It is maple syrup season in Ontario. Yesterday we took our 6 year old grandson to Crawford Lake Conservation Area to try some syrup treats and hike the trails. It was a sunny and crisp March day with overnight temperatures below freezing and mid-day just above freezing. This is the ideal time to tap the sugar maples.
We started our visit the right way with frozen maple syrup on a stick. You make this by pouring maple syrup onto snow so it freezes and then wrapping it around a popsicle stick. On the hiking trails, we saw how they tap the sugar maple trees. We watched a good demonstration of how 40 litres of sap is boiled down to make 1 litre of syrup. The park staff also whipped up some corn bread for us and showed how it can be cooked on a hot rock by the fire. We did a tasting flight of 4 syrups, from blonde to dark amber, from various times of the sap cycle. This was after we set a baseline with the fake, cheap, corn syrup version of maple syrup you get cheaply at grocery stores. Cathy and I liked the dark amber as it is closest to what we buy from our local syrup maker near our cottage. Our grandson liked the fake version. What can we say?
Plan to spend several hours at Crawford Lake. We explored the reconstructed 15th century Iroquoian Village with three long houses filled with artifacts. A short hike took us to Crawford Lake. The hiking trails are easy going with boardwalks in the wetter areas. There are carvings along the way that are fun for kids of all ages. The lake itself is quite famous for archaeology as it is meromictic. It is very deep, and the lower half is dead. Artifacts from the early days have been retrieved fully intact from the bottom of the lake and are now displayed in the long houses.