High Lake Hockey

Although the snow is taking its time getting here, delaying certain winter sports like snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, there are still plenty of opportunities to have a blast in the Whiteshell. And that’s just what the folks down at Falcon Trails Resort got up to this past week.

A calm freeze on High Lake made for perfectly smooth skating conditions. Here’s a little video by Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner and some photos taken by Emily Christie:

Remember: Ice is good in most shallow lakes, but remember to test the ice before venturing out! Safety first! 🙂

Also, snow is on the way!

 

Whiteshell Christmas Craft and Gift Bazaar

It’s the time of year when everyone is spending their weekends rushing around with Christmas shopping and preparing for the holiday season…

But with a fresh layer of snow on the ground and mild temperatures and sunshine in the forecast, it may be extremely tempting to skip the shopping and head out for a relaxing weekend at the lake.

Well, this weekend you can do both. Yep, that’s right; holiday shopping at the lake! Continue reading

First time to life time: Diving the depths of West Hawk Lake

11011090_426327150825973_8239746001487983746_nBy Patrick Doyle, diver, Blue Oasis Dive Centre
Photography by Jason Herlick, owner, Blue Oasis Dive Centre

My first experience diving at West Hawk Lake, Manitoba, came a few years ago when I was looking for somewhere local to keep up my skills as a scuba diver. Not being able to afford travelling south every year I asked around some of the dive shops in Winnipeg and it was suggested I try out West Hawk. It is only an hour and half away which is a lot cheaper and more convenient than a five hour flight. So I arranged to meet Jason Herlick, Michelle Wetton, and some other divers, rented the gear for the colder water, and made the drive. I’ve been a bit hooked ever since.

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Fin + Bone 4: Four ways to Experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend

Written by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor, for Fin + Bone 4:

Finally it is here! The May long weekend. The start of another season of summer time lake living in the beautiful cottage country of the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Whether you’ve been coming out to the lake all winter or you’re just opening up the cabin for another season, here are some things you can do to kick off the season. I recently wrote my top four picks of things to do on the May long weekend for Fin +Bone magazine. Have a look here and have a great May long weekend:

Glassy calm waters, echoing loon calls, eagles soaring overhead, towering pine trees, the eerie howls of wolves in the distance: These are just a few of the enchanting sights and sounds that many lucky people have experienced in the Whiteshell Provincial Park over the summer season.

Glad to say I’m one of those lucky people. Growing up with a cottage in the beautiful Canadian Shield terrain of the south Whiteshell has given me plenty of opportunities to venture throughout this gorgeous part of our province.

The older I’ve gotten, the more time I’ve spent in the Whiteshell during the ‘off season’. Truthfully, I love the Whiteshell in all four seasons, 365 days of the year. I honestly couldn’t think of a time I haven’t been excited to head down Highway 44 towards the lake. But growing up, the May long weekend was always an extra special time. While I was in school, the May long weekend was always the official start of another summer season of lake living. It meant school was almost done, and it was a taste of a few of the fun and exciting adventures I would get to do all summer long.

So to give you a taste of a few great things to do during the spring and summer season in this magical land known as the Whiteshell, here’s four ways you can experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend:

McGillivray Falls.

McGillivray Falls.

Hike the Whiteshell

One of my favourite things to do in the Whiteshell during the spring is hike the McGillivray Falls trail. McGillivray Falls is a self-guided, glacier-formed trail that is potentially one of the best trails to hike during the spring season as the rapids are rushing down from McGillivray Lake into Caddy Lake. The trail is located off Highway 44 near the Caddy Lake turnoff. The trail also features a shorter 2.8 km loop or a longer 4.8 km loop.

