Category Archives: Things of Interest

Kawartha Nordic – a Wintery Best

Gillian is a long-time cross-country skier. She joined Trakkers this season after many years of cross-country skiing at Kawartha Nordic with her family. Read about their second visit back to this idyllic park with the club.

On our second Trakkers trip to Kawartha Nordic, it was Family Day weekend.

My mother used to live next to this non-profit community-run ski club. 20 years ago, all members volunteered, and they used to spend two weekends a year as “cabin keepers” starting and tending the fire in what used to be a small trailhead cabin. With growth in community, and new resources from partners and Trillium Foundation, the club has grown. But it maintains a distinct non-commercial feel.

My daughter (17) agreed to come along. She joined our regular Trakkers gang – myself, my partner, my son (13), and his school friend (who keeps pace with us after just two lessons through the club). And the gang was larger as we also skied with another Trakkers member and her son (14) who we had met on our first Sunday trip. There was fresh snow, and lots of energy as we set out on the trails.

My kids learned to ski here, on the easier Beaver and Kawartha trails, but we headed straight to our favorite intermediate trail: Red Fox. This trail is narrow and isolated, following slight winds, dips and rises. We are spellbound again by the exquisite sunlight cast through the trees. It is 1km of heaven, between two of the larger routes in the 46km trail network.

Kawartha Nordic is also special for the two trail-side cabins heated by wood stove. From Trakkers weekly posting of insider information for the coming Sunday’s destination, I gained a tip to wrap our sandwiches in foil and heat them directly on the stove. We brought cheese sandwiches, for melting! And a new invention: a foil bundle of black and green olives, which we warmed and shared with other Trakkers members in the cabin 🙂

We usually ski to our favorite Laderach cabin (we like the classic trails around there), but today we had ventured farther to the Tanney cabin. Both cabins stock birdseed so skiers can commune with local winged creatures. All three boys spent their entire lunch outside, feeding the delightful soft-bellied chickadees and nuthatches.   

The return trail was a slight downhill most of the way, so we glided back quicker than expected.

… despite irresistible stops for nature pics.

With time to spare, the youth in our gang sought the thrills of downhill: my daughter hit the informal toboggan hill near the main cabin, and the boys headed to a newer switchback trail called “the hills”. We adults couldn’t resist a return loop to run the Red Fox … yet again. 

As time neared 4pm, all Trakkers skiers converged towards the two-storey trailhead cabin.

Outside, some members sunned on the porch. While inside, others sat around the wood stoves. I enjoyed a snack huddle with the kids, while we perched on homey, member-built tree-trunk stools. It was a perfect wind-down to an energetic day.

On the bus home, we continued to snack, in style with our cheese and fruit tray. Then, most of the bus dozed off and I got back into my second read of a fine book set in a fictional country of beautiful East Africa. I enjoyed immersing myself in the sensuously described paysage. Of course, returning from another ski Sunday with Trakkers in the “rugged Canadian Shield at its wintery best” … I couldn’t be envious at all.

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

As we head into this evening’s AGM and year-end social — and with Highlands Nordic reopening their orange trail for skiing this weekend (no, the club isn’t going) — one more post to reflect back on a fantastic (and long season).

This guest travel blog comes from John Webb, who took part in the Val David trip led by the Bruce Trail Club, along with a number of Trakkers members in March:

With promises of 20 cms of new snow at our destination, it was to be a long-weekend trip, so the departure from York Mills was rather early, but that allowed an extra afternoon of activity at the destination. The forecast was correct and new snow and newly tracked trails greeted us at our two interconnected destinations, Chalet Anne-Piche and Chalet Far Hills.  Our accommodation was at the Auberge du Vieux Foyer which was located directly on the trail system.

During our next two and a half days on the trails, it was quickly obvious that the Quebec grading of Green, Blue and Black was one notch more challenging than similar grading in Ontario, for both ski and snow shoe trails.  But with the new snow every night, it was quite manageable and exhilarating. Perhaps not surprisingly, snow shoeing was the preferred activity for the majority of the Bruce Trail club members, and they were guided through some interesting walks throughout the more than 30 kms of trails available.  

The Auberge was perfectly equipped to meet the needs of hungry and exhausted guests.  A hot tub or swim, followed by a four course meal restored the body, and yoga was available before breakfast every morning.

Many thanks to our executive for arranging this joint club event.  For long-time Trakkers, it was a return to a regular destination from the 1980’s.  Sadly, the Hotel Far Hills has closed, shortly to become a time-share condo. But the memories of spending those late afternoon sipping B-52’s in the bar while gazing through the picture window at the sun setting on the Laurentian hills remain.

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