Monday, August 27, 2007

Small Towns - Wakefield, QC and Merrickville, ON

Wakefield, QC

This weekend we toured small town Quebec and small town Ontario. Saturday we hit Wakefield, Quebec a small town centered around its famous steam train and the tourists that it dumps off like clock work day after day. The single street town is lined with pubs, restaurants, and little stores selling local crafts, jams, and baked goods.

The Black Sheep Inn Snapper
Wakefield Steam Train Wakefield Steam Train fill up

It's also home to the Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa.

Wakefield Mill

And if you search hard enough you'll find a quaint little cemetery on top of a hill where Lester B. Pearson is buried.

View from Lester's grave site


Sunday we headed down to one of our favourite towns along the Rideau Canal, Merrickville. This is another touristy town thanks to the Rideau Canal system and the thousands of boaters that come floating through all summer long.

Whistle Post Antiques, Merrickville
Merrickville, ON

The town also has a beach and a main strip littered with knick-knack shops, antiques, an ice cream store, several pubs and restaurants, and an easily over looked bakery shop and Dutch grocery store. If you're looking to stay the night then look no further than Sam Jake's Inn.

Twin Canals plaque (Merrickville)
Merrickville Locks Merrickville Locks
80 Shilling

Paddle up the Petawawa

McManus Lake, Algonquin Park

Wednesday morning my buddy Mikey and I headed up the Petawawa River for some fishing and some relaxation. We were somewhat skeptical after following the forecast for a few days and seeing that they were predicting rain, rain, and even the occasional thunderstorm but being the hardcore outdoorsmen that we are we decided to take our chances.

First fish of the trip
First fish of the trip.

The weekend consisted of paddling, fishing, hiking, swimming, and a few pints mixed in here and there.

Whitson Lake, Algonquin Park
View of Whitson Lake.

The devastation left behind after the storm on July 5, 1999 was still clearly visible on McManus Lake. Thankfully it didn't tear up the entire length of the Petawawa as signs of fallen trees faded shortly after Smith Lake.

Flowers along Smith Lake

And as it turned out, the weather was overcast nearly the entire trip but it was surprisingly nice and warm even through the night. Hopefully we can squeeze in one more of these trips before the snow comes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mont Cascades video

Pro Racer


Mammouth River




The Vortex

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mont Cascades

View from The Vortex at Mont Cascades

Today the family and I woke up to sunshine and a chilly 7 degrees Celsius. A picture perfect day to head up to the Mont Cascades Waterpark in Quebec.

Our first ride was on Space River. It's an awesome 5 person tube ride down a huge black tunnel spotted with visions of stars in the ceiling.

Space River

Having hit the park right at the 10am opening time I guess we also took our chances with a teenage crew only just out of bed. As it turns out, our personal "launcher" for our first ever run down Space River failed to provide us with a rather simple yet important message. The message being to "lean forward" at the end of the tunnel.

Well when we came whipping out of that tunnel papa bear was screaming and laughing and yes, leaning back HARD. Blammo! I was quickly plowed under the water and under the entire raft only to pop up on the other side to find my family looking at me like I'd just performed the greatest Houdini trick ever. Not knowing any better I took my dunking for the team and promised them all that I would ride in the ejection seat for all the rides. The next ride was again Space River and thankfully we were provided with the secret "lean forward" message.

From then on it was smooth sailing... or should I say smooth sliding.

Mammouth River
Mammouth River Tangerine Twister
River Rapids

While I tested out all the rides several times the rest of the family passed on at least two (The Vortex being one of them). I'm thinking that the summer they try them all will be the summer we start looking for a bigger waterpark destination. Until then, we've all agreed to make this an annual outing.

Stay tuned for the video clips...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pancake Bay 2007

My favourite bench

Another Pancake Bay trip come and gone. The good thing is they just seem to get better and better. All of the kids are growing up and seem more willing to leave the beach and do some exploring. The weather was perfect - lots of sun without too much humidity, some winds without causing huge whitecaps on Lake Superior, and cool evenings for sleeping.

The kids and I went snorkeling and hiking nearly every day. We all had a great time.

Bear warning sign
Checking out the view of Pancake Bay Mica Bay snorkelers

Other days I played boci with the adults, floated for hours on the tube, hiked down to the lagoon at sunset, or just mellowed out on the beach.

The sunset gang
Campfire on the beach Bleached crayfish claw
The whole gang

Before leaving we returned Gary-Mark Billabon to his hiding spot and said our good-byes. Until next year...

Gary-Mark and gang