Algonquin adventure made easy
From moose watching to mountain biking, Algonquin Provincial Park's legendary outdoors is all at your doorstep at Killarney Lodge. Situated deep in the park, but conveniently close to Highway 60, this log cabin resort offers easy access to adventure. Listen to the loons from your private deck or hike one of the 19 self-guided interpretive trails. The 19-km Lookout Trail is a particular favourite for its stunning views of forested hills. Killarney staff will happily pack a picnic so you can explore all day.
Zippity Doo Dah:It's a wonderful way
Eco goes deluxe: Enjoy zip lines and fine wines before settling on a king-size bed under the stars
Does soaring like a regal eagle through a rare Carolinian forest, sipping Riesling on a deck overlooking a purple-tinged marsh and sleeping on a king-size bed under the stars sound like fun? It's all waiting on the edge of a World Biosphere in Long Point, Ontario.
It's a good thing that long-time friends Mike McArthur and Dave Pond liked to travel. And that they were keen on trying cutting-edge eco adventures-like zip lining-as they toured Costa Rica, Whistler or Mexico. It's also a good thing that once home, they found a stunning 6,070-hectare property for sale overlooking a lovely marshland near Turkey Point on Lake Erie. But what to do with this rare piece of land once purchased?
Simple: Plant even more trees in the leafy forest for a super eco-immersion zipline experience; build an observatory with a powerful telescope so the stars can shine even brighter for visitors; arrange canoes and kayaks for paddling the creek nearby; dig two ponds to attract indigenous species like Blanding's turtles; plan a new state-of-the-art winery using grapes that profit from the sunshine along this Lake Erie coast-and invite the world to come and enjoy the fun.
"We brought in prairie grass to line the trails, we planted 800 oaks, sassafras and other species," says McArthur. "We had so much fun working with the natural surroundings." And today, flourishing on the edge of the Biosphere's temperate climate, Long Point Eco-Adventures is a green travel destination that has welcomed hundreds of adventurers and nature lovers of all ages.
The highlight, other than the bald eagles or any of the other 275 bird species that touch down along this coast, is of course, soaring like a bird yourself as you wing out over the trees. It takes about three hours to fly along eight ziplines (including the 228.6-metre 'Bomber' zip), walk two suspension bridges, climb the two-tiered Star Trek platform and hug the leafy maple tree before rapelling back to Mother Earth on a 12-metre rope.
But don't worry. Before you attempt to fly from the 36.5-high platforms, you'll get a test run on the practice zip that teaches how to stop, travel faster (or slower) and what to do if you fall short of a platform. Always, two guides with walkie-talkies and a love of the local flora and fauna will guide you through the high branches.
This summer, 'zippers' will be able to test out two new ventures that add 'deluxe' to eco: Canvas safari tents outfitted with king-size beds, solar lights, washrooms and a patio where you may enjoy complimentary continental breakfast. Later in the day, sample the product of venture number two: the Burning Kiln winery. Test a Riesling or rosé in the tasting room-or over a lunch of local delectables.
"It's civilized luxury camping," says McArthur, who hasn't yet run out of ideas. Try nighttime zips with LED lights twinkling in the trees. "We've been out at full moon and it's phenomenal," he enthuses,
"a completely new experience."
We can't wait!
Long Point Eco-Adventures
One- and two-day packages
Burning Kiln Winery
Zipping Around Ontario
Arbraska Treetop Trekking
Horseshoe Valley Resort near Barrie proves that if you can ski it, you can zip it. The Big Zip runs 300 metres with views that take in towering old pines, wildflowers, ferns and the occasional wild turkey.
Scheduled to open this May east of Thunder Bay, at 800 metres this will be Canada's longest, highest and fastest zipline.
Eaglecrest Aerial Park
This Bracebridge attraction ends its three-hour canopy tours of the forest with a 106-metre zip across the Muskoka River.
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures
Located on the Niagara Escarpment near Collingwood, Scenic Caves has earned a great reputation for its stunning views over Georgian Bay from a series
of bridges and two ziplines measuring 91 and 304 metres.
Paddle like a voyageur
In a celebration befitting the Ottawa River's recent nomination for Heritage River designation, OWL Rafting is offering fur-trade-style adventure. Paddle like a voyageur in a 30-foot-long canoe in a weekend event marking Canadian Rivers Day (June 13). The June 10 to 12 trek begins with song and storytelling around a Friday night campfire. Unlike the voyageurs, you won't be asked to schlep a fur-filled pack, just enjoy a weekend of whitewater rafting, camping, and a Québécois dinner of tortière, tarte au sucre, homemade bread and more. Kick up your heels on a Saturday night, dancing to traditional Ottawa Valley fiddle tunes. The following day you'll paddle a reproduction of a 400-year-old canoe through the calm waters between the Ottawa's many islands. Bring your own tent and enjoy a bargain price of $200 for five meals, two night's camping and lots of paddling. 800-461-RAFT (7238) www.owlrafting.com