Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Girls' Ski Weekend

This was Cheryll's annual ski weekend with the 'gals'. Some, like Cheryll, are "locals". Some slide on down from Sudbury for the occasion.

And they take to the Bondi trails. There are quite a few of our local neighbours who ski with us.

Trudy, Suzette, Paulette, Carole, and Jolanda joined Cheryll, seeking out the "least hilly" trails, up through Hidden Lake and Hawk Lake, a little sidetrip down to River Loop. We have trails that fit all levels of ability and ambition!

The new puppy, Taffy, had to check out the ski equipment. First time she's seen folks on skiis. She thought it looked such fun, she was all set to go with them!

Fish Huts, Sleds, and Good Times on the Ice

There was no shortage of activity around the lake this weekend. Gloria send us these pictures, taken near Bigwin Island, of the Fish Hut city that has sprung up again this winter.

Don't have one? Well, you can snap up one, advertised on this sign stuck in
the snow at the lake's edge.

Need a way to get there? The 'boys' were whooping it up (without a helmet in sight... I guess they figure if they're just to-ing and fro-ing from the fish huts they are invincible... )

Speaking of invincible, there is another World Record attempt taking place, Feb. 15 when Nick Musters from Utterson attempts to break the world record for the most distance travelled in a 24 hour period on a snowmobile. He's promoting breast cancer awareness (will he be sporting pink ribbons on his sled? He's got plenty on his website!)

He'll be running a track around Bigwin Island. You can drop by and wish him luck, or make a donation, at the Norway Point Park access, off Hwy 117.

Friday, January 28, 2011

She's Here!

It has been almost a year and a half since we said 'good bye' to our beloved poodle, Holly. For 17 1/2 years, she was the perfect poodle, much beloved.
But Nancy's house, without a poodle, just didn't feel right. The cats, Napster and Achmed, rose to the occasion... Achmed came for hikes, Napster decorated the walls with his art and sat on any available lap... They are wonderful cats (but don't tell them that) but they are not dogs.
Hardly fair to expect them to be so...
Nancy has been waiting for a new puppy, from the same breeder that brought us both Toby, Paul's tireless companion, and Holly. Michelle, at Torbec Poodles promised the next puppy would be Nancy's...
Michelle has always loved the home her dogs have had here at Bondi. Both Toby and Holly have featured over the years in her advertising photos, and her husband still recalls the photo of Toby with the pumpkins, dating back to the 1980's.
Well, she's here! We're still debating names, but the current favourite is Taffy. She's smart, energetic, playful, gentle and sticks to Nancy's ankles like, well, like taffy... She's already made conquests out of the guests who are here this weekend.
The cats? Well, noses are out of joint, but they are already beginning to make cautious friends. By Day Two, Napster was beginning to weave around her (when puppy wan't bouncing at Napster in play). Chickens fled before the puppy's bouncing arrival... the deer consider her to be a strange, miniature wolf of some description, and move away.
The adventure has begun!

A Wing and a Prayer, Two Doves and a Bluejay

We stopped at A Wing and a Prayer Bird Rescue on Thursday, to deliver one of Napster's paintings to Janice, and to hand over a hefty cheque to the charity.

This is a quiet time at the bird rescue... Janice had just released two woodpeckers and a bluejay back into the wild, and the only birds in residence were a pair of white doves. These are domestic, and in need of a good home.

This is the charity Napster chose as his primary focus, hoping to atone for some of his past mistakes. They have a world wide reputation for the work done here rehabilitating loons, and a strong track record with just about everything else. Money is always tight... volunteers are always welcome.

Janice was thrilled with Napster's painting -- she immediately spotted a loon in the image, rising out of the green water, wings swept forward.

And Napster? He was delighted he was able to hand over proceeds from the sale of his works. He continues to market, and to support his various charities, so be sure to stop by his own Blog, see where his art is going these days, what's new, and even order cards or prints.

It's all for a great cause. Janice will tell you that! And the birds will all chime in to agree.

