Tag Archives: Autumn

Seeing Is Believing: The 2015 Fall Colours

As a hiker, it’s been a source of great pride to see so many of you taking an interest in coming out here to Calabogie and walking the trails these past couple of weeks. Combined with the impressive crowds during our Thanksgiving weekend Fall Colours Chairlift Rides and the number of hiking maps downloaded from our website, people have taken advantage of the weather to witness nature in perhaps its finest display.

When I tell people I’m a hiker, the first reaction is that I must be a hardcore, stocked-to-the-gills-with-official-Nike-gear kind of hiker. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I hike in jeans, strap a water bottle to my hip, bring a few quick and easy items in a backpack (couple of granola bars, a change of shirt, a towel, and a cell phone in case of emergencies), grab my walking stick and I’m off. I like to clarify this because while you can be a dedicated, athletic hiker (or a cross country runner, as was the case in my youth), the beauty of this activity is that it’s the definition of casual. Which is exactly what we saw from tweets shared with us over the past couple of weekends.

Now with my three-month old son to enrich my life, I secure him across my chest and bring him along to experience the trails with me in the hope it will become a tradition as he slowly develops the ability to walk with me. Years ago, it was the solitude and time away from crowds, deadlines, even responsibilities. A hike was my time to myself with nothing but my thoughts and some squirrels to keep me company. Times have changed and as a dad I know understand it’s also about getting away from the distractions we take for granted: pulling the kids away from the TV and spending some quality time outside, sharing an hour with someone special for a little hand holding under the canopy, snapping some amazing panoramas with your grandparents… the possibilities are endless.

It’s also about the accomplishment when you reach the trail’s destination, be it the top of the mountain or the gorgeous vista of Eagle’s Nest. It’s quality time in a place no video game, painting, or poem can reproduce and it’s why you have to see it to believe it.

Thanks for stopping by this weekend and I look forward to see everyone back on the trails next Autumn… and on the slopes this Winter.

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Falling In Love With Autumn

As a growing hiking enthusiast, this may be the best time of year to charge up the camera batteries, strap on a backpack, and grab your walking stick for a journey into the woods. Not only because the cooler temperatures have basically eliminated the bugs (which were quite nasty this year, though the trails about The Peaks were actually quite hospitable to those of us who prefer not to become bug food), but to experience the fall colours firsthand.
It’s something we take for granted and not only because it signals the end of one season and the slow approach of another. It’s a natural event unique to our part of the world, a kind of gentle fireworks display marking the approach of something bigger to come. Timing is key to the perfect experience because this is not something spread out across many weeks and it all depends on weather conditions from weeks before. If it gets too cold too early, the leaves shift into duller colours and quickly fall before we can finish tying our shoes. Too warm and the leaves remain green until a sudden frost hits the air and we’re literally looking at half the time to absorb this occasion. Plus some areas change faster than others for no reason whatsoever. Mother Nature makes us work for it, that’s for sure, but when the time comes and you’re in the right place at the right time, it’s magical. I love it!

The beauty of sitting in the midst of the Ontario Highlands is the wide open expanses of fall colours spread across rolling hills. Take the view from Eagle’s Nest, for example, a local favourite. It’s an impressive view at any time of year, but it becomes a magnificent array of yellows, oranges, and browns as far as the eye can see. Only the view from a plane or the space station can beat it.

While I haven’t been able to get outside as often as I would have liked these past few months, the reason is also why I’m especially looking forward to getting onto trails like the Manitou Mountain Trail and Skywalk with my three-month old son. His vision is acute enough that he enjoys looking out the window when it’s all green trees and blue skies, so imagine what he’ll see with the perfect blend of Autumn. It’s a similar mindset fellow blogger, Michelle Kobzik, had last week when she took her five-month old to the top of Dickson Mountain.
If hiking is not your thing or simply out of your realm of possibility, we can help with that. Our annual Fall Colours Chairlift Rides are taking place this Thanksgiving weekend between 11am and 4pm. Catch a ride to the top of the mountain for only $10 per person (or $30 for a group of four) and walk your way down along Ole K&P or stay a while at the Top Hut and relax before catching a ride back down. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention joining us for lunch or sticking around for a Thanksgiving dinner at our Canthooks restaurant. It’s a time to give thanks for friends and family; why not take time to appreciate the world around us too?

Experiencing the Valley (September 2015 Edition)

September means two things for families: back to school and county fairs. We’re not going to talk about the former because it’s more fun to talk about the latter, plus a few other great events and activities taking place in the Ottawa Valley this month. Today, we’re going to give you a preview for six must-see attractions just a hop, skip and a jump away from The Peaks.

2015 ICF Freestyle Canoe World Championships
Where: Beachburg, ON (@ Wilderness Tours)
When: August 30 to September 5
Website: http://worldfreestylekayakchampionships.com/
For the third time in a row, Wilderness Tours in Beachburg hosts the ICF Freestyle Canoe World Championships with competitors from around the world pitting themselves against the Ottawa River and each other to prove who is the best with the paddles.

