The South Whiteshell Trail Association’s Trail Fest 2015 was a huge success with a great turnout and b-e-a-utiful weather! Thanks to everyone who volunteered and everyone who came out to support the South Whiteshell Trail! Here’s a recap in photos:
The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is excited to announce their annual music festival will be bigger and better than ever!
The 2015 Trail Fest will be on Sunday, September 6th! Come on down to the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes for an afternoon hike or bike followed by live music, live art, kid’s activities, BBQ, and beer gardens. There will be a modest cover charge of $10/adult, $5/child, or pay as you can. The festivities will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a group bike or hike on trails of various lengths, all starting at the ski chalet parking lot and returning to the ski chalet. At 4:00 the outdoor beer gardens will open, kid’s activities will kick off, and Chrissy Sie-Merritt of South Moon Studios will begin a live art demonstration inside the chalet. Watch an artist in action, create wonder on canvas. (www.southmoonarts.com for a preview) At 5:00 p.m. multiple BBQ’s will heat up and there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie options available for purchase. There will also be homemade salads and desserts prepared by local residents. At 6:00 p.m. local musicians will take the stage. Some of the acts that have offered to entertain us so far are Dave Barchyn, Doug Edmond, Bill Hamilton, and more. If it is a little drier weather than last year, we hope to have an outdoor bonfire in the evening. Forget about closing up the cabin for the summer on the September long weekend and come celebrate with SWTA instead! Arrive at your convenient time. All proceeds from this event will go towards trail development and maintenance.
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:
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.
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. Check 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. Paddle 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.
Winter is officially here… And we Manitobans can make it through this. Although the past few weeks have been surprisingly mild, you may be waiting for the times where you’ll be scraping your car windows, getting stuck in the deep, heavy snow, or freezing at the bus stop. However, as stated once before on this blog, winter rules in the Whiteshell, and we’re not just saying that. Some even say winter is their favourite season at the lake. Winter is what you make it, and the Whiteshell has endless opportunities for fun winter activities in the most beautiful and scenic place in Manitoba. So instead of staying cooped up inside counting down the days until the snow melts, bundle up and venture out to the winter wilderness wonderland of the Whiteshell, where winter truly rules. To kick off a season of winter fun, here is our 2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List: Continue reading
The South Whiteshell Trail is a gorgeous hiking trail that winds through the beautiful forest terrain of the Whiteshell from Rennie to the Ontario border. The trail is divided into several different portions that stretch across the South Whiteshell; so whether you’re feeling ambitious and want to bike across the south Whiteshell or just want to take a casual stroll near your campsite, this trail is a perfect way to explore the gorgeous landscape and nature of the Canadian Shield. On August 31, the South Whiteshell Trail Association will be hosting a grand opening of the newest section of the trail that spans from the southwest corner of Falcon Lake to the Ontario border.
Cross-country skiing is an excellent form of exercise in the winter. And if you go cross-country skiing in the Whiteshell, you get to take in all the beautiful scenery and nature while doing so. Whether you want to build stamina with hill climbs or just go for a smooth ski across the lake, the Whiteshell has got a variety of beautiful terrain for every skier to explore.
One of the best ski trails in the Whiteshell is the South Whiteshell Trail, also a great trail for walking, running, and biking during the summer. The South Whiteshell trail can take you from the the Nite Hawk Cafe in West Hawk, through spruce and pine trees and down a scenic trail to Faloma Beach Marina and then onto the Falcon Lake Community Club. The trail also includes a loop to the isolated McHugh Lake, which then loops you back to the West Hawk townsite. The South Whiteshell Trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail, also has a warmup shelter perched at the top of a hill approximately halfway between West Hawk and Faloma.
The Falcon Ridge Ski Hill also provides a great network of groomed ski trails that start at the ski hill, including one loop that even takes you into High Lake. The Falcon Ridge trails have a variety of terrain including anything from a 1 km loop on Falcon Lake to a 7.5 km ski to High Lake and back. There is also a new trail connecting High Lake to the Falcon townsite along the south shore of the lake. Falcon Ridge is even home to one of the two biathlon courses in Manitoba and hosts several biathlon races throughout the winter. Check out the map of the Falcon Ridge trails below:
A cross-country ski trip in the Whiteshell is the perfect winter getaway. It’s great for just a day trip, or for a weekend trip if you would like book out a cozy cabin at one of the local resorts.