Busy Week

On Wednesday, Brian and Nancy were at a training session for the new Meridian "Book On-Line" reservation system. We're trying this out, as part of the Muskoka Tourism initiative that sprang from the G8 funding.

What it means is that you'll be able to see our availability, and book by simply clicking buttons... Which is not at all to say that we'd not far rather have conversations with you about your vacations, either by phone or by email.

So, heads up, and watch this space. If Nancy can just figure the system out, it is scheduled to 'go live' in mid-February.

Until then, you can always reach us the 'old fashioned' way, by giving us a call, an email, a letter. In fact, you'll ALWAYS be able to contact us that way. We firmly believe that the personal touch makes the difference.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Close of the Day

The saying goes, "there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong wardrobe."
Our guests this weekend had all the right gear. They were outside, on the toboggan hill, skating rink, and ski trails. One of the great things about cross country skiing is that when you get into the bush, out of the reach of windchill, the winter day warms up considerably.
Years ago, when the original Muskoka Loppet ski race ran here, over 30 miles (yes miles, not km.) and was a qualifier trial for the Olympics, drawing international athletes, we manned the 20 km. Rest Stop. Which was a total misnomer. They didn't stop. Nor did they rest...
There we were, huddled in as many clothes as we could layer on when the mercury fell close to 30 below, tending our little bonfire, and hovering close to the warm drinks we had on hand for the athletes. All you could see of our dauntless (well, only slightly daunted) group of volunteers were our eyes, peering out between scarves and hats. Then the skiers came swooshing through - in spandex. I kid you not. We used to joke that they must just line up naked at the start and have their team colours spray painted onto them... The athletes were working so hard that the temperature didn't affect them... Mind you, they weren't dressed for hanging about, and the less accomplished skiers sometimes found themselves under-dressed for conditions.
Or, put another way, wearing the wrong wardrobe!
We prefer a more leisurely pace when we ski, with a more layered fashion look and time to admire the view.
And we are very keen on the coming home part, the bit where you get back to the cottage, and it's warm, welcoming, with the fire going, and a cup of tea waiting!

Keeping Warm Toes at 30 Below

Here's the question. When the mercury drops to 30 below, and you weigh only a few ounces and live outside, how do you keep from becoming a bird-sicle?

Nature is amazing. Take our tiny, cheerful chickadees, who stay with us through the winter, no matter what the weather throws their way.

To keep from freezing solid, they grow more feathers. These feathers get fluffed up, trapping warm air next to the body. They can shiver to generate heat. They look for places out of the wind, deep in the evergreens, for their night-time perching. With no sweat glands on their legs, their feet don't freeze -- but you might see them pull first one leg, then the other, up into their warm feathers if it's getting too cold. Or, like this little chap, they can huddle down on top of those chilly little chickadee toes.

Since they can't store enough fuel for long, at night, chickadees go into a state of torpor, a deep sleep with drastically lowered body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. The result is a controlled hypothermia that can save a bird up to 20% of its energy. In fact, their body temperature drops by 10 to 12 degrees Celsius below the daytime body temperature.

Food is obviously critical -- the act of burning calories is what keeps the fire in these tiny birds' furnaces. To that end, they come to our feeders, one of our most frequent and favourite visitors. Chickadees carry away seeds, too, into caches. Memory is excellent -- up to at least 28 days after hiding the seeds, the birds will go directly there, no hesitation. Chickadees need about 10 kcal of energy per day to survive, so if you are going to put out birdfeeders, it's a good thing to be sure they are kept stocked up.

Mind, it's not just in winter that food is important -- the chickadee depletes much of its energy by feeding nestlings from six to 14 times an hour during the breeding season. February and March are the courtship months for these birds,who gather together in flocks during the winter, but separate into pairs for the warmer months.

They are a joy and a delight to have around, with their fearless bright eyes, and cheery call, taking on the winter, whatever it brings.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hit the Trails!

