Sundown at Star Lake

Calm and quiet lakes, low sunlight sparkling off the water, mist rising in the early morning, mirror image sunsets: It’s no secret that fall is a great time of the year to explore the Whiteshell Provincial Park and snap a few photos.

As we head into freeze up, here’s a series of sunset photos taken in three weekends at Star Lake this fall.

Send your fall photos or freeze-up photos to whiteshell.lakes@gmail.com.

C: Marney Blunt. (No post-processing).

Weekend #1:

IMG_3624 copy IMG_3631 copy IMG_3638 copy IMG_3641 copyWeekend #2:

IMG_3670 copy IMG_3712 copy IMG_3716 copy IMG_3717 copyWeekend #3:

IMG_3779 copy IMG_3784 copy

Dock ladder to heaven.

Dock ladder to heaven.

A walk down the Whiteshell Memory Lane…

Little walk down Memory Lane, anyone?

Many of the original cottages in the Falcon and West Hawk Lake area were built in the 1940s, and are still owned by the members of the original family today.

Here’s a series of photos that may give some of those families a flashback to the good ol’ days at West Hawk Lake, Falcon Lake, Caddy Lake, and Star Lake. If you’re new to the Whiteshell or just enjoy day tripping, check out how things have changed throughout the years!

One thing has stayed the same, though: The Whiteshell Provincial Park is arguably still the most beautiful place in Manitoba.

Please feel to share your Whiteshell memories in the comments section! Have some vintage shots of your own from the Whiteshell? Send them to us at whiteshell.lakes@gmail.com.

Photos compiled by Brian Talling.
Source: History & Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

CaddyLakeTunnel

Caddy Lake rock tunnels.

Deer

Trans-Canada Restaurant, previously the West Hawk Inn Bar & Grill.

CBC

Crescent Beach Cottages. West Hawk Lake.

BabyFawn Cropped

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Star Lake

Star Lake.

TransCanadaRestuarant

Trans-Canada Restaurant (West Hawk Inn). West Hawk Lake.

WestHawkWestHawk2WestHawk3WestHawk4

Main Beach. West Hawk Lake.

Main Beach. West Hawk Lake.

Trans-Canada Restaurant/West Hawk Inn

Trans-Canada Restaurant/West Hawk Inn

West Hawk Lake road.

West Hawk Lake road.

Whiteshell River Bridge.

Whiteshell River Bridge.

Trail Fest 2015

The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is excited to announce their annual music festival will be bigger and better than ever!

SWTAThe 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.

Continue reading

Bait your hook, drop your line, and jig em’ up…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

A time of the year so many Manitoban anglers anticipate… The opening day of the 2015/2016 fishing season. This Saturday, May 9 marks the first day of open water fishing in the Whiteshell. Whether it’s walleye, black crappie, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or lake trout that you fancy, be sure head out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park this weekend to catch those first fish of the season in one of the beautiful lakes in the park.

IMG_3029IMG_3154For the more competitive anglers, be sure to come out and fine tune your jigging skills for the 2015 Walleye Masters Cup on Falcon Lake, scheduled for Saturday, June 6 this year. The tournament is in support of the Central Walleye Trail, Fish Futures, and the Never Alone Foundation. Continue reading

2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List

IMG_0535 copyWinter 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

Whiteshell Summer Bucket List

The ice is melting, the trees are budding, and the birds are singing; spring is here and summer is just around the corner. So are all the awesome summer activities in the Whiteshell. Summer is the most-happening season in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to explore the back-country of the Whiteshell or just relax and take in the scenery, the Whiteshell is the place to be in the summer. Here are the best ways you can Experience the Whiteshell this summer:

South Cross Lake - Photo by Marney Blunt.

South Cross Lake – Photo by Marney Blunt.

1 – Hike the Whiteshell – There are many different hiking trails to explore in the Whiteshell. Whether you want to climb the cliffs of the Hunt Lake Trail, take a casual stroll, or ride your bike through the South Whiteshell Trail, there are a variety of gorgeous hiking trails that will take you deep into the beauty and nature of the Canadian Shield. Some great hiking trails to check out include the Hunt Lake Trail alongside the east shore of West Hawk Lake, the McGillivray Falls Trail, the South Whiteshell Trail (part of the Trans-Canada Trail), the Mantario Trail, the trails at Falcon Ridge, and many more! Check out falconwesthawk.com for more information on these trails, and keep checking Experience the Whiteshell for articles and photos this summer!

