Ottawa Valley: Oh, Canada!

Text: Christa Neuhauser • Photography: Pam Collins

June in Canada can make you forget that “Great White North” is the nickname for our neighbor above, for no signs of frosty, snowy whiteness appear anywhere. Rather, the tapestry of the Canadian countryside wraps the landscape in lush layers of summertime green spiked with colorful threads of blue, yellow, white, and pink. It just depends whether you gaze at the abundant flowery fields or upward to the skies.

Non-snowy scenes like this provide the backdrop for a summer ride through Ontario. The Ottawa Valley Tourist Association invited a group of female moto-journalists here to experience the roads, the landscape, and the variety of activities in the region firsthand. The area offers beautiful places to go and exciting things to do.

Our tour covers 800 miles in five days, a large circle that weaves together a variety of scenery and adventures both on and off our motorcycles. It takes us from Old World sites in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, to the beauty and even older-world natural history of Canada’s first provincial park, Algonquin. Along the way, we trace the routes of some of history’s early explorers and the country’s early settlers, and investigate places centuries and even millennia old. A misty morning hike to a gorge, a rafting trip through legendary whitewater, several turns on a racetrack hidden in the woods, and a gallant battle with the region’s infamous black flies round out our activity-packed itinerary—with not one hockey puck or snowflake included.

Calabogie Peaks

Our journey begins in Ottawa, this region’s largest city. The raw, big-city hustle and bustle of Ottawa is smoothly polished with the patina of old-world elegance. After gathering our rides, loaned to us courtesy of Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, Honda Canada, and BMW Motorrad Canada, our group of eight riders threads through hot, metropolitan stop-and-go traffic and makes its way westward to the less populated countryside of the Ottawa Valley. Here the real riding begins as the traffic fades away and lush countryside appears. Barns here. Cows there. Fields. Water. And in between, snaking blacktop. Though we only travel 65 miles to our evening’s destination, we’ve ridden into an entirely different world.

We disembark at the Calabogie Peaks Resort for the night. Lakes, wildflowers, tall pines, and dragonflies punctuate this place that seems so serene in the summer twilight. Hard to imagine, but I learn that Calabogie boogies in the winter as home to Eastern Ontario’s highest vertical ski and snowboard resort. We eat and stay at the full-service Calabogie Peaks Lodge. Our hosts present us with gifts of bug repellant and mosquito-net-covered hats. I laugh at what I figure is a gag gift, not realizing I’ll soon learn that Canadian bugs are no joke.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the March/April 2012 back issue.