Monday, April 4, 2016


Skiing Sun Peaks with friend Ian Logan
The day after we left for our western ski trip to BC it snowed over a foot at Foxwood. That was on March 2 and so it became obvious that March would be coming in like a lion. Here we are, just into the month of April and we are back into cold temperatures. Last night it went all the way down to -15C, and it's going to happen again tonight. By the end of this week the weather forecasters say we could have as much as 30 cm of new snow. Looks like April is in like a lion too!
Ragged Falls in flood
There are a few good things to the colder weather and one of them is to slow down the snow melt. The region has had a huge amount of rain over the last few days and there is flooding happening in many areas. The rivers and creeks have been running full tilt. We took a drive around yesterday to see what was going on. It was quite awe inspiring to see the power behind all that water rushing down.
Foxwood dock under 4" of water
Lake of Bays has risen well over foot in only the last few days. Our dock is currently about 4" underwater. Fortunately, the lake ice is still in so we don't have to worry about the wave action combining with the high water to erode the shoreline or damage our the dock. With a few more dry or cold days we should see the lake levels drop to safer levels.
It looks like relief from the colder temperatures is coming next week and then it's into spring clean up to get the grounds raked up and summer cottages opened.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Winter has finally reached us. After spending about a month bumping along, teasing us with some cold and some snow, then pulling it back with rain and heat, it now looks like it's here to stay.
Snow covered trees on the Foxwood snowshoe trails
The lake had its official lake ice in day in front of Foxwood on January 14. The snowmobile trails have struggled with getting the wet spots frozen but now it looks like enough snow has accumulated to fill the low areas and smooth things out. It was only in the last day or two that we saw the first sleds going across the ice down Haystack Bay. It was about that time when I was asked about how much ice is needed to drive a snowmobile over the lake. The answer is simple. None. Most sleds these days have enough power to skim over water easily without sinking, but just don't let them get bogged down or come to a stop. The ice is getting thicker by the day, however it's best to check with local clubs to get a read on where it is OK to go.
Julia making friends with a grey jay
Yesterday we took along our camera for our daily snowshoe around the property. There was a dusting of snow blanketing every branch and it was stunning. The birds were everywhere, just flitting about looking for food. A few years ago we captured a pic of Julia feeding a grey jay. Unfortunately, we missed getting another pic like the last one.
If you are thinking about getting your winter engine going now is the time. The ski areas are open, cross country skiing tracksets are in, the ice skate trails are open and sledding has begun.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


The Lady Bea
Earlier in November we headed down to the British Virgin Islands for an amazing sailing holiday.
The whole adventure began last winter when Julia asked what I wanted for my upcoming 60th birthday. Last year we skied Tuckerman’s Ravine in New Hampshire for my birthday and we were most fortunate in being able to get all our kids together with us. Hiking up the super steep slopes of the Ravine and seeing them enjoy what I used to do in my younger years was a dream come true. Doing a sailing holiday was another dream that I had. Since I was on a roll, I thought why not give a try?
We threw the idea out to friends to join us. With Jim and Joan Gordon from Kamloops and Ian and Beth Haysom from Victoria we had a perfect mix of sailing experience, stories and conversation, and adventures.
The boat we selected was a 40 foot catamaran named Lady Bea based out of the capital, Road Town. From Road Town we circumnavigated the island of Tortola and then a week later were back in Road Town. Along the way we would stopped each night at one of the many beautiful islands that dotted our route.
Last dinner together at Cooper Island

