Sunday, February 12, 2017

Muskoka - Bala, Port Carling to Bracebridge

No snow in the air and temperature sitting around +2, another great day to head up to Muskoka.  I love travelling in circles or squares, so what better way to visit 3 of my favourite towns than go up Hwy 11 to the 400, over 38 to Bala, up the 169 and 118 to Port Carling and then over to Bracebridge, before heading back home.

There are lovely views of Georgian Bay when you go up the 400 side, a nice change from all the gas stations and stores on Hwy 11.  Today we decided to try and get a picture of it.  Big mistake, we headed down to Honey Harbour, road was bumpy and slippy and at the bottom, everything was closed.  Living in the city you don't realize that there aren't plowed sidewalks, so walking was very difficult and we couldn't even get close to the bay.  Oh well, we are not in any hurry, just tooting about.

Next stop Bala, everything looks so different in the winter.  Lots of snowmobilers whipping around, on the trails, on the lakes and on the roads.  Thankfully they are noisy so you can hear them when you are walking.  The bridges in Bala are under repair, so down to one lane and a muddy mess, but still worth the walk to see the falls.

2 little community churches in town, both very charming and beautiful in the snow.  I love the way the snow has collected on top of the bell.

I really wasn't expecting to see the amount of run off at the falls as there was.  The Muskoka Lakes are regulated on how high and low the water can go, so usually in October they start letting the water out of the 3 lakes, so the boathouses and docks won't get flooded in the spring thaw.  Looks like this will be going strong until June.

On one side of the dam is a raging river and on the other side, so peaceful you can see the cottages reflected in the water.

You can just see where the ice has frozen on Lake Muskoka.  You have to be very careful snowmobiling on the lake, with the parts that aren't frozen and all the bubblers people have on to keep their boathouses ice free, the ice isn't as stable as it was in previous years.
This little church is looking like it is closed for the winter.

This is the actual waterfalls, between the construction and the height of the snow, I couldn't get a picture of them.  Next time.

This beautiful cottage is on the Moon River side of Bala, the water is still rushing in here.  So many of these docks and cottages get ruined/flooded during the spring thaw.  From here the water flows all the way out to the Moon River.  The summer sunsets are amazing in June and July, the sun sets right at the end of the Moon River or as far as my eye can see :)

These little trees grow in any crevice they can find and amazingly they seem to be able to handle anything mother nature can throw at them other than humans.

Next stop Port Carling with a little stop on the way at Henshaw Road.

Winter is a wee bit quieter in Port Carling but surprisingly there were still a few shops and restaurants open and lots of cars going about.

In the summertime this lock is full of boaters and if you are lucky enough with your timing you can see the Segwun go through.  It pretty well fills up the whole lock.

This lock is for overflow from the big lock or if you don't make it back from your boat trip before the big lock closes.  You actually have to work the lock manually.

Had to stop down by Touchstone to see our friends boathouse.  Looks beautiful with all the snow beside its red siding.  Lots of fond memories sitting on that deck with a few less clothes on and a wee drink in our hands.

Heading over to Bracebridge, Jim is driving and I am glancing around and spot a beautiful red covered bridge.  I dragged Jim around New Brunswick looking for my favourite red covered bridge down there this summer and lo and behold here is a beauty just sitting in a residential area on the outskirts of Bracebridge.  Yes we had to stop and take pictures from every angle.

Our day has gone from grey, almost foggy, to a wee bit of sun and blue skies to now some angry looking black clouds.  Thinking our plans for dinner will now mean heading back home.  I love the way the sun is hitting the old clock tower with the black clouds behind it.
Just like me, waiting for spring.  
The old bridge heading into town over the falls.  

I had hoped to stay and get pictures of it at night as they have great spot lights on it, but with the sky so dark it will have to wait for another day.
Looking down the Muskoka River.  Turn around and you are looking at the falls through the road bridge and the old railroad bridge.

The old mill, love the way the water flows around it.  

This is a lovely little coffee house, jammed inside, waiting for spring outside.  

When we headed into Bracebridge, we could hear the haunting notes of a piper.  The tune just kept following us around as we wandered about.  On the way back to the car we finally ran into him.  Our timing was perfect and the music in the background just made for an end to a wonderful day.  Well actually not quite the end, the perfect ending was stopping at the Ground Burger Bar for a veggie burger and glass of wine before heading home to watch the Leafs.  :)

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