While spring flowers, warm temperatures and trees budding out are sure signs of Spring in Canada, cottage country often uses another bench mark. When the ice is off the waterways and the rivers are flowing freely we consider it safe to say the season of new growth has arrived. That date varies from lake to lake in Muskoka , but here at Tuktawayin on the shore of Gull Lake in Gravenhurst the lake was ice free for as far as we could see on March 23rd, 2012.
Outdoor enthusiasts who head off road for a spring hike won’t be surprised to hear the sound of partridge and grouse pounding their chests. This past weekend I had the good fortune to come upon a male Ruffled Grouse displaying his plumage and doing his very best mating dance…all to attract the attention of a very bored looking hen that turned her back and walked away.
Other sure signs include…
Fishing boats….I saw the first one on Gull Lake on March 24th. I’m sure if they ventured around the entire shore of the lake they would have discovered bits of ice still clinging to the shoreline in shady bays, nooks and crannies. The shoreline opposite Tuktawayin B&B is the side of the lake that loses the ice first and we often see a fishing boat cruising along while we still have our docks securely tethered by ice.
Canada Geese….are usually heard here before they are seen and this year was no exception. I heard them on March 14th but didn’t see them until March 25th, but then I don’t go looking for them. We have a pair that return annually to nest in the cranberry bog on the other side of Gull Lake and by late May or June there always seem to be at least 2 sets of parents with young cruising around the lake.
Waterfalls flowing freely….while some of the Muskoka waterfalls flow to a certain extent throughout the winter months we have a small fall in the forest on the other side of the lake which does freeze over. There have been years when I could stand on the frozen waterfall where I can clearly see the ice is a couple of feet deep and then peer down to see a trickle of water still flowing underneath.
Amorous Animals….stepping outside on any early spring morning around here, like in any rural area, provides the listener with a choir of birdsong. At first you only hear a few calls here and there but as the temperatures warm you can hear it all; Robins, Blue Jays, Sparrows, Doves, Gulls and Cardinals just to mention the easily recognized ones.
Animals protecting nests…after leaving the falls this past weekend on my first spring hike I suddenly came upon a small Garter Snake. I suspect it had a nest nearby as it raised its head and lunged at me, all of 6” because it was a small one but it was the first time I had encountered a Garter Snake acting in this manner so I suspected there was a nest of eggs nearby.
What comes next?
Summer of course, and here in Muskoka that means fun-filled days on the water and lazy afternoons on the porch. Tourists always enjoy cruising on the RMS Segwun or the Wenonah II. History buffs love to take the tour at the Bethune Memorial House or Grace and Speed Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can try waterskiing or wakeboarding, paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking, cycling or mountain biking. Foodies enjoy sampling the variety of offerings at our restaurants on the main street and at Muskoka Wharf not to mention the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday at the Wharf.
Every long weekend in the summer there seems to be another festival event such as the Antique and Classic Car show in June, Antique and Classic Boat Show at Muskoka Wharf in July, Ribfest or the Dockside Festival later in the summer. These festival dates are linked by an ongoing supply of great theatre and music offerings throughout Muskoka.
Planning Your Summer Holiday?
Contact us here at Tuktawayin B&B. We’ll answer your questions and guide you to the resource that will best help you plan your Muskoka holiday in cottage country.