Tim forwarded this report today on the Algonquin Snowmobile Club trail conditions. I'm posting it, not just for those folks who like to sled but because it's a great glimpse into the amount of work that has to happen for these trails to be kept in the excellent condition this area is famous for.

Bondi is a great base for a sled vacation -- you can park sleds right at the cottages, we've got lots of parking space for the big trailers, and we link directly to Club trails. Plus, there's lots of stuff to do here for anyone along for the ride who'd like a little change of pace. We put so much time and effort into our cross country ski trails, we know what it takes to keep trails in top condition, and we're really grateful and proud of the local Snowmobile Club for the great work they do. Thanks for the update Tim! Thanks for all the work, ASC! Ride On!!! (and don't forget the Great Chili Cook-Off coming up soon!)

"WOW, what a difference a week makes. The fresh snow we got on Tuesday sure helped our trail conditions. Below is the status of the trails.

Trail 73 Open
Trail 74 North and South Open
Trail 76 Open
Trail 77 East and West of Dwight to Tally Ho Open
Trail 78 Limited
Trail 79 Limited
Trail D101B from D to the Shelter Open
Trail 65 North from the Shelter to Troutspawn Lake will be Open after the pass tonight.

All of the wash out areas filled in great.

Bob and Simon staked Oxtongue Lake Monday and Mike Munger helped them stake Penn Lake on Wednesday from South Portage to Deerhurst. There was too much slush to stake to Tally Ho as there was no traffic going that way. Will try again next week.

Dan West at South Portage Marine will be staking the Lake of Bays soon from South Portage to Dwight beach.

Last night I groomed up 74 North to Oxbow Rd. and knocked down the snow banks on Limberlost and Billie Bear Roads to help save the carbides when the roads dry up with snow. Hope this makes that part of road running a bit better.

Taylor is out tonight grooming 73,76,65 to Troutspawn Rd. 76 and 74 South.

We are still awaiting Highland Rovers to make a pass on 78 & 79 with their smaller groomer before we go over it with the tractor. They are limited now but should be open after the weekend. That will be my next priority for early next week.

It looks like this will be the first real great sledding weekend in the area this year. Please enjoy and be safe.

Don't forget our Chilli Cook Off next Saturday at McCann Lake Camp on D101B between the Shelter and Oxtongue Lake.

For our new people on this list, here is the link to our Web Site with all the Club's info and Web Cam. "

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ancient Mariners and Rare Birds

The Ancient Mariners club was with us last week. We always enjoy their visits. They're a great bunch, and have (in the words of one of our neighbours who has just discovered cross country skiing) 'embraced winter.' Some skied, some snowshoed, some hiked, and some just hung out for the good company and the good food.
Ralph (that's him, bottom right!) was kind enough to send me these pictures.
Centrepieces were most appropriate, beautifully detailed right down to the bent tips on the skis.
The weather co-operated fully, providing sunny days and starry nights. We went out one evening to track down some of the winter constellations, slightly hampered by the brightness of the moon. Still, you really have to go some to wash out Orion, and from that dominant set of stars, it's easy to find Sirius, Aldebaran, the Pleiades, Gemini and more. Nothing can dim the light of Jupiter, hanging huge over the lake just now.
The Lodge works well for groups -- we have several who come year after year, and we usually have a few spaces for new comers. When the numbers get too big for that unit (which sleeps up to 18) we can add accommodation in adjacent cottages, while everyone can still gather together for their meals, card games, Scrabble and the like.
In addition to the deer hanging out on the lawn, there were a lot of tracks spotted on the trails, especially up through the Black Spruce Bog leading to Hawk and Hidden Lakes. When I asked what wildlife they'd spotted, though, it turns out that this great group was actually holding out on me, because when Ralph sent the pictures, he included one of the Bald Eagle.
He apologized for the exposure of the frame, because the bird was quite distant from them, and framed against snow and bright sky, but I'm including it anyway. Bald Eagles are still a rarity here. Algonquin Park reported two nest sites last season, but not many people are reporting seeing them.
So kudos to the Ancient Mariners, for finding, not an albatross, but a Bald Eagle! So much better, don't you think????
Thanks so much for the pictures Ralph!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wolf Moon Rising

There it is, hanging tangled in the leafless branches... the January moon waxing it's way to full.
The moon on snow produces so much light, it cast shadows, and a full moon on a clear night is bright enough to read by. The only downside is the moon is so bright it washes out the stars, making it too bright to really get a good look at Orion, Leo, Sirius, Taurus. Mind, one gets a spectacular look at Moon...

