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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

On a Clear Day you can See the Future

Congratulations to Corey and Chelsea, who snowshoed up to the Mountain Lookout today and from there could see their future.

She said "YES."

We wish them all the happiness in their new life together!

(Thank you Kelly Hollinshead for the photograph of the occasion.)

Changing Weather

 We have had interesting weather patterns through January.

What we have NOT had is the bitter, biting cold that drops to some 30 below and just sits there.  So that has been a big plus for our guests.

Every group that has been here has had lots of time out on the ski trails -- sometimes through snowy conditions,  sometimes through sunny condition, some days warmer than others.

Here's a small collection of photos taken in the last ten days to show you how fast conditions can change, and how much fun we can have with ALL of them!

Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly Flow the Days

 The sun has been playing with us as January fades into February.

Tim Drouin, trail boss for the Algonquin Snowmobile Club, captured this striking image of the sunrise near Dorset on January 22nd.

And then, on January 28, Kelly Stronks caught a similar phenomenon on Dwight Bay.

There is no doubt a name for this, we don't know.

But we do know it is striking, and lovely, and well worth admiring.

Woodsmen All

 This is the time of year when the BMD (Bondi Maintenance Dept.) heads into the managed forest woodlot to start cutting trees.

These trees are the ones that need to be removed for the overall health of the forest -- sadly, in this instance, a lot of beech that are succumbing to the beech blight.

That wood warms you so many times. First when it is cut, then when it is split, then when it is piled, and finally, at long last, when it is burned in the fireplace.

Rank has its privileges. Brian has seniority -- so he
got the tractor. Dave got the chainsaw.
While David and Brian will be toasty warm throughout the entire process, our guests get the luxury of cutting to the chase, and going right to the part about snuggling up next to a fireplace on a cold wintery evening!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Trails Open? Check. Double Check.

 It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to keep our 20 k of ski and snowshoe trails in tip-top condition.

All praise goes to Brian and David for the work that never seems to stop.

From walking the trails with a chainsaw to remove fallen branches, to packing in the snow so the base can freeze, through the packing, grooming and setting track in the fresh snow -- each day's grooming takes around four hours.

Right now, we are enjoying having some of the best trails in the region open, groomed, track set.  Our guests are certainly having a wonderful time out there!

Stars from Different Eyes

There was an excellent video on the CBC recently about the Constellations and Stars as seen and described by the First Nations.  For those who have been out on the lawns with Nancy, they will find it interesting!   Hopefully this link will get you there!

Cree Stars

Snow Buntings! Welcome Back

These beautiful birds live in the high Arctic, but come winter they trek south. Far south. All the way to here...

Ground feeders, they don't frequent the bird feeders that are jammed with chickadees and jays, but they are very happy to join the mourning doves at the seed spread on the ground for them.

It is almost impossible to catch them in flight, their white wings against the snow, but these were happy to pause for me on the ground!

These are the original Snow Birds, and we are always delighted to have them here with us!

Bear Facts and Winter Dreaming

Will snow accumulate on a black bear's back?    We often think of hibernating bears as being tucked away inside some cozy cave, with wifi, popcorn and a stack of movies to get them through the winter months, but in actual fact they will frequently den up in the most (to us) open and exposed of locations.  This photo shows a three year old female black bear in an open den.  These are often created by a windfall bringing down a tree and leaving a hole where the roots were. Sometimes they can be a tangle of logs, or an overhanging boulder, anything, really, that will provide some protection from the wind.

And yes, snow accumulates on black bears at ambient temperatures below approximately 19 degrees F.

The temperature when this photo was taken was 9 degrees F, (-13 C).  The last time it snowed was six days earlier.  Her head is to the right, tucked under her chin. That is so she can breathe warm air onto her cubs that were born in mid-January.  That's right -- right now is when the black bear cubs are making their first appearance on the Stage of Life.   They will stay curled up in the warm fur of their mom, protected from the elements, and all snuggly. Mom wakes up to clean and cuddle, then drifts back into her winter sleep while the cubs burrow under her fur to find the milk-bar.

Black bears have two kinds of fur on their backs -- visible guard hairs about three inches long and, in winter, a hidden layer of fine underfur so dense that water can scarcely penetrate it.  This underfur is so insulative that bears in the open become covered with snow when ambient temperatures are colder than about 18 F (-8C).  The exact temperature at which snow accumulates varies with individuals. These coats not only keep the cold and wet away from the bear, but keep the bear's body temperature in. Under the snow, under the thick coat, they are warm and dry.

Some bears have longer, denser fur than others  Body temperature also varies with individuals -- during hibernation, fat bears usually maintain a body temperature between 95 and 99 F, while skinny bears can reduce body temperatures to as low as 88 to ration fat reserves.

When out in the woods in winter, whenever I find one of these blow-downs or a big tangle of tree trunks, I am always on the lookout in case there is a bear in there.  If they are covered with snow, that lovely white mound will contain a small breathing hole.  And if you think you might have found one, keep away.  Bears can (and do) wake up quite swiftly from hibernation if they need to, and they aren't happy about it.

Thank you Mike McIntosh, from Bear With Us Sanctuary, for the bear facts!!!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Year to Year, in any Weather, It's All good

 The Baillie family have come to 'get their Bondi on' for 36 years with us, the weekend after New Years.

Friday the weather was fabulous, and the kids got in some great toboggan action on our hill.

But could you believe that this winter chose to rain that weekend!

This family knows how to have good times, despite the weather.  The Annual Street Hockey Game was as busy as ever, although this year it was a bit of a Slush Bowl...

On the one hand, they didn't have to clean off snow before they could play!

This is the least snow they've had when they've visited us...

so we thought we'd trek down Memory Lane...

The Hockey Game, Bondi, 2015! We had snow!!!! Lots of it!

 How many can you fit on a toboggan? This was in 2014.

And in 2013, the Snow Fort to end all snow forts was under construction.

Part of the joy is watching the kids grow!

Taking the Measure of the Ice

 Friday Dave went to check out the ice.   Those things he's holding? Those are connected spikes that can help get someone out of trouble if they fall through the ice. The spikes dangle like a scarf around your neck, and grabbed one in each hand can give purchase onto the slippery surface and help someone pull their way clear.  It is highly recommended that you never get into a situation where you might need to use them.

Where Dave is standing, on ice that is only about two days frozen, if he did fall through, it would only be knee deep. Still, plenty cold enough.

Safety first, on frozen lakes, always.  So Dave took along his trusty axe and checked the ice depth.  He went out about forty feet from the shore, chipping and chopping, until he came to ice that was less than two and a half inches.  Then he came back in, and used that narrow band by the shoreline to enjoy a little skate time.

and a little sunset time

icy teeth forming under the Main dock, where the mink was hanging out before he made his break for Beaver's dock

fancy footwork...

Hover Mink

David managed to snap this photo with his phone, when the mink decided it was time to high-tail it from the Main Dock to Beaver's dock across the ice.  With good luck and good timing, he caught the mink in mid-air. And promptly named him "Hover Mink".

Well... this photo, on the Bondi Village Resort Facebook page has gone viral... (as they say) with 14,869 people viewing the image.

Say what????

For those who think the mink truly is hovering with jet propulsion, we do have evidence that he touched down...

Snow and Sunsets

Brian sent along these photos he took just after New Years, culminating in some of the most spectacular sunset shots we've seen.

We are blessed to get sunsets like this here.

Enjoy !

We couldn't pick a favourite...