Spirtsands/devils punch bowl Sunday Nov. 8.
What a great day for a hike, sunny with just a slight breeze. Fourteen members and guests enjoyed the hike through the sandhills, over to the devils punch bowl and down to the Assiniboine River. When we finished our hike the parking lot was full of cars of people who were out enjoying the beautiful day.
Cheers,
Eldon



November 1, 2009 Day Hike to Ministic Lake
Ministic Lake, in the beautiful Riding Mountain,  was a lovely, albeit lengthy 5 hour hike.  The trailhead starts a few kilometers north of the golf course.  This 20.5 km. hike and is through mixed deciduous forest on a wide and relatively clear path except for several fallen and bent over trees.  A few grouse flushed from the bush as we passed, but otherwise there were no wildlife sightings.  This was probably due to the happy 11 hikers who engaged in lots of conversation along the way.  With Mike, Di and Scotty leading the group, we arrived at the pretty little Ministic Lake a few hours later, made a fire and enjoyed the view.  Luckily the sun shone on our way out and warmed us all up.  Other members on the hike were Alf, Janice, Wally, Evelyn, Linda, David, Roger, Irene and Maureen.  I must say that I was impressed with our new members, Irene and David who handedly kept up on this lengthy trail!
This would be a great biking trail and ski trail once a few trees were cleared away, so perhaps we’ll see you there when the snow flies or in the spring!
Maureen



Oct 24/25 2009 Overnight Back Pack Cairn’s Cabin
Six hardy soles, Kelvin, Kelly, Mike, Di, Steve and myself enjoyed the fall weather of snowflakes, mist and damp underfoot trails.  We also commented about some of the oak trees with green leaves still on.  Quite a few trees were leaning awkwardly over after the heavy wet snow this past couple of weeks. Some trees lay  across the trail on the way to Cairn’s cabin. Cairn’s cabin is located 14.4 K along the Ochre River trail in Riding Mountain national Park. The cabin was built by Westman Wilderness Club members in 1989 and is now rented out for overnight excursions such as ours to outdoor enthusiasts by Parks Canada.
A good evening was spent at the cabin, and it was interesting to learn that one person was having regular food as they were currently out of road kill!!!!!
No lost soles from the  Gorge Creek hike showed up at our door as we offered our hospitality should they become lost.
On the way home Steve and Ed checked out the fire tower,. It provides a great view over that area of the park.
Edward Beamish



OCTOBER 24 ,2009 GORGE CREEK HIKE
Roger Bright organized the hike for Brian, Lynn, Robin ( guest), Alf, Janis, Wally, and  Evelyn.The day started off right with breakfast at Southgate. Part of the second group of hikers who were going to Cairn’s Cabin were also there.
Starting off and seeing bursts of snowflakes and sleet made us happy we were going 6.4 km.and not 14.4 km. As it turned out it was a good temperature for hiking.
The drive along Highway 19 in Riding Mountain national Park was absolutely beautiful with all the golden tamaracks. Ptarmigans were the only wildlife scurrying across the road.
When you hike the Gorge this time of year you expect  either brightly colored leaves on the oak and poplar trees or bare branches with clear views all around. Not so this year. Most  oaks had very  green leaves with some golden ones .The other trees had many of their leaves on as well. The trail was somewhat slick with lots of wet leaves and roots.
There were no wildlife sightings on the trail but it was  a good hike with lots of the usual kibbits of humor.
While the coffee was brewing at the Stanley’s cottage the second part of the hike continued  down to Tamarack Lake and up to Sunset Hill and back through somewhat overgrown trails. Unfortunately there were no signs of the Resident Moose who had been in the yard regularly for the previous 2 days.
Janis