The boat performed really well for us. There was a comfortable amount of room for everyone to move around, she was stable and managed even the stronger winds without problem. There was one little “blow” and with the wind at our backs and sizable surfing waves we got her up to just under 11 knots. That was quite good considering 7 or 8 knots is footing along quite well.
The British Virgin Islands is widely regarded as a perfect destination for those taking their first sailing trip. Sailing from one destination to the other is fairly easy, the mooring spots are well laid out. Our cat had two engines and screws (props) which made it easy to manoeuvre and since it was “low season” it never felt crowded.
In the end, I think that we both got a bit of the boat bug.  There we were on our last day in BVI looking at 42' er's in a marina wondering what it might feel like if we actually owned one! That’s another dream for another time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Don't ask, but it has been way too long since our last post. Lots of excuses as to why it hasn't happen for so long, unfortunately none of them are very good. In any event, writing later is better than never.
Our winter has been cold this year which is nice 'cause that's what winter should be like. You know, snowy, white, rosy cheeks, hot chocolate and the best stars that you'll see anywhere without using a telescope.In fact, it was only a few nights ago that we saw a sliver of a moon right next to the bright light of Venus, with two framing in the red planet of Mars....and you could really see the red!
It's been colder.....but not by much!
We have been hearing from our friends living on the west coast in British Columbia that winter just hasn't happened. My old haunt at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver is brown; no snow, no skiing, no winter, no way! While it has been warm and balmy on the west coast, just a short time ago it was -37C here. We have had lots of snow, not quite as much as the Maritimes, but plenty to keep the trails (skiing, sledding, sliding and shoe-ing) in great shape. I wish my back could agree the same way.
Lately, I have been involved in a number of discussion groups, committees and workshops that have been trying to focus on what Muskoka is all about and how we can attract more people to come and visit. There are so many ways to look at this great part of Ontario and sometimes words simply aren't enough. The amazing fall colours, the hikes and parks, the beautiful clean lakes, the history... this place is iconic. It is so rare to find spots like these, so close to "civilization", amazingly safe and untouched and all with a hint of "wild" just about everywhere you go. The brand of Muskoka, and in particular where we are at Foxwood in North Muskoka, is so much about what is real, simple and pure. It is about the surroundings - the air, the water, the fire and earth.
Families have been coming to Muskoka for generations and for many of those who call it home, it is hard to fathom the thought of anybody wanting to change it. But change has happened and it will continue. The cottages are slowly getting bigger, the lakes are slowly getting busier, the noises are slowly getting louder and the people are quickly expecting Muskoka to have all of the luxuries of the big city. I wish I could convince those living in the big cities that coming to Muskoka as a way to "escape the stress of the city" on the busiest weekends of the year, when everybody else is here, is not the way to do it. And the "make or break" decisions should not be based on how many TV's we have (or even if we have them) or how fast our internet speed is.  
For us at Foxwood we realize how important it is to have Lake of Bays, a quiet location at the end of road, simple clean cottages with screen doors that slam shut in the wind, a measly WiFi service that can't handle downloading movies or large files and no TV in 90% of our cottages. What we do have is an atmosphere that allows guest to let their guard down and still feel safe, to relax, to enjoy the sounds of children (adults too) laughing and playing with others, to sit under tree and hear the waves lapping up on shore, and being able to read a book without being interrupted for hours! Can you imagine enjoying a lake that is so clean you could drink the water out of it... but don't, because the fish and birds do their doo-doo in it.
Some who call us about staying at Foxwood think we are a long, long ways away from Toronto. Those who finally come and stay with us at Foxwood feel that they could be a million miles away! Yes, we are at the end of the road, just the way we like, just the way all of our guests like it. 
We did a fun movie about what living in North Muskoka and what running Foxwood means to us.Click here to view it. Most of the shots were taken at Foxwood, the others are from the nearby surroundings. The first minute of it moves slowly however we hope that you enjoy it