This is January's full moon that is almost full. The Moon after Yule, it is termed the Wolf Moon, taking its name from North American Native lore. This is the time of year hungry packs of wolves could be heard howling near the villages.

Which fact caught the attention of our visiting deer, who were hanging out at the stable hoping to score some chicken feed as the moon lifted overhead. That's 'Sweetie', in the front. Her last year's fawn behind her, -- Phylis, named because our neighbour watched her arrival -- and peeking in between is 'Iris', who takes her name from the iris garden where we found her hidden when she was just a few days old.

Everyone Can Play

Fun can be found anywhere.

Some of the smallest still are a touch wobbly on skates, and the game on the rink can get fast.
For the Baillie Family get-together, having everyone able to join in is important.

No problem. One of the advantages of our big parking areas is that cars can go over here, and road hockey can go over there... A few moments with the shovels to create the "boards" (for Brian to later remove with the plow when their usefulness is done) and they are in business.

Right outside the door of the big Lodge in fact. Everyone got into the act, and there are no Time Outs for cars passing through. Cross country skiers pausing to watch don't interrupt the flow at all!
The action was almost non-stop (well, there were a few moments to retrieve players from the snowbanks, and there was much cheering when the goalies went down for the save) Four generations were out there having fun together.
Then, for their annual Bondi photo, everyone grouped in front of the Lodge entrance... before heading in for a well earned lunch. This is their 31st year celebrating together with us.
We're honoured to provide the 'glue' that helps bind this family together with such wonderful times and memories! Here's to Next Year already!

Game Ready

The heap of outdoor 'gear' says it all. The Baillie Family arrived for their
traditional Bondi weekend... kids were on the toboggan hill before the cars were unpacked.
The rink got quite a workout, too!
Some of them even made it out onto the ski trails in between.
And at day's close? Everyone was gathered together for good fun and good fellowship, after a huge dose of outdoor air! It's a great recipe.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weather Lore

This is a sun-dog. It usually indicates a change coming in the weather.

Now, there's a news flash --changeable weather! We've been enjoying a lot of sunshine up here, while the rest of the country seems to be enjoying a lot of snowfall.

That has provided us with brilliant skating, and good skiing. Excellent downhill conditions are on offer at Hidden Valley. And the toboggan hill? WHEEEEE!

The Baillie family has arrived for their traditional "Bondi New Year" -- this is Year Thirty One. Hitting that toboggan hill is usually the first order of business. Rapidly followed by hitting the skating rink.

Some more snow would make the toboggan and ski runs that much better. The Ancient Mariners were with us all week, and they gave the ski trails and snowshoe trails quite a workout. Reports were excellent, smiles were abundant, but we do have a couple of trails (up through the spruce bog to Hawk Lake) that could use more snow for the groomer. And we can always clear the rink -- Brian iced it yesterday, so the surface is fantastic. So all in all, if the sun-dog is bringing us a change in our cold but very sunny weather, well, surprise! We can handle it!

Meanwhile, it makes for an interesting and lovely sunset.

Fish Fear Them

The stove has been installed in the WallEye Fishing Consortium's new fish hut. Installed, and tested.
Trailing a cheery plume of smoke, it rapidly brought the temperature up to a toasty level, even getting approval from Napster. Of course, that was before the lads opened the fish 'portal' and dropped him out of the hut. Insulted, he walked back to the house, tail in the air. His position is that he'll wait in the house, and they can bring him the fish after it's been neatly filleted and fried.
The Bondi MaintenanceDept. is pretty proud of their creation, and with good reason. It will be towed onto the bay later this week (where there is actually a chance of catching a fish -- unlike in the driveway!)
We'll keep you posted.