Sunday, September 27, 2009 Bald Hill Hike
It started out as a cool and somewhat overcast day, but 15 hikers plus a 4 legged canine met with Jim Wilkie at the Southgate Hotel in Onanole all ready to join him for the Bald Hill day hike.  After a visit over breakfast in the “pub section” of the hotel, we traveled east on the dusty # 19 highway to meet # 5 highway.  From there we traveled north a few kms. before turning west to meet the  trailhead nestled along the Park boundary
The hike began leisurely enough.  High bush cranberries and wild plums were sampled by many as we trekked along.  Many of the oak trees had started to change their colors but few leaves had fallen. As we began the ascent of several hills, the skies opened and a light rain began.  Within minutes the shower was over.  Nearing the Bald Hill, Jim decided to take a different path- a short cut.   The path was steep, and tested one’s creativity and coordination in reaching the bottom safely.  Several of the hikers tucked their hiking poles away and slid down on their behinds!  Once at the bottom the Bald Hill loomed ahead.  The sight of it alone recharged everyone’s energy level. Once at the top everyone took time to admire the surrounding scenery and marvel at this unique area of the Park.   A lunch break was taken beside the Bald Hill and then the day’s entertainment began.  Bert Phillips set about challenging the younger folk to climb the hill again and race down with him.  What fun we had watching Bert and his friends do this time and  time again.  We stopped counting after three re-climbs. The several international hikers in the group seemed to thoroughly enjoy this bit of “Manitoba sand fun”
Our homeward journey involved some bushwacking on the overgrown trail.   We began the many creek crossings and even though we all tried to keep our feet out of the water, a good number of boots went in.  Blame it on the slippery stones!!  As we neared the end of the hike, the sun began to shine.  Our little four legged  “pug” companion was still going strong when we arrived back at the trailhead.  It had been an excellent time.  Thank you again Jim for leading us on such an enjoyable hike.
Gail Whaley



Sept 5,6,7, 2009 Bike trip in Riding Mountain national Park
The weekend started with a Friday evening camp and fire at Lake Audy. Mike and Timber Klassen were good enough to arrive early and save us some great tent spots at the south end of the campground. Di was there when I arrived, Shannon, Bert, Judy and Mike weren’t very far behind. After supper and some fun almost everyone went to bed. Some people had to stay up too late and sit by the fire and catch up on each others news.
Really early next morning, about 8:30, Ed Beamish arrived and said he would transport us to the trailhead in his truck. This was a great help as anyone who has had to ferry cars out to the west end of the Park and back will tell you. After a detour and no ice cream we were at the west end of the Park and looking forward to the day of cycling. We bade farewell to Ed with many thanks for his generosity and wished him well with his harvesting.
Our destination was the Gunn Creek campsite deep in the back country of Riding Mountain National Park. We had barely started when Bert signaled the all quiet from the front of the pack. As we reached the spot where Bert was stopped we could see a Black Bear and her three cubs coming along the trail towards us. She had her head down and hadn’t seen or smelled us yet. Less than a minute later she had our scent. At first she didn’t get who or what we were. Once she decided what she was smelling a retreat was in order. A quick turn on her heals with the cubs following she was gone into the bush. After a few hours on the trail and only an hour of actual cycling, we were at the Gunn Creek Campsite.
The Park has improved this site with a bit of brush clearing so that the campsite isn’t so closed in. And when they re-establish the wells in the back country it will be an even better place to visit. The water source here is the creek and it is very turbid. We had to clean our pump after every three liters of water. This brought up the subject of water filtering and what is the best way to do same. Bert is looking into a gravity fed bag that sounds promising. All of the group, except me, went for a hike along the ridge just west of the campsite. I had spun out coming through the creek and had a wet shoe. Bert also fell into the creek but didn’t mind hiking with one wet foot.
Up relatively early but still didn’t get started any earlier than the previous day. Off to Gunn Creek. We had a great ride through the western part of the Park. The prairie meadows all had Red-Tailed Hawks circling them. This is an indication of how healthy the prairies are in the park. Lots of food lots of predators. The group had a lesson on how to change a flat tire and why you should always carry a spare tube. When we stopped for lunch we decided to go on to Whitewater Lake and take our chances that the campground wasn’t full.  We needn’t have worried as there was no one camped at Whitewater Lake. This is especially concerning because this is a long weekend with great weather, an easy to get to back country camp site and not a soul was there. I wonder if the National Parks need to look at their fee structure for non mountain parks. Mike took us on an evening hike that lead to a point of land that juts out into Whitewater Lake. Great spot.
Cycled out the next day in lightning speed and found our vehicles waiting where we left them. It was nice to not wait around while cars and people ferried around to the west end to get the other vehicles. Thanks again Ed.
What a weekend. Sunny skies, above average temperatures, just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away and great people.
Cheers,
Eldon