Mild temperatures and no bugs make the May long weekend one of the best times to hit up the hiking trails of the Whiteshell, and there are several other trails you might want to check out this weekend. Another great hike is the Hunt Lake trail, which is a 12.6 km trail that edges along the outskirts of Hunt Lake and the east side of West Hawk Lake, heading north towards Indian Bay. My favourite time to do this trail is at sunset, you can get a stunning view of the sunset over West Hawk Lake from the top of a tall cliff on the east shore. Another great one to do is the South Whiteshell trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail. Last August, a new portion of this trail opened up leading from the causeway (near the Falcon Lake Marina on the south shore of Falcon Lake) through the woods behind Falcon Lake and into the secluded and picturesque High Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Cast a line in the Whiteshell

I’ve always loved fishing at the lake, as I little girl I mastered the art of catching tiny smallmouth bass in our boathouse at Star Lake. That was really all I knew, and it was all I needed to know to have fun. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was shown the ropes of fishing that I became, excuse the cheesy pun, completely hooked on it.

Although I still have a lot to learn, I can say one thing for sure: The May long weekend and walleye fishing just go hand-in-hand. Nothing says the start of opening fishing season like jigging for that huge master walleye or just heading out on the water to catch dinner. With a healthy population of beautiful fish, Falcon Lake is a walleye angler’s paradise. Last year, a lot of walleye were in the 23-27” range… So maybe in coming years the lake will be filled with masters, just saying. walleyeCheck out the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery

The Whiteshell Fish Hatchery is an amazing combination of history and fishery conservation. I had the awesome opportunity to tag along with some of the hatchery staff last year while they collected eggs and tagged walleye on Falcon Lake. The walleye eggs are then taken back to the hatchery where they will remain in incubator containers for about 21 days before reaching the eyed-egg stage, which last about six to ten days for walleye. The eggs then hatch into tiny fish referred to as ‘fry’, at this stage the walleye are stocked into the lakes. The survival rate for young fish at the hatchery can be 80 per cent, whereas in the wild the survival rate is one per cent.

The hatchery raises both cool water fish (walleye, northern pike, and lake sturgeon) and cold water fish (rainbow trout, brook trout, brown lake trout, arctic char, and trout hybrids including splake and tiger trout). The hatchery has big outdoor tanks where you can see a brood stock that includes brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, and even lake sturgeon. But why am I telling you all this, get down there and check it out for yourself! One of the friendly staff at the hatchery would be more than happy to give you a tour. hatchery2 sturgPaddle the Whiteshell

I once had the opportunity to see the Whiteshell via floatplane, and it was mind-boggling how many lakes there are so close together. The Whiteshell is an endless chain of lakes just waiting to be explored. There are so many opportunities for different canoe and kayak routes, with easy portages between them. A classic and one of the most well known canoe routes is probably the Caddy Lake rock tunnels. You can rent a boat or canoe from Green Bay Resort or Caddy Lake Resort and head out through Caddy Lake and into South Cross Lake, and then through South Cross through the second tunnel into North Cross Lake. Several camping spots are located along the way and there is prime fishing in all three lakes. There are also several other lakes that are within portaging distance of this canoe route. canoe

Whiteshell Winters: Brian Gould Photography

The Whiteshell Provincial Park is a picturesque landscape for 365 days a year. In winter, the crystal-white snow, hoar frost, frozen lakes, and crisp clear blue skies prove this for a fact. And Falcon Lake cottager and photographer, Brian Gould, knows how to capture that scenery with a camera. Have a look of this gorgeous series of winter photos captured by photographer Brian Gould in the Falcon Lake area: 623-M 24-M 27-M 31-M Continue reading

