Aikens Lake News

A Walk on the Wild Side

Date
Aug. 14, 2017

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Interested in trying something new during your next visit to Aikens? Talk a walk through a boreal forest along our new Wilderness Trail on the south side of our peninsula.

Not too many of our guests try the trail, but those who do rave about it.

“This is such a beautiful trail,” said first-time Aikens guest Susan Morabito, of Vancouver, who walked the trail on a picture-perfect afternoon during her family’s vacation to Aikens. “The scenery is stunning here and it’s interesting to see the old cabin along the trail, as well.”

The easy one-mile loop starts just south of Big Guy’s Bait and Tackle Shop and offers access to a breathtaking beach you will more than likely have entirely to yourself should you choose to take a swim. As for the trail, you’ll get to share it with countless plant species and over 60 different species of birds, including Eastern Phoebes, pileated woodpeckers, colorful Blackburnian Warblers and even the occasional Great Grey Owl (the official bird of Manitoba).

At the other end of the size spectrum, Winter Wrens one of the smallest birds along the trail but their loud call echoes through the trees. The trees play a critical role in the wilderness experience. Beyond the obvious housing for birds (the Winter Wrens are often seen in “their” mature spruce about halfway down the trail), the shade and subsequent moisture created by the tree canopies determine which of the abundant plant species most thrive along the trail.

The aspen and birch provide cover for a flourishing herb and shrub layer including Blue-bead Lily, American Hazel, Saskatoon, Bush Honeysuckle, Canada Mayflower and Pricklye Rose. Guests are delighted to find wild raspberries and blueberries along the trail.

Perhaps you’d like to pick a few and ask our chef to include them in your morning pancakes? (just to play it safe, we recommend not eating anything that you pick until you show it to us).

Or, maybe you’d like to enjoy a picnic on the “secret” beach. What a fun adventure for a family to walk the trail and discover the perfect spot to enjoy a sandwich or late afternoon treat on the natural beach.

The old cabin Susan mentioned is actually an old animal barn we converted into a walk-in fridge and freezer.

 It was used in that capacity for over two decades before we finally built a proper one in 2013. Another interesting sight at the start of the trail is a work-in-progress treehouse Grant is building, as well as an area where we use lumber.

“Guests are often interested to see how we use wood, an abundant natural resource at Aikens, to such a degree,” Pit said. “We use it to heat all the camp’s water in the boiler, and to create lumber using the sawmill and for firewood in the cabins, even down to using the sawdust and woodchips with the scraps to cover the walking paths.”    

The first half of the trail is partially covered by sawdust to make for easier walking, while the second half is a more natural dirt trail and can be a bit buggy and wet after a rain. Even so, it’s a mild hike that can be enjoyed in under an hour at a leisurely pace.

Please let us know if you’d like us to point you down the trail, or feel free to tackle it entirely on your own. We are fortunate to call this pristine environment our home.

And we love sharing it with our guests and friends.

“When you think of how harsh the winters must be here, it’s remarkable to see all these different species of plants growing here,” Susan said on her hike. “They’re perfectly suited for this environment. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

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