Friday, April 11, 2008

Report on Randall

This past winter, Voyageur Quest was fortunate to have Randall Blom as part of our winter guiding team! Backountry ski expert and author of this weblog's "Randall Snow Report ", Randall
was great fun to be around and a fantastic guide. We wish him the best on his adventure to New Zealand!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

At the Dogyard

Dog sledding is a great Canadian winter experience. As thrilling as the mush can be, getting to know the dogs , hooking up and harnessing and working with the teams is a big part of the adventure. Here are a few short videos taken on our last family visit to the dog yard.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ski Jouring

Had some fun with groups out ski jouring this past week. Skiing behind dogs is a lot of fun and best for those experienced skiers who can turn and slow down with ease! This furry friend was one of the many out on the trail with us.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Algonquin Dogsled Photos

Thanks to Ingrid for these great pictures on a recent trip to the Algonquin Log Cabin. There is still plenty of snow up north and dog sledding trips are still available. Come join us for the last few weeks of winter weather!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Candlelight Dinner at the Log Cabin

Nothing beats a sauna followed by Joe's cooking after a great day on the trail. It's even better with a group of friends or family! Winter at the Algonquin Log Cabin is great for groups looking for a getaway in the Canadian Wilderness!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Setting up the Wall Tent

Jody and I have been busy setting up the wall tent at the end of Surprise Lake. The wall tent, a popular option for enthusiastic outdoor groups staying at the log cabin , sure takes a lot of wood in the stove to keep it comfortable! Our first night in the tent was quite comfortable inside while it was twenty below outside ! We awoke to a stunning clear day, and the lack of wind meant the thin layer of snow on the lake ice provided for a long lasting record of animal tracks! There were abundant moose tracks, fox, and snowshoe hare crisscrossing our sled tracks from the day before. When I went out for a ski in the bright afternoon sun, I was excited to come across wolf tracks. Following them for a bit, I was surprised to come up to Jody’s and my tracks from an hour before, where the two sets of wolf tracks veered off their earlier course and pursued ours. Puzzled, and a little apprehensive, I looked over my shoulder to see if perhaps they were intent on catching up to my ski tracks. The wide still expanse of bright white betrayed no movement. I skied alongside the tracks for a few minutes more, coming to where the wolf tracks finally diverged again from the human tracks and continued on their relaxed way across the lake. How neat to have the tables turned; it made me wonder who was investigating whom!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Following the Wolf Pack

This group of avid skiers is sure keen to get their post-Christmas dose of outdoor exercise! A higlight has definitely been sighting wolf tracks while skiing accross Surprise Lake. As we skirted the lake towards The Narrows, we came accross first one set of fresh wolf tracks, then a dozen metres away a second, and then again a third set of tracks, all coming out of the forest, joining up and setting out accross the lake. As we followed them we saw that they were in pursuit of a set of deer tracks. We began following the tracks to see the culmintation of the pursuit, hoping for a carrion sighting. It was to no avail. Wolves have an immense home range and as they are such efficient travellers they can easily cover 50km in a day. The wolves may have caught up with their prey, but it was too far for us!. The daylight was fading and we were soon on our way back to the Lodge for a 'hotter than the Finns could handle' sauna, and then a super meal by Joe the chef.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Three Amigos on Skis!

Larry , Curly and Mo...our winter ski guides demonstrate good form on Surprise Lake !

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Backcountry ski Algonquin

If you have been following our web log this week , you know the story is the snow ! There is so much of it -our backcountry ski today translated into epic trail breaking! The sun came out mid afternoon producing a stunning backdrop to the snow laden forest. In our 15 years of operating winter trips in Algonquin Park, I can't remember having this deep a snow pack during winter trainng. Here is a short videos to give you a feeling of what the trails are like .

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ideal Snowshoe conditions at Algonquin

Snowshoeing the double lookout trail today was fabulous ! Using our GV snowshoes, we were still sinking up to our knees in all this snow. Call me old fashioned but with all this much fresh snow, I recommend using the traditonal Ojibway , Bearpaw of Algonquin snowshoes with a much wider footprint preventing you from sinking in the deep powder. Back at the Log Cabin sauna, both young and seasoned ( ! ) guides were nursing tired leg muscles today!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Digging out after 45cm snowfall!

Winter snow conditions could not be better as Algonquin Park's northwest corner received over 40cm of fresh snow over the last two days. Perfect timing as our winter guide team is up at the Log Cabin this week getting ready for the busy holiday season! The snow is still falling today! We'll check the snowpack and send in a snow report later this week.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Winter Bliss - Snowshoe Algonquin

Our Algonquin Log Cabin and Cottage Outpost received a new order of Canadian made GV snowshoes this week - perfect for the Algonquin hilly terrain. Our 2008 winter line up has several trips which feature snowshoeing including:
Algonquin Winter EcoAdventure - 4 day package with dogsledding, snowshoeing and backountry ski
Winter Adventure for Two 3 night package with snowshoeing and chouce of dogs or skidoo
and our award winning Log cabin 3 day winter lodge adventure which features 3 days of guided snowshoe, ski and ice fishing.

