KITC would like to welcome back guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel. During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.
One of my favourite activities as a kid was to go sliding down our local hill. Growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the hill was more like a bump compared to Ottawa standards but I still a great time. When I saw Mount Pakenham had tubing along with downhill skiing, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce our son, David and my wife, Sandy to the activity.
We set out to Pakenham on the Sunday of Family Day weekend. The weather (for once) was perfect for outdoor sports. Arriving at the mountain, the first thing that struck us was the beauty of the place. Set in the Ottawa Valley, Pakenham has a family feel that might be lost at larger, more expensive ski resorts. As previously mentioned, being from Saskatchewan, downhill skiing is not my go-to winter sport so we opted for the tubing and snowshoeing option.
We headed over to the tubing hill and picked up our inner tubes. There was not a lift taking us to the top of the hill but it was not an overly long walk and the pathway was well-maintained. Once we reached the top of the hill there were two possible runs open. David enthusiastically hopped in his inner tube and asked the staff attendant to give him the full spin option. We watched David speed down the hill with a smile on his face for the entire ride. Sandy and I romantically rode together holding each other’s inner tubes. We opted for the gentler push which still provided an exciting ride.
For the next go-around, David wanted to take a ride with me. On our climb to the top, he proposed doing the maximum spin-o-rama. By the time we reached the top of the hill, I was able to negotiate him down to the mild spin. Whatever way, we had a lot of fun. We took another three or four trips down the hill and had a blast.
Once done with tubing, we were able to borrow snowshoes and check out the trails. We took a scenic walk through the forest and were able to take short diversions off-trail because of our snowshoes.
After about a half hour exploring, we had worked up an appetite and headed back to the main lodge area. We opted for the cafeteria inside the lodge which offered comfort food like soup and sandwich, poutine and hamburgers. They also had lighter fare including salads. We enjoyed our meal in the convivial company of fellow tubers and skiers. The resort also has a lounge and bar that is open to families before a certain time. There was also an outdoor canteen that offered food as well.
We ended our time at the ski resort soaking in the sunshine and admiring the skiers racing down the mountain.
If you have time, the village of Pakenham is worth a stop. The Pakenham General Store was originally built in 1840 and has some of the tastiest cinnamon buns I have ever tasted. It is also worth to check out the five span bridge which was originally constructed in 1903 and is built completely out of stone.
Special thanks to Mount Pakenham for providing David and his family with tubing and snowshoe passes for the purpose of this article; all views are his own.