Sometimes the best adventuring is done without a plan. This last weekend I (Muskoka Bro David) had one of the greatest weekends I’ve had in a very long time, and for the most part it was spur of the moment. With the whole world still on edge about Covid 19, it’s been hard to get out into the beautiful Ontario backcountry, or provincial parks since up until recently they have been closed. And although we might look like rebels we’re actually pretty respectful of the rules regarding closures. So as painful as it’s been to not be able to go camping, or get out into the great outdoors, we’ve not so patiently waited for the green light.
Now that we’ve been given a bit of an all clear or all clearish we couldn’t wait to get out and go adventuring. Muskoka Bro Matty wanted to try a Brolone solo trip (more to come on that one), Muskoka Bro Dylan was chilling with his young daughter and pregnant wife, and I set my sights on heading up north with the family for a little R&R.
We have a trailer right in the heart of Muskoka near Huntsville. When we arrived on Friday it was a gorgeous late spring almost summer day and a restlessness settled in. We wanted to explore, to try new things, and to enjoy the beautiful Ontario landscapes surrounding us. We started with Port Sydney. It has an awesome put in for canoeing and kayaking just off the bridge where there’s a small rapid, great for beginners. I’ve always been more of a canoe guy, I’m still getting used to my kayak so I thought I’d give this put in a try and check out how it felt taking it over a mild rapid. It was awesome. It almost felt like a ride at Disney, the anticipation of being pulled towards the drop and then you’re down and done it in a matter of seconds and sent down the river in no time flat. It was a great way to start off the weekend.
Saturday led to more outdoor adventuring. Now that the provincial parks are open for day hiking we thought we’d hit up Arrowhead Provincial Park for some exploring. We started with a quick meander across Dog Beach, letting the kids dip their toes in the still cold Arrowhead Lake, and just breathing in the clean fresh air of the empty space. After that we jumped on the Stubb’s Falls Trail. A winding, moderate level hiking trail, taking us up and down, across rocky sections, muddy sections, and countless numbers of roots, sticking out threatening to send any one of us toppling face first to the ground. Thankfully no accidents occurred, and it ended up being a peaceful, scenic walk, as we passed by only a number of others wanting to get outdoors for the weekend. The hike led us right to Stubb’s Falls, a majestic marriage of rock and water, beckoning to be explored. We were among a small group that trekked over the different rock formations that cradled the powerful streams of water flowing downward. It was the perfect spot for a picnic so the family and I settled in and enjoyed a quick bite to eat before continuing the hiking trail’s loop until we were brought right back to my Tacoma, parked near Dog Beach.
We weren’t done with Arrowhead yet though. I have always wanted to see Big Bend Lookout. It’s on a bucket list of places I want to see in my lifetime, and although it’s right in my neck of the woods I’d never taken the opportunity to check it out. It did not disappoint. The dramatic sharply curving Big East River, surrounded by steeply sloping sand bluffs created a view that truly was the definition of panoramic. We had the lookout platform to ourselves while we were there and it made the experience that much more special to be shared with my family. After all that sightseeing, we were happy to head to the beach at our trailer park and splash around in the water and each take a turn in the kayak for a while, just gliding peacefully across Mary Lake, letting the day unfold perfectly.
We weren’t sure what to do Sunday, whether to just rest and hunker down, maybe watch a movie. But the weather was still perfection, and why not make the most of it? We headed to Bracebridge’s High Falls. Another scenic lookout spot nestled in the Ontario countryside. Turn’s out this spot is even part of Canada’s The Great Trail. A connected trail system that spans this great country. We once again scaled the rocks that the falls cascade over, and explored the surrounding forested area for a while. My son Jesse, being the fearless adventurer that he is, even crossed a makeshift wooden plank bridge that runs over the falls, and we all crossed an old fallen log making our way from one side of the river to the other.
It was a fantastic weekend getting outdoors, exploring, adventuring. We saw new sights, tried new things, and spent some much needed time as a family, listening and laughing together, joking around and just enjoying each other’s company. It wasn’t a planned weekend, we had no idea where we would end up when we set out, but sometimes those weekends can be the most memorable of all.
Until Next Time,
And Remember – You Just Got to Get Out There