Keen on picking up a pair for yourself? Check out the MEC
website who have a great information about choosing the right snowshoe.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Winter weekends at the Algonquin Log Cabin

Snow is falling in Algonquin and it's time to book your winter weekend. The Log cabin is great for a group of friends or large family. Enjoy days on snowshoe followed by a hot sauna and drinks by the fireplace.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Winter hunt- wolves take down moose

A friend of mine just sent in these pictures taken on Lake Superior's Isle Royale. The photographer was in a tree stand hunting deer when this scene took place. A graphic account of winter survival !

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Family Returns to Algonquin

It was wonderful to see Rainer and family back at the Algonquin Cottage Outpost this winter. The solar powered Cottage Outpost chalet suites are ideal for a family of 4. With two bedrooms, washroom/ shower, full kitchen, fireplace, deck and BBQ- the suites are set up for a comfortable 3 night or week long stay. Rainer’s family took advantage of the kitchen and prepared their own meals while adding on some guided days of snowshoeing and dog sledding.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Mush,Mush, Mush

Great to be back with the dogs this past weekend. Working with dogs is a wonderful rewarding – and tiring experience! If you have not tried this, come try a day trip out of our Algonquin Cottage Outpost or Algonquin Log Cabin. Mixed with cozy accommodation, tasty meals, and some time on snowshoes – you are in for a great winter weekend!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Algonquin Winter holiday pictures

The skies have been clear and cool over Algonquin the last few days making for some fantastic hiking and snowshoeing. Hope you are enjoying the holidays !

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Silence in the woods

Early December is a wonderful time to be in Alonquin. Free from the busy shopping malls, traffic and seasonal commercial hype, the silence and peace of the forest and lakes do wonders for the soul. This past week at the Log Cabin, surrounded by all things natural - was truly a Christmas gift.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Winter Walk in December

Winter staff training is here and our team are all loving our first good dose of -25 c ! Here at the Algonquin Log Cabin , the conditions have been wonderful and perfect for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. For those of you who have been asking about the snow, take a look at this short video.

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Snowshoes, Skis Ready To Go

With over 3 feet of fresh snow, our snowshoes and backountry skiis are ready for action ! I tried out some of our new lighweight aluminum snowshoes on the Ridge trail this afternoon. They were fantastic in providing remarkable traction on the steep hills. Both the Algonquin Log Cabin and Algonquin Cottage Outpost have fantastic winter trails through forests and across frozen lakes and streams. For the intrepid, the backcountry offers endless exploration. Last February, I skied with a few friends up to a beaver meadow near Genesee Lake. Near an open section of water, we counted the tracks of beaver, wolves, mouse, rabbit, otter, deer and moose . We followed the wolf tracks which seemed to intensify as we crossed the frozen pond. Clumps of hair and bloody snow appeared in spots. We were now following what was clearly a wolf attack on a deer. 50 feet into the alders, we found the a half - eaten deer carcass. It appeared the wolves had taken a break from their feed and were likely still very close and perhaps eyeing us from a distance. It was jarring to see the carnage and rawness of Darwin's law on display.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Algonquin Dog Sledding Video

We received this fun, short video from Mr. Fitzpatrick taken on an Algonquin dog sledding trip last February. Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

50 things every Canadian should do in winter

The November issue of Explore- Canada’s outdoor magazine- has an interesting article and list of the 50 things every Canadian should do in a winter. Top 10 on their list

1. “Try speed skating”
2. Stay at an “original” lodge
3. Go to one of three listed resort bars
4. Learn about avalanches
5. Stand at Portage and Main
6. Ski a world Loppet series
7. Go dog sledding
8. Go for run on snowshoes
9. Learn to ski moguls
10. Ski a famous mogul run

For the rest of the list, pick up a copy of their November issue. If you are keen on knocking of any of the top 10 – three are available by signing on to our Algonquin Log Cabin or Algonquin Cottage Outpost winter adventures. (stay at an original{ rustic/ no electricity lodge}, go dog sledding and have a run on snowshoes

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Monday, January 26, 2004

Dog Sledding on Algonquin Park's Sunday Lake Rd

I was out Dog sledding on Algonquin Park’s Sunday Lake Rd last week with musher Dave Freymond. It was a real pleasure to be out on the trail again with Dave.

Voyageur Quest began working with Dave in 1994 when we were operating winter trips out of Source Lake and Camp Pathfinder. More recently, Dave has been helping out with 3 day Algonquin Dog sledding trips to his backcountry cabin on Madawaska lake.

We enjoyed a classic day trip with blue skies, lot’ snow and happy well trained dogs. Dave reminded me that he has yet to see the video footage of the Outdoor Journal television show that dig a segment on Algonquin Dog sledding with Voyageur Quest.
Dave, here you go. …. Enjoy ! Thanks to Reno Viola for this clip.