Sept 7, 2009 Day Hike in Riding Mountain national Park
The day started at 9 a.m. and we returned to Brandon at 7 p.m. The 3 of us agreed to car pool from Brandon, and take a side trip to “the  farm” on our way back to Brandon.
Irene(a prospective new member), Arthur and Grace headed out on the sunny morning to the North Escarpment trail. The trail condition was excellent until we got  close to the view point on the Packhorsetrail .We were so close, but the beavers beat us to the creek, and it was impassible! It was time to stop for lunch, so our best option was to turn around, have a lunch break and head back to the trailhead.
On our way we spotted a large moose at a water hole. He took off before we got a camera ready. Several campers/cyclists were on the trail as well, and apparently East deep lake has many moose and elk in the area ….some spotted swimming across the lake!
The day was perfect with a light breeze, next to no mosquitoes, and the harsh sun was under a light cloud cover on the way back… 5 hours…..approx 20+km.This was an easy trail, but we were all feeling like we’ll have a good sleep tonight!
until next time…..
Grace



Sept Long Weekend Bike
The weekend started with a Friday evening camp and fire at Lake Audy. Mike and Timber Klassen were good enough to arrive early and save us some great tent spots at the south end of the campground. Di was there when I arrived, Shannon, Bert, Judy and Mike weren’t very far behind. After supper and some fun almost everyone went to bed. Some people had to stay up too late and sit by the fire and catch up on each others news.
Really early next morning, about 8:30, Ed Beamish arrived and said he would transport us to the trailhead in his truck. This was a great help as anyone who has had to ferry cars out to the west end of the Park and back will tell you. After a detour and no ice cream we were at the west end of the Park and looking forward to the day of cycling. We bade farewell to Ed with many thanks for his generosity and wished him well with his harvesting.
Our destination was the Gunn Creek campsite deep in the back country of Riding Mountain National Park. We had barely started when Bert signaled the all quiet from the front of the pack. As we reached the spot where Bert was stopped we could see a Black Bear and her three cubs coming along the trail towards us. She had her head down and hadn’t seen or smelled us yet. Less than a minute later she had our scent. At first she didn’t get who or what we were. Once she decided what she was smelling a retreat was in order. A quick turn on her heals with the cubs following she was gone into the bush. After a few hours on the trail and only an hour of actual cycling, we were at the Gunn Creek Campsite.
The Park has improved this site with a bit of brush clearing so that the campsite isn’t so closed in. And when they re-establish the wells in the back country it will be an even better place to visit. The water source here is the creek and it is very turbid. We had to clean our pump after every three liters of water. This brought up the subject of water filtering and what is the best way to do same. Bert is looking into a gravity fed bag that sounds promising. All of the group, except me, went for a hike along the ridge just west of the campsite. I had spun out coming through the creek and had a wet shoe. Bert also fell into the creek but didn’t mind hiking with one wet foot.
Up relatively early but still didn’t get started any earlier than the previous day. Off to Gunn Creek. We had a great ride through the western part of the Park. The prairie meadows all had Red-Tailed Hawks circling them. This is an indication of how healthy the prairies are in the park. Lots of food lots of predators. The group had a lesson on how to change a flat tire and why you should always carry a spare tube. When we stopped for lunch we decided to go on to Whitewater Lake and take our chances that the campground wasn’t full.  We needn’t have worried as there was no one camped at Whitewater Lake. This is especially concerning because this is a long weekend with great weather, an easy to get to back country camp site and not a soul was there. I wonder if the National Parks need to look at their fee structure for non mountain parks. Mike took us on an evening hike that lead to a point of land that juts out into Whitewater Lake. Great spot.
Cycled out the next day in lightning speed and found our vehicles waiting where we left them. It was nice to not wait around while cars and people ferried around to the west end to get the other vehicles. Thanks again Ed.
What a weekend. Sunny skies, above average temperatures, just enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away and great people.
Cheers,

