Boating Guide – Evening on the Oxtongue River

June 17th, 2020 by

The mouth of the Oxtongue River is a completely different world than the windy waters of Dwight Bay. Sheltered, there is a calmness to the river that creates a feeling of stillness.

Turn the first bend and you’ll enter into the painted landscapes of the Group of Seven. Pass by scenes from “Red Maple,” “Northern River” and “Oxtongue River.” You’ll understand why artists camped on these shores, painting and sketching for days.

Oxtongue River Access:

The Oxtongue River is easy to access from the township Dwight, Lake of Bays. The public boat launch is alongside the public dock. Parking is right across the street or in the nearby municipal parking lot.

When you stand on the Dwight docks and look out into the lake, you’ll see two marker buoys to your left, half a kilometre away. This is where the Oxtongue River empties into Dwight Bay.

The markers alert boaters of two submerged sand spits, which form the shape of an ox’s tongue. Navigate between these buoys to enter the river mouth. 

Cross the bay as fast as you please, but get ready to slow down and take your time in the river. Signs remind you to not make a wake, but you won’t need to. Now is the time to cruise slowly, in the centre of the channel, and let your senses take over.

 

The Journey up the Lower Oxtongue:

This is a place for photographers, artists and nature lovers. As the waterway narrows, 200 year old pines tower overhead and you can hear the calls of the Belted Kingfisher from distant branches. Take this trip in the late afternoon and golden sunlight will kiss the branches, lending its magic to your photos.

The river narrows, twists and meanders through the valley. A Great Blue Heron, graceful as a dancer, silently flies across the river to a quiet pond. A beaver swims along the shoreline for a time, before diving underwater with a smack of its tail.

Sandy banks invite you to beach your boat and go for a quick swim. Feel like you’re being watched? Dark, shiny eyes peek out just above the water, a frog trying to assess the danger.

The more time you spend here, the more you realize that this precious waterway is full of life, big and small. You notice the corporal dragonflies darting through the air, munching on mosquitoes. A spring peeper hiding in last year’s fallen leaves. A tiny water snake jamming its head under pebbles, looking for a meal.

There’s 4.5 km of twists and turns to navigate your boat through the lower Oxtongue River to Marsh’s Falls. This journey up river is beautiful enough on its own to make your trip worthwhile, but Marsh’s Falls is your destination.

 

Marsh’s Falls:

These falls tumble and crash, throwing mist and spray into the air, to the delight of young and old. Daring children climb onto the first rocky ledge, squealing as the water cascades down their 

backs.

Throw a line in at the bottom of the falls – the fishing is fantastic! There’s satisfaction in seeing your little red bobber disappear and feeling the pull of a sizable bass, as it fights your line.

 

The sheltered wooden gazebo near the top of the falls is a perfect place for a picnic. And if you stopped at Erika’s or Henrietta’s bakeries in Dwight to stock up on provisions, you’re in for a real treat!

Local Muskoka Food:

Canada is known for butter tarts and bacon and Erika’s Bakery, famous for its tarts, combines both in a bacon butter tart. Playful experimentation led to a long list of unusual butter tart flavours, but foodies can be confident that all these treats have a perfect, flaky crust, even on the bottom and a lightly baked filling that barely holds together. The addition of bacon adds a salted caramel taste and meaty flavours.

Locals enjoy Henrietta’s Muskoka clouds as much as tourists. Soft and moist, with sour cranberries contrasting with a delightful coating of sugar, these light and airy pastries would pair up perfectly with coffee or tea. 

If you want to pack a heartier picnic, purchase a sandwich, one so big that you’d need two hands to hold it together. Or try a savory pastry.

There are bacon twists, a combination of buttery croissant dough, rich cheese, lightly cooked bacon and crunchy sesame seeds. These are a favourite with kids.

Adults might enjoy a spinach and feta croissant. It might remind you of lunch on a Greek island, with its tart, sophisticated taste.

The sausage roll is found in many cultures, and is called many names. Pretzel dog. Pigs in a blanket. But pick one up and call it dinner, an easy dinner to savour as you relax by the falls.

 

Return Voyage to Dwight Bay:

By now, you’re full and the sun is lower in the sky. It’s time to begin heading back. As you return, you notice that the flat-calm water mirrors the forest and sky. Jack pines lean reaching for sunlight.

“The jack pine grows to any shape that suits the light, suits the winds, suits itself.” – Milton Acorn.

The main lake is packed with action. Families pulling laughing children in tubes. Couples returning by boat from the local restaurant. Teens pulling incredible stunts on wakeboards. Pontoon boats creeping by with friends cruising, dining and spending time together. There are many ways to enjoy boating.

This is what boat ownership is about. Slowing down and opening our eyes to the beauty around us. Spending time with the people we love. Exploring new waters. 

 

We hope that our guide inspires you to explore new waters.

This year, Pride Marine Group is celebrating 35 years of helping people get out on the water with their loved ones. For information on rentals, new boats, pre-owned boats or accessories, please visit our website at www.pridemarinegroup.com. We’d be happy to help make this your best summer ever.

If you have questions about boating or day trips, please contact us at 1-800-991-3006.

Have a wonderful boating season!

Posted in Boating Guide