Tales From the Trails—Snowmobiling Mattawa

The term “All Inclusive Getaway” often conjures images of white sand beaches, suntan lotion and an endless conveyor belt of food. But that’s just one interpretation of the term. If, however, your “significant other” is a snowmobile, the term all-inclusive means complete access to the thousands of miles of trails just outside your door.

The Valois’ Motel & Restaurant in Mattawa, Ontario, is just such a place. Sure it has comfortable rooms, friendly staff, good food, and a river view from every window but most importantly the trailhead is just across the road. And we had the pleasure of crossing that road a couple of times on a recent visit. 

Day 1

Mist on the river in January can only mean one thing--cold.  Negative 28 ºC to be precise. Despite these conditions, we're warm in our gear and are all eager to get going. We're across the road by 9:00 am and heading northwest from Mattawa is the plan for the day. There hasn't been much snow fall for a while but there is plenty of the old stuff under the sleds tracks. Firm from the cold but free of blemish thanks to the groomer.

We follow A112A for most of its length then south on NB302, BF202 and 201, the destination, lunch at The Portage Restaurant. I can personally recommend the chili but the menu is full of other options. For the sleds, it's gas all around and we're back on the trail crossing Talon Lake and heading home on A112A, the best nine to five day under blue skies and sunshine. Any information about sledding anywhere in this massive region known as Northeastern Ontario can be found at www.BestTrails.ca.


Day 2

No mist this morning. It’s been replaced by a horizontally falling wall of snow and a much more bearable -12 ºC. The snow will be with us all day, slowly turning the trails from good to awesome. Today we point the sleds southeast. The A trail, with a half dozen centimetres of fresh snow on it, starts our day off with a grin. First tracks on fresh snow over perfectly groomed trails on BF204 and 205, amazing.

We cross Lake Nosbonsing in a white out and feed the group in Astorville; gas for the sleds and a convenience store lunch for us consisting of a sandwich in a bag and a microwave oven. Retracing our route back, now under about 12 centimetres of new snow, the A trail is spectacular.

Two days, about 450 km on the odometer, sunshine and fresh snow, all of it just steps from your door. Mattawa always a pleasure. Valois Motel; thank you for the hospitality. Groomers and volunteers; great job.

Mother Nature? Keep up that damn fine work.  

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