Stand Up Paddle Board’s Do’s and Don’ts
We have recently added another fun thing to do at our inclusive vacation rental—stand up paddleboarding (SUP)! Flat water paddling is a fun, simple, and therapeutic way to refocus while getting some exercise, too. You’re not too likely to encounter much wind and waves on the private Aikman lake so that means perfect conditions for Muskoka SUP beginners. If this is your first time participating in this cottage activity here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Stand Up Paddleboarding at the Lakehouse:
- Before getting into the water DO put on a life jacket.
- DON’T drag the paddle board on the sand or decks—the board and paddle must be treated with extreme care.
- DO put on the leash before getting in the water.
- DON’T get onto the board from the dock—wade into the water from the shore until you’re knee deep.
- DO pay attention to the fin—don’t let it touch the sand when wading into the water and be sure it’s beneath the back of the board before getting on.
- DON’T stand up on the paddle board right away—sit up on your knees and get a feel for the board and how the paddling works if it’s your first time.
- Once you’re ready to stand up, DO position yourself properly–your feet should be shoulder width apart and angled about 15 degrees out from parallel; your body weight should be directly over your toes. Watch this video for a complete demonstration.
- DON’T look down at your feet—keep your eyes on the lovely lake line ahead to help keep balance.
- DON’T bend your arms or use your arms to paddle, use your core instead—Arms should serve as levers with strength applied from the larger muscle group of your midsection; stand up straight with arms straight and only slight bent in the top section
- If you do lose your balance DO fall away from the board so as to avoid injury.
The lakehouse had a British visitor this summer—Julie from London, England—who had never experienced cottages in Canada. Muskoka cottage life and Ontario outdoor adventures were completely new to her. And all she could talk about was the amazing wildlife–especially by Canada’s national mascot, the beaver.
One evening she pushed her personal limits and decided to try kayaking for the first time. Here is a first-hand account of this lifetime city dweller’s experience with cottages in Ontario and a sunset kayak across a “mirror-like” lake:
I couldn’t believe it when Lori proposed we go over and investigate the beaver lodge in kayaks! Me in a kayak! No way! I was terrified, especially knowing my poor track record on any form of transport requiring balance: skis, skates and I did not get on! However, I was soon persuaded and gingerly stepped off the deck and into the kayak. Armed with paddle in front, we set off across the cool glassy waters just as dusk set.
The lake was magical, quiet and soothing – a tonic for the soul. We made our way across and circled the beaver lodge at the far end but Mr Beaver clearly had his feet up inside with his pipe and slippers and was not going out! The kayaking was amazing. What can I say?! Even I was managing to kayak – something I never thought I would have the courage to do and it felt great… a real achievement.
As the light faded, all I could hear was the sound of my paddle moving through the smooth water. A feeling of immense peace came into my heart. So this is what a Canadian cottage vacations are about! Yes, I get it! Definitely something I could get addicted to…
If you are reading this and have never encountered the magic of Muskoka in summer come visit us at our lakefront cottage rental. We offer an authentic Canadian cottage experience you won’t forget.
Find out more about what it means to truly relax, renew, reconnect, and refocus in nature.
The warmer weather has begun its slow drift into cottage country. Glowing sunshine. Warm breezes. Melting Snow. The birds have begun their spring songs and it’s all just so refreshing to take in! Hibernation is ending and so the animals are waking up to the gorgeous weather, too. I think Old Man Winter might still have a few snowflakes up his sleeve, but nothing that can deter the smell of spring in the air.
We absolutely love going for family hikes in the spring, as do all of our guests. The soft, wet earth offers up the perfect conditions for our animal friends to leave their tracks behind! We lazily explore the woods around the lake house and find that some of the best boulders and cliffs are suddenly exposed in this beautiful season. These are perfect spots for those great family photos.
Our hike usually ends at destination DOCK. Sitting on the dock, coffee in hand, listening to the ice creak, melt and make way for summer fun is one of our favourite spring pastimes. Somehow the sun just feels warmer when you’re surrounded by a glistening sheet of ice!