Think Snow... Help Stamp Out Summer

Tim Drouin sent us the following update on the condition of the Snowmobile Trails up here in the Algonquin Snowmobile Club Domain. It's interesting, not just because it gives the status of the trails, but because it offers an insight into just how much work the Club Members do -- as volunteers for the most part -- to get and keep these trails in the beautiful condition most snowmobilers enjoy when they are here!

"We had an early start but the heavy wet snow pulled down miles of trees on the trails. These were trees that bent over from 10' to15' from the trail and froze to the trail. We had to get 3 excavators to go in to push back the brush on trail 76 and D101B. We also had a huge wash out on the Oxtongue River Rapids Rd. that required and excavator to repair. A huge thank you to Dan Boothby Enterprises, Fred Boothby Construction, Ben Anthony from Berkendale Natural Stone and Scott Hayden for their time and equipment.

Also on D101B just north of the Shelter we had a Beaver build a dam under the bridge. The bridge had to be dismantled to remove it and a new bridge built to replace it.

Since mid December we have been packing and opening trails and are in pretty good shape now. There are a few washout areas that need a bit more snow to fill in then we can change the status of the trails from "limited" to "open".

Trails 77 West from Dwight to Hillside, 78 and 79 are not open yet. Trail 77 has been packed but still needs more snow to make it worthy to open "limited". Trail 78 has been packed from Rebecca's Creek bridge north to D101B. South of Rebecca's Creek we need the swamp to freeze up before the tractor can go over it. We have packed the area with sleds and Highland Rovers will make the first pass with their lighter BR-180 groomer soon. They will also pack the swamp on trail 79 at the same time.

Trail D102B at the Deerhurst airstrip also has a Beaver dam issue. We are working with Highland Rovers to get through it.

We have switched the packer pan for the large drag on the tractor, and have been "grooming" for the last week.

Keep an eye on the MSR trail update site for up to date conditions for all of the MSR trails.

If you are out on the trails keep an eye out for the odd rough spot till we get more snow. There are also a few face slappers and could be the odd rock that got pulled up by the drag. Please stop and pick up anything you see and bend that slapper out of the way. Thanks in advance.

I will send out an update a few times a week to all of our supporting businesses, Volunteers and Club Members. If you don't want to receive these updates please let me know and I will remove you from the list. If you know of anyone else that would like this to be sent to just let me know and I will add them to the list.

Lets all do the snow dance and hope that the rain we had at New Year's was our "January Thaw".

Hope to see you at the Club Breakfast this Saturday morning at Spring Lake Resort.

Think SNOW ****** "

Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't Believe Everything You're Told

Brian was cheerfully assured that snow would slide off the big solar panels.

No problem, the vendors said. The pitch is plenty steep for that, the snow will just remove itself.

And we've got some swampland we're interested in selling. Oh, it does slide. Eventually. Thing is, while waiting, the panels are not making hydro. You cannot watch that funky dial spin backwards (always entertaining)

Undaunted, Brian whisked into the BMD Top Secret R&D Labs, and came sweeping out with a broom. Not just any broom. If Harry Potter picked this one to play Quidditch, the entire team could fit comfortably on board, along with a few cheering fans.
A few moments with this beauty, and the solar panels are good to go. Even before the sun is high enough to really drive their fires!
Three cheers for the BMD (Bondi Maintenance Dept.) and a timely reminder not to believe everything you're told by folks who want to sell stuff. Just saying...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Here we go again!

Dave headed back to Georgian College today for his final semester.
Brian and Carol tagged along -- and not just because it took two cars to carry all his stuff, but because it made a nice outing, a chance to check out his accommodation, get a lunch out, meander through a store.
The place is always quieter when Dave's not here, but we have weekends to look forward to. He's keen to get the new fish-hut finished and deployed, and has lots of plans to ski, so we might just get to see him in the distance from time to time...