Eldon



Around town, and around the world Aug 23,2009

WWC’s “Around town, around the world, and a picnic” was a success! 14 people joined us for a brisk ride around Brandon’s cycle paths. Several were visitors who were either invited by members or came in response to the media coverage, and a desire to explore Brandon’s path system. Hopefully, some become members! Media coverage both before and after the event was great, with articles in both the Wheat City Journal and Brandon Sun prior to the event and a nice story in the Brandon Sun post event. Thanks to Eldon for contacting the radio and TV stations. Did anyone hear/see any of this coverage? The ride was followed by a “picture show” featuring Donna and Aaron’s travels to Thailand and Laos, Brian and Lynn’s trip to Africa, and Judy, Bert and Nancy (Bert’s sister)’s trip to China. We played to a full house, thanks to the media coverage and good marketing of WWC members. The day was topped off by a picnic at Queen Elizabeth Park. As usual, no one ran out of food. Judy

July 24-25,2009 Camp/hike
Grace, Val and Lori (new member) began the day at 11:30am by doing some exploration driving on the gravel roads NE of Neepawa. The landscape there is great with all it’s hills, valleys and twisty roads. Grace had many stories to tell about the area. Our first hike took us down a road into a valley ending up in a hay field. We stopped to have lunch at “The Farm”. The view from there over Hwy 5 towards Lake Manitoba is fantastic with Canola and Flax fields in bloom. Back into the truck and off exploring again. We picked Saskatoons for our dessert but I couldn’t tell you where. Did I mention there were many twisty roads? Our second hike was on an ATV trail where we stopped at a lookout point we decided to name “Turkey Trail Lookout”. On this trail we saw one large bear track. We got back to the campground at 4:45pm. Laura and her son Israel had arrived, set up their tent and were off enjoying the pool. Grace’s mom Norma joined us all for supper and campfire afterwards.  A good time was had by all!

McFadden Valley Hike June 18 – June 21
Five club members including Shirley and Arthur, Grace, Jackie and Fred met at Uncle Tom’s restaurant near Minnedosa for coffee and/or breakfast at 9AM. Also joining us for brekky was Marg, a friend of Jackie’s (and potential club member?) who has returned to MB after living on Victoria Island. Grace and I had a pre-hike discussion and based upon her knowledge of the area we chose the route we would hike.
We were on the road by 10:30 and arrived at an ATV trailhead 45 minutes later. The trailhead we took was located three miles due north of Elk Ranch. Elk Ranch is located on Provincial Road 357 (Mountain Road) and is a somewhat useful point of reference. To accommodate our schedules we dropped off a car two miles north and two miles east of Elk Ranch so we would not have to backtrack. We followed the ATV trail in a southeasterly direction through aspen and hazel brush interspersed with birch and spruce. The mosquitoes were almost as thick as thieves but luckily the ticks diverted our attention from them somewhat. Whilst hiking we had to skirt a small lake created by semi-aquatic rodents and here we saw our first bruin prints (Not to be confused with the NHL Bruins – reason being hockey season is over). We exited the woods and crossed through a grassy meadow which we deduced had been cleared at one time or another for agricultural purposes. The ATV trail continued due south but we opted to take the ‘high’ road towards the car. This high road is drivable when dry. We still had plenty of time, so Grace showed us another route which crossed the creek we were skirting and brought us out onto a large hay meadow. We tramped across the meadow only to be confronted by a rather deep ravine between us and the road we wished to intersect. LAfter finally referring to a topo map, there were two choices – one was to backtrack, the other to follow a minor flow channel down to the creek and ultimately the road. As we all know backtracking is too boring and obvious, so we chose the route less traveled. It was somewhat steeper, wetter and overgrown than we would have liked but we made our way gingerly and deliberately and found the elusive road. It was clear hiking up to the car from here. Total hike time almost three hours. Comfortable temperatures, partly cloudy skies and four great sports (considering that unintentional bushwhack). After retrieving Arthur’s car at the trailhead we all stopped in at Big Valley for a quick lunch and headed our separate ways.
On Thursday June the 21, Arthur, Shirley and Di met up with Grace at her parents’ farm. We really had a beautiful day to be out hiking. After a very quick snack – we started out by car to our first starting point. Now, if I consult my GPS – our trail made a very pretty pattern! First of all we headed back towards the farm. Being a valley – we went up and we went down. We certainly had some fabulous views from our high spots – and some very wet bits in our low spots. On arriving back at the farm, we sat and enjoyed some lunch – and a well earned cold beer! We then headed back into the bush. On this occasion, Grace took us on the scenic route. Well, we were there to explore – so that’s exactly what we did! By this point, Shirley had seen enough of MacFadden Valley, having hiked the scenic route only the week before. Anyway, we all made it back to the farm where we had to ‘de-tick’ before we could do anything else. We must have hiked between five and six miles, encountered many different terrains – and we enjoyed every minute of it! Thanks Grace for a great day…
Di Ingram



