This time of year is always a reminder that it’s time to reflect on the journey and recalibrate the mind and soul in preparation for the New Year. I sincerely thank you for visiting the MuskokaBlog over the years. I have enjoyed the many comments and connections with you.
I’m taking a small blog break and off in pursuit of resplendent sunsets, sandy beaches and cool liquid concoctions, returning in January 2013. I wish you and your loved ones peace, love, health, happiness and prosperity.
I think you would agree we’ve had a good run with temperate weather in Muskoka this fall. It was relatively warm up until last week then all of a sudden like the flick of a switch it was an arctic freeze up. This is a scene I captured from the roadside not too far from Port Carling.
I must admit I have not made it up to the cottage as much as I had planned this fall. It puts a little damper on the posting of current Muskoka related photos. I hope you don’t mind me filling in the gaps from within the perimeter of my stomping grounds.
I was driving up on the Niagara Escarpment yesterday afternoon and noticed this lone tree in a field. It was accompanied by an interesting stone wall about a metre in height that seemed to run forever. Although I didn’t have perfect light, I jumped the fence and setup my tripod on top of the stone wall.
I used this photo for a short time in an earlier post when I was in rant mode about the Pride Marina. It didn’t quite fit the content so I moved it out and stuck it back in here. We are kind of at the in-between stage in Muskoka. The trees have been stripped of their leaves and the skies are grey as we await the first substantial snow to arrive. The photo was from a visit to the Lake of Bays area near Dorset, Ontario
I enjoy visiting the small towns around the Lake of Bays area especially in autumn. Dorset, Dwight and Baysville are cool little towns. They are smaller than most of the places around the Big 3 lakes and have more of a lost in time charm to them. A little more laid-back and less hurried maybe? The locals say there are less “Cidiots” here – LOL.
The photo is taken at the Dwight beach area before hurricane Sandy blew the remaining colors away.
Muskoka is a sanctuary, a place where we can rejuvenate ourselves, a place to think. Not everyone understands this and for those of us that do we protect and cherish it deeply. The trails are littered with freshly fallen leaves and the canopy’s that remain are golden browns and yellows. It is a great time of year to get out for a walk and breathe the crisp, fresh Muskoka air. The photo was taken at the Artful Garden
I just returned back to Muskoka from Euro-land and was happy to see a feast of fall colors still hanging on however it is an unfortunate marker that its time to pull the boats out. So I jetted across the lake today to a local marina that I have been doing business with for many years to take my two jetski’s out. I walked into the office to pay the fee, greeting the people with a frozen smile but I sensed something was wrong. I was promptly told by Mr. big attitude man, “you can’t remove your boats here, we don’t allow that anymore” Well I have been using this marina for 6 or 7 years, buying gas, using storage, launching boats – removing them, getting service, recommending them, etc. I pleaded my case which they couldn’t care less to hear so I left. I then instructed my friend waiting in the parking lot with the truck and trailer that we are out of luck.
What to do? I remembered seeing the old Wallace Marine had started up again when I visited Abbeys awesome bakery this summer. A quick call and I was greeted by a guy named Dave who remarked, “come on over“. Upon arrival the people were just fantastic and out of frustration I explained the story of what just happened. They acknowledged they have heard the story a few times before. I love it when people and companies understand that its all about the customer. When customers have bad experiences they usually tell on average about 10 people however for these guys I thought I would tell a few more. Thanks Pride Marine for turning me away and forcing me to discover the awesome Summer Water Sports who get it.
Hello folks! I know some of you have been visiting this blog looking for fall photos. Currently I’m on the Rhone river in the south of France heading to the north. I shall return to Muskoka soon. In the mean time here is a photo I took at the bottom of the Dorset fire tower. It is a place where the people not crazy enough to climb up hang out. Enjoy the Muskoka foliage.
The sun was dropping rapidly as we approached Gravenhurst after spending 12 hours on-board the Segwun steamship during The 100 Mile Cruise. Hundreds of beautiful heritage boats followed us on our journey this day and now at the duration there was one last boat tracking us on the final journey. It was the Edith II a 26 ft. Fay & Bowden circa 1905, recently brought back to life by Dukes in Port Carling. As the Edith II ran up beside us I was surprised to see my friend and infamous Muskoka photographer Bev McMullen shooting us as we waved frantically. Well, what to do but grab the camera and shoot back.
A couple of weeks ago we had some friends from the city over for the weekend. After they settled in we became immersed in conversation while enjoying a few cocktails on the dock. Then came the question, “what’s with the kangaroos?” Kangaroos – I said with a chuckle, what do you mean? They explained that they noticed a kangaroo sign just down the road. No, no that’s a deer sign, they are all over the place I told them. Nope! – we saw a kangaroo sign! The next day as we are traveling together sure enough they point out this kangaroo sign on the side of the road. When we arrived back at the cottage the following week it had disappeared.
I pass by Wawina en route to one of my favorite swimming holes on Lake Rosseau. I haven’t been able to find any information with regards to the history of this place. Please click on the photo for a larger shot.