Continue reading

Wildlife of the Month Part I: Foxes

The fox is Experience the Whiteshell’s Wildlife of the Month for March. Foxes are a common siting in the Whiteshell, and during the winter they look gorgeous with their big fur coats and bushy tails. While most of the foxes in the Whiteshell are red, on occasion you can see silver and black foxes trotting around. Females foxes will be having their litters anytime between now and May, and a litter can be anywhere between one to ten pups. The average lifespan of a red fox is anywhere between three to six years, according to Canadian Geographic. Here are a few photos I have taken of a fox hanging out at our cottage on Star Lake. This guy likes to pose for the camera on the front deck and curl up in the snow and soak up the winter sunshine. He is about half this size in the summer without that thick winter coat.

Writeup & photos by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor. IMG_1005 copyIMG_1009 copyIMG_1008 copyIMG_1014 copyIMG_1023 copyIMG_1024 copy

The Silent Slalom Star of the Whiteshell

It’s a fantastic sight to see a slalom water skier cutting up a glassy calm lake, usually in the rising sun or the quiet of the evening, kicking up a wall of water with each turn and quickly zipping back across the wake. In the Whiteshell, this might be a less common sight in comparison to other water sports such as wakeboarding, wakesurfing, tubing etc. So it may come as a surprise to some to know that a professional water skier started her career in the Whiteshell and is now one of the top 10 female slalom skiers in the world. Experience the Whiteshell talks to Geena about starting out in the Whiteshell, travelling the world, and why she will always keep coming back to her roots.

1291423_10151713533411130_174525454_nThe name Geena Krueger is well-known in the water skiing world. She has travelled all over the world for tournaments, has several titles in the sport, is one of the top ten female slalom water skiers in the world, and is currently ranked third in Europe. It all started at her family cabin on Star Lake, in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Geena’s first experience skiing was at the family cottage on an island at Star Lake. She learned to ski at a very young age when her dad propped her up on his own skis.

“My very first memory I remember going on his skis and then I started going off the Star Lake beach on my own,” said Geena, who was only five years old when she got up on two skis. Then the next summer, at age six, she kicked off one ski and started slaloming around Star Lake.

Geena slalom skiing on Star Lake at age six.

Geena slalom skiing on Star Lake at age six.

In 1998, Geena’s family bought a cabin on Lake of the Woods (the Star Lake cabin belonged to Geena’s grandparents). On Lake of the Woods they were close neighbours to the people who owned Sportsman Marine & Ski in Winnipeg, who were the first to introduce the Kruegers to a slalom ski course and even gave them their slalom course because they didn’t use it anymore.  The Kruegers set up the course in a quiet bay on Lake of the Woods, close to their cabin.

Geena says she was about 12 or 13 years old when she started going through the slalom ski course, and she did her first tournament at Betula Lake in the Whiteshell.

“That was my first tournament, I was so nervous,” she said. “And then I did a Manitoba record, I didn’t even know what I was doing.”

1381057_10151713533676130_956780341_n

First tournament, breaks a record….. No big deal. But it was the start of what would soon become a professional career for Geena. From there she started doing a few more tournaments and then went to Rollins College in Winterpark, Florida. That’s where Geena became really serious about skiing. Geena chose to go to Rollins College because she knew that’s where she could continue to progress her water skiing career.

“Orlando is like central-water skiing, it’s like golfing,” she said. “If you’re a pro golfer, you’re going to go to Florida, if you’re a pro water skier, you’re going to Florida. Once you’re there it has all the best coaches in the world, best lakes, and best facilities.”

“Once you get into that envirnoment where there’s people around you that are taking it seriously, you get more competitive and it pushes you. And at that point, I knew I definitely wanted to do this professionally.”

1370283_10151713533661130_1606517052_nAlong with slalom Geena also does trick and jump skiing. Slalom, which is her strength and her personal favourite, involves skiing through a course that consists of six buoys, with an entry gate and an exit gate. For slalom, the maximum speed for women is 34 miles/hr or 55 km/hr. Once you complete the course at maximum speed, you keep shortening the rope length, making it more challenging to turn sharp and cut across the wake in time to get around next buoy. Trick skiing is based off a point system that involves two 20 seconds passes to do as many tricks as you can. Jump skiing is based off the distance of the jump.
1388102_10151713533696130_196526222_nWater skiing has given Geena the opportunity to do what everyone dreams of: Travelling the world to do what you love most. In March she skied at a pro tournament in Melbourne, Australia, and at another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June. She recently received a bronze medal and the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece, and is heading to her first Open World tournament in Chile at the end of November.

Geena (far right) on the podium at the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece.

Geena (far right) on the podium at the Europe and Africa Championships in Greece.

Geena skiing on Star Lake - Summer 2013.