A family campfire completes our day as we listen to the fire crack and watch the sparks fly into the crystal clear night! If we listen carefully we can sometimes hear the baby bunnies playing under the hot tub (where their mother insists on building a nest each year). Soon, after they build their courage and confidence, they’ll be hopping around the lakehouse gardens…so adorable!
After a quick soak in the hot tub we all curl up and fall soundly asleep in our comfy, cottage beds…hoping tomorrow will be just as wonderful!
And it usually is. Whether we experience the awakening of nature here at the lakehouse or make it over to a spot along the maple syrup trail, spring in Muskoka awakens the soul.
If you have already made reservations to join us this spring, we can’t wait to share it with you!
If you haven’t booked yet there are a few days remaining in April. Otherwise, make plans to join us next year….we book 12 months in advance.
Hope to see you at the lake!
Georgeous winter sunset over Aikman Lake
Some of the best family memories are made while on vacation.
“Remember that fish that got away”
“What about when grandpa fell out if the canoe?”
“Nothing will top feeding the chipmunk right out of my hand!”
For our family a lot if those memories happened at the annual cottage vacation. There’s something about coming together as a family at the lake and surrounded by nature that automatically leads to good things. Growing up swatting at black flies, catching minnows in butterfly nets and building sand castles in the beach (never turning out quite as grand as one imagined with the first shovel!) somehow binds my childhood and theirs together…like we’ve lived the same experience somehow.
Now that we live at the lake this is our daily experiences. But we would love to share them with you! The Lakehouse can be your family cottage that you escape to for a summer vacation. The extra bedrooms means no family members are left behind….and with our new pet friendly cabin your canine family(max2) can be part of the experience too.
New cottages are always welcome too! Let us show you the ropes. We can help you start a campfire and show you which paddles go with which boat. If you want to give the cottage a try this summer in Muskoka then consider booking for our fesurured 3 Night stay July 26-29. Your large family or group can get a taste of cottage life…it just might make you come back for more!!
Vacationing in Ontario Cottage Country is a wildly rewarding experience. Kids of all ages (0-99) will love finding animal tracks and figuring out what they are. Spring is a great time to learn about animal tracks up at the lakehouse. The wet and muddy conditions help leave evidence behind of the animal guests that frequent the woods of Aikman Lake. Last week a HUGE wolf print was beautifully preserved in the mud. In the summer, be sure to inspect the edges of the lake to find tracks in the sand/edges of thirsty visitors.
Figuring out which tracks belong to which animal can be a challenge. Recently we got a wonderful resource “Wild Tracks” by Jim Arnosky. This adult and child-friendly book has clear, lifesize photos of commonly seen tracks in Canadian Cottage Country. The book is a great size to bring on hikes or canoe adventures. The pages even flip & fold out so the track can be held up next to the photo for comparison! Deifnitely a great buy to throw in your suitcase on your way up to cottage country this summer. You can pick up your own copy here!
So far the following wildlife tracks have been identified at or near the Lakehouse using this great book:
Often you can see the animal tracks and the actual wild animal while you are at the Lakehouse. This year we had the amazing gift of seeing a timber wolf standing alone in the woods…almost like the cover of the book! Lately at night there has been some great howls heard echoing over the stillness of the lake waters in the peaceful, evening hours. You might forget you are just 2 hours north of Toronto, Ontario! click here to listen to a wolf yourself
Raccoon tracks are one of our favourite. The little hand prints are so adorable! You get to see the raccoons from time to time if you keep an eye out at night. One night, a racoon even stopped by to enjoy the campfire with guests. They were a little surprised at their uninvited friend but he behaved himself, checked out the fire and then headed back to the bush.
The Lakehouse Moose remains elusive, even though moose tracks (not the ice cream!) are regularly seen at the northeast end of the lake! Take a quick 10 minute hike along the shore of the lake and you’re bound to see the evidence yourself. Not quite sure where to go, just ask Tom or Lori (onsite lakehouse owners) and we will point you in the right direction!
Bears are regularly seen about 1 km away from the cottage on Sundog Road. When you are driving up the long, winding road keep at eye out near #43…this seems to be where the bears love to cross the road!
