Candle Lake is home to many outdoor experiences all year long; so when the leaves change color, the adventure doesn’t end. Our latest journey took us through the Homestead Heritage Forest to visit the Aschim Homestead. Ansgar and Christina Aschim were the original owners and homesteaders of this property. In 1932 they purchased 320 acres of land and spent years clearing the forest and eventually building their two-story home in 1937.
Along our journey we were treated to beautiful meadow views, well maintained walking paths and interesting facts of the Aschim family and the history of the forest. Notable finds included well worn wagon trails. These trails were used in 1885 during the Riel Rebellion to haul fish from Torch Lake to feed General Frederick Middleton’s troops.
The pathways are nicely groomed and the boardwalks are maintained to allow a smooth walk across marsh lands. We took the 1.5km hike around the forest and enjoyed many beautiful sights and finds along the way.
Not many animals came out to greet us, but a few squirrels let us know that they were busy storing food for winter. Red squirrels are abundant in this forest. Deer, elk and moose all call this forest home. While it’s not uncommon to see many a deer in Candle Lake, they did not want to interact with humans today.
Upon arrival of the Aschim homestead, we first came across the smokehouse; one of many buildings on the property. Smokehouses were common with homesteaders to preserve their meats and fish throughout the year. An interesting find just off the main property. The family cleared 35 acres of willow flats for pasture and 35 more acres for forest cultivation. It’s clear to see they utilized the abundance of spruce trees help build their home and outbuildings.
The Aschim homestead is a surprisingly beautiful sight for history enthusiasts. Volunteers for Candle Lake Communities in Bloom have worked tirelessly to repair and preserve the out buildings and two-storey home. The house and property holds many surprises and interesting finds, including antique farming equipment, a beaver lookout and an old dog house.
If you are looking for a family friendly experience in Candle Lake, we suggest you to check the Heritage Homestead Forest.
As always we encourage our guests to follow the cardinal rules of the forest:
- Pack out what you pack in
- The forest is home to animals- please don’t feed them,
- Hike prepared
- Have fun
What to know before you go
- The forest is located on highway 120 near the Aspen Ridge and Cranberry Creek subdivisions. Look for signs on the north side of the highway
- Parking is available at the entrance of the forest
- Outhouses are available only at entrance
- A map is located at the start of the hike. From there you can decide which path to take (long or short)
- The paths are walkable for hikers of any skill set. You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy this adventure.
- We recommend anyone with a stroller or mobility concerns to use the shorter path to the right of the main map
- Stay on the marked pathways.