Geena skiing on Star Lake – Summer 2013.

All this world travelling doesn’t stop Geena from coming back to visit and ski at the place where it all started: in the Whiteshell Provincial Park. She says she will continue to return to the Whiteshell and Lake of the Woods every summer.

“I have so many memories here,” said Geena. “I don’t think anyone understands being out at the lake until you’ve actually been here. I’ve been to so many places in the world and I always come here and it’s just so peaceful; I love it here.”

1388771_10151713533656130_1026468417_n

History and Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South: Republished.

Everyone has a story from the lake. Whether it’s a story about your favourite weekend at the lake, the biggest fish you caught, or the day you finished building the family cabin, the stories and events that happen at the lake tend to stick with people throughout the years. Every cottager or local has a story about how or why they came to the lake. And in the Southeast Whiteshell, some of those stories date back to the 1930s or 1940s.

IMG_7179

The republished History and Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South.

Luckily, many of those stories can be found in History and Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South, which has recently been republished. While the book was first published in 1991, author and former Whiteshell-local Olive Zimmerman has been documenting life in the Whiteshell ever since the ice froze over on West Hawk Lake in 1951. Olive then began to record ice-in and ice-off every year and began to save articles from the Whiteshell Echo, a publication that she wrote for at the time.

Olive’s husband, Adolph Zimmerman, came to the Whiteshell before World War II and throughout the years worked as a carpenter, a diamond driller at the Star Lake gold mine, and for Manitoba Conservation. Olive, who had originally hailed from Desford, MB and now lives on Vancouver Island, came to the Whiteshell in 1950.

“I had just come out of home ec. school in Brandon, broke,” said Olive. “And I decided that before I did anything else, I was going to spend a summer at a resort.”

Olive got a job as a waitress at the Trans-Canada Restaurant, which is now the West Hawk Inn Bar & Grill, and packed her bags and moved to West Hawk Lake for the summer. However, that summer turned into a permanent life for Olive for nearly 50 years. Olive and Adolph were married in 1951 and it wasn’t long after that Olive started to make notes and record things that happened in the community, even though she didn’t really know what she was going to use the material for.

DSC_0713

Olive and Adolph Zimmerman.

“I realized that there was a lot of stuff that people didn’t have access to,” said Olive. “And I was bit-by-bit writing down these things before I ever decided that we need a book, because there’s no library in the area to save all this.”

Between 1958 and 1962, while they still owned and operated Lakeside Cabins on West Hawk Lake, Olive really began to record bits and pieces of local events that would make history. She continued to do so after they sold that business and moved to the junction of Highway 301 and the Toniata Road.

At this time Adolph had started on permanent staff with the Department of Highways while the scale was still located in the West Hawk townsite, before the Highway 1 location opened. He moved on to the new location by the Ontario border, while continuing to help cottagers with their cottage and dock repairs and working on his trap line during the winter months. Olive helped with their propane business on Highway 301. That along with raising two children, pursuing her interests in crafts, and helping in the community still did not keep Olive busy enough. She continued her hobby as the local historian.

olive

Olive Zimmerman.

“I had started gathering stuff, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with it at the time. In the end, I was off and on (writing) for ten years. I spent a lot of time seriously thinking if I could get enough material for a book.”

Being locals, Olive and Adolph knew a lot of people in the area and Olive began to encourage others to write stories about their family cottages or homes. That’s how she got the story of an archaeology dig on Caddy Lake, or the one of the old time residents who took a cast iron stove apart to make several trips across Falcon Lake, and then reassembled it when they got to their cottage, along with many other interesting stories found in her book.

Finally after years and years of collecting information, Olive decided to publish it as a history book. History and Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South was first published in 1991, and has now been republished, thanks to Paul and Marg Duncan. The republished version includes all of the original material, and now includes an index and some added information about the recent upgrades to the school, the medical centre, and to the West Hawk Lake townsite.

“I really like what they have done to my book, and I love the cover,” said Olive.

Olive added that it is now up to the next generation to publish the next bit of history in the Whiteshell.

“Keep saving all the write ups,” said Olive. “I have a big envelope of writing. People who are interested in this should keep write ups that make history and keep writing for the next book. You couldn’t put another addition on my book. It would have to be a completely new book instead of reproducing the first one.”

“To each and every story there is some history – That’s what makes a book,” said Olive. “Thank you everyone who contributed.”

We say, “Thank YOU, Olive, for keeping this treasure trove of stories and giving it to us!”

DSC_0704 copy

Olive Zimmerman.

The republished edition of History and Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South is available for purchase in local businesses in the Southeast Whiteshell.