Whatever animals you see while at the Lakehouse we know it will be a memorable experience that you will treasure with your family for years to come.
Hope to see you at the lake!
“You spin me right round, baby, right round”-Dead or Alive
I never thought I’d be singing this tune on the lake in February but this weekend at the Lakehouse we had the amazing experience of an Ice Carousel! What is an ice carousel? Well, it’s a GIANT floating piece of ice that is propelled by an outboard motor to turn in circles on a frozen lake. If that isn’t cool enough then add a hot chocolate bar in the middle with music, muskoka chairs and a campfire and you just might have the most epic winter cottage moment ever.
It took our guests 10 hours of chainsawing the ice into a perfectly shaped circle. An outboard motor was then mounted a few feet within the now-free-floating centre circle. The free floating circle is initially propelled by pushing paddles/sticks against the fixed ice, once a good momentum is achieved the motor is started and takes over. It is a massive ice carousel! Approximately 20metres across, weighing in at 500,000 lbs, 1 full rotation takes about 2 minutes…totally cool experience! Drone Photos courtesy of Sonya Felsman iSparks Solutions
Not only did the Ice Carousel propel us to new fun but it built memories, relationships and not to mention muscles! The Lakehouse has a habit of making moments and our guests, Erno & Priya, seem to take this as a challenge. We’re already looking forward to Ice Carousel version 2.0 in 2018!
Ready to feel the rush of a winter? Do you remember that feeling as a kid? It’s still there as an adult! Our family has been enjoying winter fun right at the Lakehouse such as hot tubbing, sledding and snowshoeing. It’s been an adventure exploring the woods, searching for animal tracks and learning to identify the tracks we find. Yesterday we discovered Long Tailed Weasel tracks . . . and the kids even saw it run in the trees nearby. Deer, Coyote and Fox tracks are a common site on the driveway (which apparently the animals use as much as us!).
Don’t lose the feeling of anticipation this year. We have posted some special winter rates to ensure you and your family and friends can get away to enjoy the Lakehouse this winter.
There’s just something great about being outdoors with your family. We love sitting at the firepit and gazing at the stars above! We are loving the new outdoor lights too, as we can make a dash for the hot tub in all sorts of weather(and see where we are running!) and enjoy the view from safe inside the gazebo. Hopefully the next time you are up at the Lakehouse you will make some great memories in one of our favourite areas.
Christmas is here and hopefully you will enjoy some time with your family over the holidays. New memories will be made and others will be recalled. Maybe a few laughs about last summer at the cottage, who fell in the lake…or the canoe that tipped out Grandpa! So many great times at the lake. We still fondly remember “Chippy”…our first family chipmunk who actually would eat right out of our hand when visiting the cottage. Or what about the first time that one of our kids only wore 1 outfit all week long because her older cousin gave it to her as a hand me down. The infamous “cottage outfit” is part of our family forever.
It’s not too early to start thinking about summer time with your family and friends. The Lakehouse is a great place to get the whole family together… Grandparents, Kids and Grandchildren. There’s room for all of you to stay in comfort.
We hope to see you at the lakehouse next summer and we hope you have a great Christmas with your family!
Merry Christmas From our Family to Yours
Love The Aulds
Canadians already love summer cottage rentals…but how about exploring what the cottage has to offer in the winter! Learning to embrace winter at the cottage offers you even more opportunity to escape the city and head to the lake for some true R&R.
Snowshoeing offers an amazing time of refreshing, not to mention a great cardio workout. Finding your way through the woods, unhindered by bushy trees and leaves that block your vision gives a feeling of accomplishment and adventure. Even though you know the land has been explored before you can’t help feel like you’re the first one here…after all those are your lone tracks behind you!
Outdoor Hot Tubbing in the winter has got to be a non-official Canadian Sport. Watching snow fall on the forest around you, while the steam quietly embraces you just feels good! Sore muscles are soothed and great conversations are brewed in the hot tub. Wanting quality time with a friend or family member? Try this great “sport” together.
Hope to see you at the (frozen) Lake!