, the cabin was a cosy home base for our 4-day holiday.
Our friend Nancy took this photo of the rest of us on our sleds, in front of the resort's heated ice fishing hut.
The resort staff made a different home cooked dinner each evening and brought it to our cabin. One memorable meal was roast chicken, potatoes, salad, and blueberry pie. We cooked our own hot breakfasts, using the food in the fully-stocked fridge.
We toured the local region on beautifully groomed snowmobile trails for about 6 hours one day, swooping through scenic forests and farm fields. We plan our trips so they fall during the middle of the week to avoid busy weekend traffic, and we mostly had the trails to ourselves.
Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers in the local snowmobile clubs, the trails were well signed and extensive. John tells me there are more kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails in Ontario than there are paved highways. The winter infrastructure in the frozen north really is amazing.
Our machine has a GPS navigation system, two gas tanks, and supportive heated seats. I ride on the back and my hand grips, face shield and under-jacket, are also heated electrically. Combine that with snowmobile suits, boots, and helmets that are put together like space suits, and we can be outdoors in a blizzard all day and still be comfortable in our own little bubbles.
Another day, we explored the shoreline of Elk Lake by snow shoe, tried our hand at ice fishing, and relaxed and chatted in the cabin. In the evenings we had fun playing board games and putting together jigsaw puzzles on the kitchen table. We were so appreciative of this quality time with our friends, after many months of isolation.
In early March, we went on our second snowmobile adventure, based at Edgewater Park Lodge on Sand Lake, near Kearney (north of Huntsville, Ontario).
Pictured here is the 2-bedroom cabin we rented, with our truck, trailer, and snow machine parked outside. Our friends Nancy and Rick joined us on this 4-day trip as well.
Here is the view from the Lodge property looking onto Sand Lake. The tracks reveal how this lake serves as a link to many of the local snowmobile trails. The people way out there are John and our friends getting set up for ice fishing.
John used a battery powered drill to auger a hole in the ice which was three feet thick. That is me in the camp chair holding a fishing rod over the hole. (No fish were harmed, or even seen, during this escapade!)
Good fortune shone upon us and the weather was clear, sunny, and mild every day. The snowmobiling was superb; as good as it gets. We spent a day and half touring the region's excellent trail system through one of the loveliest mixed forests I have visited.
We drove by huge white pines and maples, gorgeous yellow birch, and lots of beech saplings with their dried leaves adding pops of golden pink colour to the winter scenery.
There had been recent snowfall, as branches were loaded with fresh 'icing' and the trails were very smooth with good traction.
One of the excellent side benefits of these winter adventures is that I have access to gorgeous wilderness scenery, to take photos I can use for painting ideas.
Here are a few shots that I think would make great paintings.
Our snowmobile adventures this year were easy and fun, and we very much enjoyed the camaraderie of our friends. We feel lucky to live where we easily can access world-class snowmobile trails for winter getaways.
Here are John and I standing on a scenic section of trail, surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the forest. Life doesn't get much better than this.
We hope you have had a good winter and managed to spend some time out in nature.
I put together this 1-minute video to give you a glimpse of how lovely our northern snow trails can be. I took the footage using my iPhone, holding it above John's head as we drove along. (Please forgive the sound quality.) Click on the picture below to view the video.
What do you do to enjoy the outdoors in winter? If you have comments you wish to share, please do so using the 'Leave a Comment' button at the top of this post.
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