Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ice fishing - Lake Simcoe

For many years I have been planning to go for ice fishing but never really managed to gather enough willing power to make it into the cold. This year I finally called up an ice-hut owner end of february and booked a 4 person ice hut in Lake Simcoe for 220 dollars. The price seemed steep but it is seasonal and short business. On a Sunday morning we, the whole family, four of us, arrived at the hut operators office.

After payments were made we were boarded into this green van pulled by a snow mobile. This vehicle would take us to our ice hut located deep into the frozen lake. 

The view from inside the van, as we sat on wooden benches. 

Our hut, on totally frozen ground. 

360 degree around our ice hut. 

The ice hut was heated with propane burners. There was no light inside. We didn't take any with us either. So, had to keep the door ajar a little. Also, after a little bit it got a bit hot inside. 

Kids taking a trip to the washroom. They were pretty reluctant to come. Stayed miserable for the first two hours, as they had trouble finding stuff to do, beside picking on each other. Later, once the hut got warmed up and we ate our lunch (food we packed from home), they seemed to get into it a little bit.

Minnows, provided by the hut operators, to be used as fishing bait.

A picture is worth 1000 words.  Dropped three lines in the water. 2 of them genuine ice fishing short poles. The red one is made from a regular long fishing pole.

We stayed for about four hours, 12 to 4 PM, when the family had just enough. We packed up all stuff  and called the operators to take us to the parking lot.

We hopped in our car and drove back home, stopping at a Chinese restaurant to payback the family for coming with me to experience the joy of ice fishing.

It was a good experience. The operators advised us to come in January. That's when people catches fish. He felt sorry for us as we caught nothing. Regardless, determined to return next year, alone. In January, of course.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall trip - North Bay area - 2014

It is not necessary to go too far away from home to view fall color, not if you are living in Canada. The color basically surrounds us, wherever we are, thanks to the abundance of natural gifts that can be seen everywhere, especially in the southern parts. We live in GTA. In fall it turns very colorful here. Yet, every year, we - a few family friends - venture out from GTA to experience some fall color in more natural settings. It is our opportunity to get away from routine life for a few days. This year it was North Bay, Sudbury area. ~400 kilometers from GTA.

This year the fall has been exceptionally warm. We started on a Saturday morning. It was cloudy but otherwise comfortably warm.

Patches of nice color on the way to North Bay. We avoided bigger freeways and opted out for smaller country roads and highways. It was totally worth it. The feeling was great. We felt being really close to the natural beauty around us - within arm's length.

Woods of evergreens. At a distance hills displaying wonderful fall color.

Motel Super 8 in North Bay. It turned out to be a very nice place to stay. We had specious suits. We were given a corner on the second floor - all seven families next to each other. That was really great!

We went to eat in the local Pizza Pizza. It started to rain. A view from the entrance of Pizza Pizza.

North Bay downtown looked barren on Saturday afternoon.

On our way to Samuel de Champlain provincial park, located in Calvin, Ontario, about 45 kilometers from North Bay. It is located on historic Mattawa river fur trade route in the scenic Mattawa valley.
A rainbow on our way, my 9 year old daughter and her two friends who were travelling in our car, got really excited.

Inside the park. Mattawa river. Some parts of the park had already closed.

Near this spot there is a large parking space (just cleared space). We played some soccer there using leave heaps as goal posts. (Somebody must have taken some images of that. I'll add later)

The Super 8 is next to lake Nippissing. Some sample of color from that area.

Next day we headed for Redbridge, to hike on the Redbridge Mountain view trail. It was a short drive from our motel. The view was extraordinary, very rewarding trip.

The drive to the mouth of the trail was quite interesting with the last few kilometers being nicely hilly. Kids loved it.
First part of the trail is relatively flat. Fortunately the trail was mostly dry. It rained a little bit in last few days, but not enough to make it really soggy.

This was unexpected. Looked like it was a bridge over the creek in the past. We had to get creative. It was shallow but getting wet wasn't an option.

The trail started to become steep after the creek.

While the adults struggled to hike up, the three girls lead the pack, despite constant nagging. 

At the end of the trail is a lookout. Very rewarding view.

The teenagers, who went back to their cellphones, playing games, sitting on a rock at the lookout point.

On our way back we had to face the creek one more time.

After the hike we drove to Sudbury Bell park. Nice color on the way.

Bell park is located right at the shore of Lake Ramsey.

In Sudbury we went to the Pumpkin festival at night. The festival took place in the Dynamic Earth facility.

The famous Nickel (lights were deemed to allow for especial shows)

On Monday, we started back.

When we started from GTA, we were apprehensive. Weather had been quite warm, often too windy. Leaves started to fall even before peaking. However, what we saw we loved. It was color everywhere.