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Our trip to Nepal was nothing short of amazing. Unlike a trip to the beaches of the Caribbean or a trip to Disneyland, this trip had everything in it and it had a profound effect on how we see things. At times it was emotionally wrenching, other times it was awe inspiring, but all of the time it was truly an education. 
Here is a country that for the most part has stayed still for generations, but on other levels it has seen great change. It was less than 10 years ago that Nepal was going though internal strife that resulted in the execution of its monarchy, thousands of civilian deaths and the displacement of just as many children into the hands of strangers or left abandoned to fend for themselves.
The city of Kathmandu comes alive before it gets light and goes to sleep hours after dark. Every aspect of day to day life happens on the streets and alleyways. There are two traffic lights in the entire city. Crossing the street is a balancing act that would challenge the Great Wallenda. The markets are alive with colour and activity and the congestion of people is claustrophobic. Everyone is trying to sell something and we found great fun great in negotiating a good deal but at the same time being respectful of the fact that making a living means earning enough to buy food and have shelter.
Nepal is a spiritual garden that is being constantly cared for buy its people. It seems to be one thing that holds them together and for many, makes getting from one day to the next meaningful. There is a festival  for everything and there seems to be one happening all of the time. 
We met Beverley Bronson the first day in Nepal. She is a New Yorker who came to Nepal in the mid 90's and in 2001 started Ghar Sita Mutu - House With A Heart - a children's orphanage which provides a loving atmosphere for about 20 children. The story of Nepal's orphaned children is one that tears at your emotions. Read Little Princes to get an idea of what is going on for the children in Nepal
Our trip brought us to the southern edges of Nepal, into the jungle where we rode elephants and saw rhinos, wild boars and alligators. We travelled north by plane to the edge the Mustang region, where the countryside is like a moonscape, barren, dry, covered in rocks and boulders, but oh, so full of things to see. A few hours up a river valley from Kegbeni we came to the small village of Tiri. We were invited into a farmers mud hut - no light, no heat,cramped - and we were offered coffee and masala tea. Their generosity was overwhelming. Their life is not easy, they don't dream of big plans, nothing had changed in that family for probably generations and generations. 
Who would go to Nepal and not see Mt Everest? Certainly not us! We took that trip of a lifetime and got into the sight seeing plane to see where history was made 60 or 70 years ago. The plane we were in couldn't even go up half the almost 30,000 ft that Mt Everest soars to. 
We could go on and on, however to give you a feel for what we saw and experienced we put together a short slide show. Click here to see it and enjoy.


Although a bit later this year, the ice finally made its' exit on April 30. Normally we see it go somewhere around April 19, 20 or 21; last year was exceptional when it left around March 23. 
We headed off to Nepal at the end of March and thought that surely by the time we returned all of the snow would be gone. Much to our amazement there was lots left. Even as we landed in Toronto on April 16 the pilot announced that it was -7C. We learned that two days before we got back that there was a 10 -15cm snowfall at Foxwood. It was less that a week ago that the night temperatures were still dipping below freezing... our chickens didn't like that .
It now looks like we have turned the corner and spring is upon us. Julia made her annual spring dip on April 29 with ice still abound on the lake. The water temperature was very nice 44F/7C. And the next day the ice was gone so the timing was brilliant. Rumour has it that Julia raised the lake temperature and thus was the reason for the rapid disappearance of lake ice...aah, the wonders of a woman's hot body! 

Monday, March 17, 2014


Yesterday Julia and friends went out cross country skiing. Despite the fact that in the morning it was in the -20C's the day was beautiful. Clear skies, a skiff of fresh, dry snow and peaceful. The icy wind put a bit of a bite on the cheeks but other than that one could not have imagined a better day to be outdoors.
But it did get better, much, much better! Where the group were skiing was on Art's Pond, next to Goose Lake which is on the north side of Highway 35 between Dwight and Dorset and maybe 10 or 15 kilometers from Foxwood. There they were, four wolves. Apart from noticing the group of skiers the wolves were relatively relaxed.
The alpha wolf stood his ground and watched over things while the other three trotted off into the woods. 
As the group skied up to where the wolves stood earlier there were the tracks left behind. Their paw prints were massive compared to those of Annie our Border Terrier and even to paws of the Black lab that was with skiers.
Every now and then we hear the wolves howl at Foxwood. It is so neat to be able to see them. They're shy and try to stay away from humans. So being able to catch a glimpse, particularly in the middle of the day, was such a treat.
If you are interested in learning more about wolves try visiting