A tugboat at the Parry Sound town dock
I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to let go of summer just yet. Has it not been one of the best summers in years? Labor day always seems like an official marker that summer is complete. Personally I like to stretch it out to Thanksgiving weekend if I can. I noticed these kids having a blast on Lake Muskoka recently. Enjoy the summer weather this labor day long weekend.
How many of these flawless early mornings on the lake do we have left? No I don’t mean in a Nibiru cataclysm doomsday sort of way, just for this season – LOL. Shooting into the sun while balancing my big Nikon on the Seadoo can be a bit of a challenge while attempting to create a little bit of Muskoka minimalism.
This past weekend I had the privilege to board the RMS Segwun steamship and take part in the 100 Mile Cruise. This historic event was the highlight of the summer in Muskoka and will provide enduring memories for many years. Here are a few pics of the journey which departed Gravenhurst at 8:30am and returned 12 hours later. Please click on each photo to get a 1600 pixel shot.
There were many cottages and boathouses crammed with people cheering us on as we passed the shorelines.
Arriving in Port Sandfield at the swing bridge was astounding with more large crowds greeting us and taking photos. As we passed through the channel you could see an amazing flotilla of wooden boats waiting to join us.
This is the Wenonah II passing through Port Sandfield with other boats starting to tag along for the journey.
A large number of the most beautiful vintage boats toured alongside of us. It was breathtaking to see just how many there were. Unfortunately I was not able to recreate the scale of it through photos from one ship. When the aerial photos come out you will see how grand the entire event was.
Take me to your Captain. I had the opportunity to go up on the bridge and visit the Captain and navigator. Very cool people with nerves of steel.
The final destination was up on Little Lake Joseph. I was surprised the route we took as I have often taken my own boat through here and you need to be very careful of the shallow water. I had heard the Captain had spent the day before testing depths for this journey. At the end of the Bay in Little Joe is a large cliff once called the Natural Park where the steamship would stop and let people out for a walk. Today it is private property. At this point the entire flotilla of boats jockeyed around the two steamships while helicopters zoomed bove taking aerial footage of this remarkable event.
The Wenonah II coming back from the top of Lake Joe heading towards Port Sandfield
I shot this photo off the bow of the Segwun as we passed through Port Sandfield heading back towards Port Carling in the late afternoon. We were just about to be called to the dining room for a great dinner.
The RMS Segwun returning home after a very long day. I’m just glad I didn’t have to shovel the coal.
For the first time since 1958 this Saturday August 18th, 2012 the 100 Mile Cruise will be recreated with the RMS Segwun and the Wenonah II tracing the original route of the SS Sagamo steamship. There will be over 100 other historical wooden boats accompanying the steamships on their journey on the Big 3 Muskoka Lakes . The proceeds of this event are being donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. More info here
If you are interested in seeing the steamships and the large flotilla of classic boats they will be traveling through the locks at Port Carling and Port Sandfield. Itinerary below.
8:30 am Depart Gravenhurst Wharf
11:00 am Arrive at Port Carling Locks
12:00 pm Arrive at Port Sandfield Locks
2:00 pm Arrive at Little Lake Joe
2:30 pm Depart Little Lake Joe
3:30 pm Arrive at Port Sandfield
4:30 pm Arrive at Port Carling
8:00 pm Arrive at Gravenhurst Wharf
A historical handout on the 100 mile cruise here
View Big Cruise for a Big Cause in a larger map
The original 100 mile cruise brochure from 1950
Taking a drive around what I call the far side of Lake Rosseau and Lake Muskoka on Hwy #141 is always an interesting trip. These tracks are near Falkenburg Station now a ghost town located just outside of Bracebridge on Manitoba Street. Its great that Google has a lot of these Muskoka roads mapped out.
Normally I’m an early riser (5:30am sharp) however as time progresses over the summer at the cottage I find it much more
difficult painful to crawl out of bed early. Of course much of this is in direct relation with the time one retires to bed, age and how much aqua vitae was consumed the night before. Occasionally I do make it out on the lake to partake in the magic hour and it rarely disappoints. Please click on the image for super size 1600p shot.
Probably the most despised bird around the Muskoka area is the Cormorant. You can easily see the damage they cause to the trees and vegetation on the many small islands in the area. Some people believe this is just the balance of nature and it is meant to be however that theory is largely dispelled. People are concerned with the growing population of a bird that was near extinct only a few years ago and now making a remarkable comeback.
Fisherman complain about fish stocks being down and others about the unsightliness and damage to property. There is definitely a controversy brewing about Cormorants not only in Muskoka but in other places where they are calling for a cull.
This is the north branch of the Muskoka River flowing out of Mary Lake in quaint Port Sydney, Ontario. The river meanders towards Bracebridge into Lake Muskoka and out to the Moon River and down to Georgian Bay. There are 5 dams on this system with power generated at High Falls, Wilson Falls and the Bracebridge Falls.
The Muskoka River Watershed is the largest watershed in the Muskoka district covering an area of 466,000 hectares. The watershed communities are: Dwight, Dorset, Baysville, Huntsville, Port Sydney, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Bala, Port Carling and MacTier