With a bright cold start in the forecast for Thursday, followed by a warm up, another ski day is a must. Friday onwards is not looking very good, so we better take advantage of this. Markus and I headed up to Rosseau to explore the area of the Cardwell Forest. Browsing the area on satellite images showed great potential for some scenic routes. We hoped snow conditions would cooperate, however if not, we also brought our hiking boots. As we drove along highway 141, west from highway 11 we couldn’t help notice the copious amounts of snow, definately more than in the Gravenhurst area. Unfortunately the lack of any fresh snow meant we would be skiing on solid hardpack.
We headed east along the Aspdin Road from Rosseau, turning north onto Hekkla Road, and then Bear Cave Road, driving north a short distance. We came across a reasonable spot to pull over and park. We were beside a wetland that appeared to run into the system of ponds we hoped to follow. WE were skiing shortly after 9AM setting off down annarrow swamp. Unfortunately the swamp soon became infested with alders, creating a real obstacle for almost 20 minutes. We would have been better to walk back on the road a bit, then head out. We eventually got into clearer terrain and were able to now speed ahead, and into the new area to explore. A few steep, and very high ridges were now in front of us. The icy conditions were bad enough that I took off my skis and walked up the hill. Markus was determined to ski over the ridge, but eventually was forced to walk as well as the descent down the other side was steeper, and bare in many places.
Once in the long system heading towards Berry Lake skiing became much easier and we made great time skiing northwards into the lake. Having a shorter day today we had to watch the time more carefully than usual. We were up into Berry Lake in about an hour. That was a good indication on just what kind of route we could accomplish today as we needed to be back in Gravenhurst mid afternoon. The temperature was warming up as well which meant we might experience less slick conditions. I was skiing on the older Karhu waxable skis, and was slipping about terribly. My arms were doing most of the work so far.
Overall we had a great ski day in a very scenic area, following the ponds and marshes as much as possible. The less hills the better! A south facing rocky area on the north shore of a pond became our lunch spot, providing us with a nice warm spot to relax. From here we continued to follow the various pond systems eventually looping back to the car. Regarding wildlife, not much around. There were numerous signs of moose in the area, but no sightings of the animals. The icy conditions were very noisy to ski thrrough so we were not expecting to spot much anyway.
A great ski day, in new are with much more to explore. If we can avoid too much inclement weather over the next few days, maybe there will be some more opportunities to get back out here before winter finally leaves us.
A link to some pictures, and a map of the route