All Roads Lead to Bonfield—Braappy New Year 2014!

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All roads led to Bonfield, Ontario this New Year's for a group of sledders from across the province. Friends who met through snowmobiling, coming together to enjoy some great early season northern riding, and also of course to celebrate the kick-off into 2014 of snowmobile season.

01 Rock Cut Muskoka.1


After meeting Darcy and Joanne at the OFSC's Annual General Meeting 2013 and hearing of their lodge—Cedar Gables—it was very clear to all of us that this would be our New Year's destination. The fact that it's located right on the trail was a bonus. Packing on the morning of the 29th, after having enjoyed some amazing early season riding in the Kawarthas, our expectations were high for a great 3 day trip. During the course of the 2.5 hour drive, heading from central Ontario's cottage country towards the near North, we saw the temperatures drop from +1 to -20 Celsius! 


Meeting at the Lodge 

04 Parking Old Sled

Once we pulled into the well-ploughed driveway, we couldn't help but notice the ample parking, fit for the biggest of tow rigs. After the grand tour of their stunning lodge and the warm and inviting rooms, Joanne and Darcy made sure that our group was comfortable, assuring us that they were at our beck and call should we need anything. 

After a fabulous breakfast at the Lodge, we geared up in our layers for riding in the brisk -26 morning air. Jeff McGirr met us at the lodge and took us on a tour of some fabulous freshly-groomed, Bonfield trails. About 5" of untracked powder had fallen and laid over the perfectly groomed ribbon that was the result of a fresh groomer pass in the night. Although it was bitterly cold, the view from the Boulter Lookout warmed us for the next part of our adventure. 

06 Mattawa Deer
03 cedar gables welcome

Our off-trail tour led us down snow-covered forestry access roads and an old abandoned rail-bed. Deer sightings were plentiful, however not so for the elusive moose. Their tracks were everywhere. We knew they were just behind cover watching us as we rode by, but we couldn't see them.

Time to Explore

Heading back, we stopped for a rest beside a rustic camp where the gracious owners invited us in to warm up by the time-trusted, cook stove. They filled us with stories about a camp full of history, which was displayed in every post and beam that we saw.

08 Bridge

Waking up on Day 2, we were well-rested and ready to ride after another great sleep and belly buster home-cooked meal at Cedar Gables. Our group grew that morning, as we were joined by 2 more friends who came in from GravenhurstJumping on the BF201, which goes right through the front yard of Cedar Gables, we headed northeast to the full stake Talon Lake Crossing. As soon as we got on the North Bay Snowmobilers Club (NBSC) trails, we were greeted by two of their groomers and, after a quick photo-op and thank you, we continued along the A112A towards Mattawa.
07 Woodstove
09 Stake Lake
10 NB Groomers
Our feature stop for the day was the Mica Mine located where the NBSC and Mattawa S.C. trails intersect. This hidden gem is definitely worth peeking in to. Bring a flashlight!
12  Mica
13 People Lookout
11 Mica People
05 Andy Lookout

Along the RAP Tour

One more quick stop at a trailside scenic lookout and we were on our way for a fuel stop, for both sleds and stomachs in Mattawa. Both were well-marked and easily found just off the main trail in town. From our table in the Valois' Restaurant and Motel, the view of Quebec, just across the river, was almost as spectacular as the Mount Antoine burger.

14 Sled at Mattawa

A quick scoot on the A112A led us to the Mattawa Snow Club's portion of the RAP Tour, also known as the A-Trail. Its reputation as a sledding super-highway was dead on, which made the return trip an exhilarating and effortless ride.

Back at the Lodge, our hosts greeted us with supplies and beverages that we had pre-ordered for the evening's festivities.

15 Burger
This is a regular, convenient service that they offer, and they just bill it to your room. BBQ'd snacks and beverages outside by a barrel fire kept us warm until we all rang in the New Year together in the Common Room while watching the ball drop on the big screen TV.


Our experience was top notch on this trip, and we definitely will be returning again. We fully recommend it to anyone regardless of riding ability. Braappy New Year!

17 A Trail 2

About Rick Sauer & Marni Smith

Rick "Nutter" Sauer is a certified motorsports junkie who volunteers his time with his local snowmobile club and provincially with the OFSC. During the other 3 seasons his passion is cruising around on his current iron, a 955 Triumph SuperSport.

Marni "DooDette" Smith is a longtime snowmobiler and volunteer. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the OFSC. In the off season and when she’s not selling real estate, you can find her riding the highways and biways of Central and Northern Ontario on her Katana.

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