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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Ice skating during the Christmas Holidays

After some fun and festive days celebrating Christmas in Toronto, we left this morning to head up to the Cottage Outpost for some Christmas Holiday winter fun. We arrived around lunch and were welcomed with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures around -1c.. Ben and Ana were immediately jumping through the snow down towards the lake. They came running back to tell Eva and I to come down to the “rink”. When we caught up to them, we discovered that James and Abby have outdone themselves and have shoveled a massive rink!
Thank you guys !!

The ice could not be more perfect. The warm sun had created a flooding effect and the rink was like glass. I tied Ben’s skates up and he took off like he has been skating all his short 4 year old life !! Ana at 2 is not yet stating yet so we put her on my shoulders and Eva, Ben, Ana and I skated around and around. The temperature continued to rise and soon a massive mist was heading across the lake. In seconds we were skating “in the clouds”. We took off the skates and walked around in the mist ! It was really bizarre.. here we are at 3pm and you can’t t see 10 feet in front of you!

Later that night, James and Trevor brought our Log Cabin trip over for a torch lit skate. The night was mild with amazing stars and the sound of skates on ice. What better way to celebrate the Christmas holidays than to skate on a beautiful Algonquin lake!

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Friday, April 25, 2003

Canada - world’s winter adventure destination!

This past month I was fortunate to be invited to be a part of a winter adventure travel workshop in Whitehorse. I had never been to the Yukon and was excited to get a chance to head to the far northwest of Canada.

The workshop, called Winter Change, brought together 80 tourism professionals from all across Canada to test and refine a process to support the development of new and innovative winter tour products. We were given the task of creating new Canadian winter products that would be brought to market in 2007 and tweaked and polished in time for the 2010 winter Olympic Games in Vancouver/ Whistler. It was wonderful to interact with winter professionals from other parts of Canada and with people who work in both private and public sector. We were challenged to look and change our existing business paradigm and look at the future with a new perspective.

Our specific work group created innovative and wild winter products including scuba diving beneath the ice and an urban Canadian winter experience exhibit that would offer city dwellers a chance to step into winter and see, smell and touch a Canadian winter. It was motivating to be among passionate winter enthusiasts and we all came away with the realization that Canada is a world leader when it comes to winter adventure product and we need to be more proud of it!!!

Highlights included: seeing the northern lights every night, a snowmobile trip out to High Lake with Mark from Up North Adventures. The Yukon’s big valleys are awesome. Another day - I took a drive through the White pass and down to Skagway Alaska with Del Rollo from Jackson-Triggs and Richard from Timmins. Del knows all things about wine and has got some great culinary tourism packages in Niagara. Richard owns the Cedar Meadows Resort in Timmins with a virtual game farm out the back including Moose, Caribou.
Our day trip was fantastic. It was amazing to see the change in climate as we drove through the pass and down to the ocean. Here are a few shots.

I highly recommend a Yukon winter trip to anyone who has a big taste for adventure. My 6 days were a just a sample and I plan on returning for a three week trip to the St Elias range in the next few years.

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Thursday, April 17, 2003

Is Algonquin Park the Dog sled capital of Canada –?

While in Canada’s Yukon Territory recently, it was interesting to talk to the dog sled mushers about their business and where/ how their customers come from. Whitehorse is not close to any other major urban centre. People heading for a Yukon ( or Alaska ) sled dog trip fly on at least two flights and on average over 5000 km to get to the start of the trip. There is even a direct winter flight to Whitehorse all the way from Frankfurt Germany! With expensive flight costs, most of the dog sled businesses cater to high end clientele and take very few customers each winter. Racing is really the big draw with many of the mushers in the Yukon offering customers a chance to help train dogs that are getting in shape for the Yukon Quest- the longest and most grueling dog sled race in the world. 3 of the mushers I spoke to take less than 25 customers each winter.

My conversations with these dog sled operators made me start thinking that while Yukon maybe the home of Dogsled racing in Canada, Algonquin Park maybe Canada’s number one choice for people to experience “authentic” dog sledding.

Algonquin Park is within a 10 hour drive of over 25 million people and home to at least 8 dog sled operators around the Park that I am aware of. Collectively the operators house 600 dogs and on average 175 people are probably dog sledding every day in/ around Algonquin. I believe this would make Algonquin the dog sled capital of Canada!

Here at Voyageur Quest, we work with four Algonquin Park dog sled mushers and offer several different types of dog sled trips including lodge based multi adventures and dog expeditions with heated wall tent camping.

I stress “authentic dog sledding to differentiate from some hotels and/or resorts that are offering dog sled “rides” of 20 minutes. For those of you considering a dog sled experience, I highly recommend you choose an authentic dog sled experience vs. a ride.
During an authentic experience, you will receive a thorough orientation including instruction in how to drive a team, harness, hook up, and dog commands. Then you will head to the yard and hook up/ harness your team. After this two hour hands on process will you be ready to mush. The actual mush typically runs for about 3 – 4 hours and will cover around 20km.

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