2015 Snowdance Festival of Music + Winter

68456_686433198076352_1639633397_nThe Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes are well-known for their music scene, with just about every employee at the hill being a singer, songwriter, or musician. If you’ve ever been in the ski chalet for live music on Sunday afternoons or during a concert, you’ll know this for a fact.  And if you want to check out their music scene and get a true taste of winter in the Whiteshell, then the Snowdance Festival of Music and Winter is what you’re looking for. Now in its fourth year, the annual festival is scheduled for this upcoming weekend, Saturday, January 17 and Sunday, January 18. Each year the event seems to keep getting bigger, and this year the folks at Falcon Ridge are geared up for yet another fun weekend of music and outdoor activities. Even the weather is supposed to cooperate! 1545124_686432894743049_1937661563_n 1528495_686434858076186_1639403337_nThe fun all starts on Saturday afternoon live music in the chalet and several outdoor activities. In true Canadian fashion, some of the outdoors activities happening throughout the weekend include igloo building, trapping demonstrations, canvas tent cabins, bannock-making, chilli-eating, hot chocolate-sipping, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, skating, turkey shoot, snow-ga, shinny hockey, sauna, a polar bear swim, and, of course, snowboarding, downhill skiing, and tubing. 1554532_686432978076374_1951544883_n1601561_686433121409693_1608695562_n1017398_686435194742819_624286109_nSome of the talented musical acts that will kickoff the festival on Saturday afternoon include The Heinrichs Maneuver, Holly Stratton, and Slow Spirit. The music will carry on into an evening dance party with Biped Radio, The Mad Trappers, Shotgun Jimmie, The Sheena Band, and DJ Co-op. The festival music starts back up on Sunday with Railroad Tye, Red Moon Road, The Reverend Rambler, and Kacy + Clayton. There will also be musical workshops offered on both days. 1505306_686433788076293_563554658_n1535639_686433694742969_123098480_n1618690_686433441409661_2127754596_nSnowdance is truly a great way to embrace Whiteshell winters and enjoy great local talents as well. For more information on Snowdance or for ticket prices, head here. To get a taste of what to expect throughout the weekend, check out this video of last year’s Snowdance Festival. See you this weekend in the Whiteshell!

— Written/compiled by Marney Blunt & Emily Christie. — Photos by Emily Christie.

Focusing on the Wilderness

It’s no secret that the boreal habitat in Manitoba is breathtaking. But when it comes to capturing that beauty on camera, it takes a certain eye and talent.

Guy Lichter has got that on speed dial.

eagleThis Manitoba wildlife photographer makes an effort to get out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park at least once a month for ten months of the year, avoiding the busier seasons of July and August. Lichter had a wide array of beautiful wildlife photography from the Whiteshell and all over Manitoba, which goes to show his true passion for shooting in the wild. Continue reading

New Routes, New Challenges in the 2014 Swamp Donkey Adventure Race

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By Warren Blunt

Of my three years participating in the Swamp Donkey Adventure Race (SDAR), this year’s race was perhaps the most adventurous, challenging, and probably the longest course that I have been a part of. It was also the most fun because the course was mapped out so differently than in previous years, which had me really excited to get out on it. Some of the new territory for SDAR included Star Lake, Caddy Lake, South Cross Lake, McGillivray Falls, as well as a remote finish.
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A Tribute to the West Hawk Inn

10660191_10202722978018863_2084529234924427165_nThe Hawk.

It was really the place to be. It was a summer hotspot. Campers, cottagers, and tourists alike would come out to the Hawk as it was a place to party and let their hair down on a summer night. In Manitoba, just about every second person you talk to has been to the West Hawk Inn, and about 99.9 per cent of those people will have some epic story or a great memory/memories from that place. The Hawk also contributed tremendously to the local economy as it attracted campers, tourists, and also many Ontario residents to the area.

Continue reading

Add Your Voice to the South Whiteshell Community Choir!

Chime in with the local community as they start up the new South Whiteshell Community Choir!

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The choir will be officially starting up in October, but you can learn more information  at the open house on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Christie/Hamilton House, located on Highway 301 at the first driveway on the left east of the Faloma Beach Marina or if you are coming from West Hawk, it’s the second driveway on the right after you pass the Toniata turnoff (PR-301 605). Appetizers, snacks, and beverages are welcome.

For more information, call choir conductor Deborah Kuhl-Magnusson at 1(204)349-8838 or Brooke Christie at 1(204)227-9362.