Expo Shawville Fair
Where: Shawville, ON
When: September 3 to 7
Website: http://www.shawvillefair.ca/index.html
There’s only so much room to mention country fairs, but this one should definitely be on your radar because a headline performer is David Wilcox, a blues legend who played here at Calabogie at last year’s Blues & Ribfest. Add to that the demolition derby, a midway and petting zoo, this fair features all the classics.

Grand National Mud Drag Races
Where: Beachburg, ON
When: September 5 & 6
Website: http://ranchlakepull.com/
If the demolition derby at the Shawville Fair peaked your interest, this should be a must-see on your September-to-do list. Including a snowmobile race, it’s a full weekend of flying mud and roaring engines. Bringing a change of shirt.

Renfrew Fair
Where: Renfrew, ON
When: September 9 to 13
Website: http://www.renfrewfair.com/
Only 30 minutes away from Calabogie, the Renfrew Fair has been entertaining adults and kids since 1853 with no signs of slowing down. A true farming expo with livestock and agriculture displays and competitions, plus amusement park rides and races, this fair shows what it truly means to live the country life.

Taste of the Valley
Where: Renfrew, ON
When: September 19
Website: http://www.ottawavalley.travel/Events_and_Festivals/Farmers_Markets/Taste_of_the_Valley_-_Renfrew***7409.html
A massive sampling of everything Renfrew County has to offer, the Taste of the Valley also displays locally made products and crafts. Bring your appetite for good food and fine goods.

NEAT In The Woods
Where: Burnstown, ON
When: September 25 to 27
Website: http://www.neatinthewoods.com/
Only a 20-minute drive away from The Peaks, this brand new music festival includes a full afternoon/evening of live music on Saturday and a collection of fun events the rest of the weekend, including a 300 piece game of musical chairs, a bike race, scavenger hunt, and sac race.

More Than A Hike: How You Can Prepare For Winter Now

The leaves have fallen and carpeted the ground in a fabric of orange and reds. There’s nothing left to do except wait patiently for the snow to fall, right?
Wrong! Now is the perfect time to get your body ready for the rigours of downhill sports and cross country skiing. It’s not just about being in shape, but acclimatizing yourself to the dropping temperatures. Unless you’re one of the few and proud joggers who wake up at the crack of dawn – in the Summer, no less! – there is a significant difference between outdoor activities in the warm months versus the chill of Autumn and Winter. Exercising in shorts allows your skin to aerate and even the slightest breeze freshens the skin and lets you feel invigorated as you move about in the great outdoors. Bundling up in even the simplest of gear automatically eliminates that freshness and keeps any sweat bundled within your clothing, which creates a humid environment for your skin that causes it to sweat even harder than if you were in shorts. And once you start to remove your gear, you might as well jump straight into the frigid waters of Calabogie Lake in January.
Racing downhill is a serious sport, whether you do it on skis or strapped to a board, and responsible enthusiasts need to prep themselves as well as their gear. That’s why this is the perfect time to get yourself ready for the snow by hiking across the trails winding around your favourite mountain… like our own Dickson Mountain, for starters. To give you that extra boost of inspiration, our own Intrepid Adventurer and Blogger, Michelle, is already well underway to getting herself ready for that glorious white powder. So we’ll leave you with this link to her blog as she shares with you the beauty and tranquility of an Autumn hike up the mountain.

Michelle and Mike Eady take the trek up the Manitou Mountain Trail over this past weekend.

Fall In Love With the Peaks This Autumn

As you read this post, summer is coming to a close. The calendar may say otherwise but we all know once it hits Labour Day and the kids go back to school (sorry, kids), the summer season goes out with a bang. Cue one of the most beautiful seasons of them all: Autumn.

Whether it’s a motorcycle ride through the Ontario Highlands or an escape from the city during one of the quieter weeks of the year, there’s still plenty of reasons to check out Calabogie Peaks and squeeze in another escape, retreat, vacation or try us out during your next business trip. For your convenience, have a read through these two blog posts made over the past weekend about this very subject.

Wheels.ca (an online supplement for the Toronto Star) took the Highlands challenge and made a stop at our Canthooks Restaurant for a bit along the way. You can read it here.

The boys at Real Man Travels took to the road and stayed the night with us during our recent Class Axe Guitars Calabogie Blues & Ribfest 2014 festival and we’re pleased to announce none of them passed out from over-ribbing. You can read their post here.
Fall Colour Scenic Chairlift Rides
If enjoying the magnificence of the Autumn countryside is on your must-do list, we’re please to announce the return of our annual Fall Colours Scenic Chairlift Rides. Running weekends from September 27th to October 13th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, experience the beauty of nature from a bird’s eye view. Only $10 per person or $30 for the family (maximum of 5, but only another $5 per extra person).