Walkin' the Dogs

The second Sunday of each month this winter, the Muskoka Agility Dogs come to play in our indoor arena.
It's fun watching the different breeds -- all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities -- ripping about learning to work the equipment. Hogan was a bit perturbed when the snow came off the roof -- it sounds like an enormous zipper, and can be unsettling for the uninitiated. The horses all get used to it very quickly and barely twitch an ear, but Hogan took a little comforting and a handful of treats before he began to relax. He still put in very good 'runs.' The other dogs seemed to take the noise in stride, just one more distraction in a working dog's life!

Bijou, who is very fast through the obstacles, scooped up the Best Dressed Award.

But the biggest thumbs up today had to go to Roscoe and Piper, and their "person" Lowell. In between taking their turns working over the teeter-totter, weave poles, jumps, tunnels, etc., the dogs burned off some extra energy ski-joring with Lowell.

This is an old sport that is starting to make a come-back. To play, you need an energetic dog (or two), sled-dog harness, and harness for the handler -- dogs and people are connected by a line. A set of cross country skiis and poles rounds it out, and away you go!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Our good friend Gord, from Beauview, dropped by this week. His stated reason was to say Hello, and Happy New Year, but we think his real intention was to get some photos of our deer... At which task he succeeded very well.
This is Iris. You last saw her on the Blog when she was a newborn hiding in the iris garden by the gate.
Thanks for the visit Gord, and thanks for sending along these pictures, of our littlest deer 'working the camera'.

Gloria's Glorious Winter

Gloria lives along Hwy 117, towards Baysville. She always seems to have her camera handy when she's out and about, and she's very good indeed about sharing her images with us.
She sent these along last week, a reminder of just how lovely early winter is. These were obviously taken before the main lake froze -- now our Bondi Bay is sheltered, shallow, and always freezes solid long before the huge open stretch of Lake of Bays near Gloria. That's one of the reasons it's critical for snowmobilers to always check local conditions -- there could easily be 5 inches of ice on our bay, and just half an inch down by Bigwin Island, so always be safe rather than sorry!
Also, always carry a camera. And take those few precious moments to stop and actually look at the world around you. The sheer beauty of the place will take your breath away.
Thanks for sharing, Gloria!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Most Beautiful Sled!

This beautifully crafted sled was found among the Christmas presents in Wheelhouse cottage last week. It was made in Wisconsin, and it could fly!

Steve and Laura demonstrated it's wondrous capabilities, and Erin was kind enough to send us the photos, taken on our toboggan hill.

does have enough snow on it that it would be even faster now!

Erin writes: "Thanks again for the amazing vacation!"

It was a joy to have you here -- and thanks to you for sharing the photos!

Rinky Dink! It's A-Maze-ing!

The weather turned cold, and the snow is returning, but not before creating the most incredible skating rink. We succumbed to the siren call of being able to go anywhere on the bay, gliding and sliding.

Safety on ice is always paramount, so
Dave and Megan scooped up the ice auger and headed out across the bay, to check out how much ice we had. (Lots -- it's safe for them to bring forth the Wall-Eye Fish Consortium Hut, Mark I, that they have been designing over the holiday... so stand by)

The ice surface, under that tiny skiff of snow, is superb. Who could resist coming out to play?

Not Brian, who showed up to 'play', demonstrating his ability to spin and slide...

Not David, who couldn't resist grabbing the back of the sled for a little boost across the bay.

We cleared off the rink -- which saw a lot of action this evening under the lights from some of our neighbours. But we couldn't stop there. Dave and Meg cleared a Pie, where they could chase each other in a great game of "Fox and Goose".

Nancy created a spiral maze. When Justine was visiting today with her Mom, that was her favourite.

Nor could Brian resist the conditions that produced such a solid base on the ski trails, with just enough snow to take his sled anywhere. He took it to the top of the Lookout -- which is usually impossible in deep snow.

That's the thing -- there is always something wonderful to do outside up here come winter. You just have to be ready to roll with it (or slide with it?)