Gorge Creek (A great trail anytime) June 10
While hiking RMNP’s Gorge Creek Trail is a fall favorite, it was equally spectacular in early summer. The oak, birch and evergreens are brilliant green. There are blossoms on the cranberry and nannyberry bushes, and delicate wild flowers and ferns highlight the path in every direction.
The six hikers who climbed to the top of this escarpment were rewarded with great views of the prairies and one of the best lunch spots in the park. And best of all, we were never too far from the sound of water running through the creek that created this remarkable landscape.
Thanks to Carol and Bill for leading the trip and treating everyone to coffee at Poor Michael’s afterward, and to Alf and Janis for providing commentary to two first timers.
Fred and Ann Stevenson

President’s Day Hike: North Shore Trail (Glen Beag to Spruces return) June 4
In attendance: Mike K, Shannon K, Di, Grace, Mike R., Janis, Lynn and Bryan, Arthur, Verne, and Ann S. The hike was to begin around 10:30am at Glen Beag. We waited for a few people as my directions apparently led them onto the twelfth hole at the Clear Lake Golf Course! Trail conditions were great other than a few soupy spots along the way. Parks Canada has re-routed three to four sections of the trail in order to avoid more of the soupy spots. In one particular area, the elevation gain provides hikers with a fantastic view of Clear Lake. Other than tracks and scat, there were no sightings of animals. After a short stop at Spruces picnic area, we returned down the same path to Glen Beag. Total time on the trail (16km) was approximately four hours. After Environment Canada’s predictions of cold, rainy weather, luck was on our side. It turned out to be a beautiful day. Several members stayed afterwards for a hotdog and Tofu-Dog roast. Fire-roasted doughnuts were supplied by Verne—a nice treat after a day on the trail.
Mike Klassen



May 30 – Moon Lake Hike
Saturday May 30 was a beautiful sunny day for a hike on Moon Lake. The lake was like glass and a lone canoeist was taking advantage of it. As well several campers were enjoying the area.
Roger W., Mel, Noreen, Brian, Lynn, Evelyn, Janis, Grace, Di, {Scottie} and perspective new member , Faryn met at the trailhead at 11 am.
The trail had many boggy areas; perhaps the remnants of the 12 inch snowfall from 2 weeks ago. Lots of animal tracks were seen and many birds were singing.
With no undergrowth there were many great views of the lake as we hiked along. After the hike it was a warm day to sit in the picnic area and swap bear stories. A fun day with lots of comadarie!!
Janis



April 26th – Fork River Canoe Trip
Nick and Bobby Peters (new members) Aaron and myself started our canoe on the Fork River at 10:16 a.m. from our back yard. Due to the narrow passage and dam we flew over Bobby’s heart was pumping but soon relaxed as the next five miles was a straight through way as the river was dredged through the flat lands but the current was fast with a few smaller drops in grade and a few rocks that the guys at the rear seemed to have found. Here we made time and we were at the natural river in one and on half hrs. We stopped for lunch before proceeding. Nick and Bobby like to travel and just came back from Australia. (honeymoon) After a long conversation on travel we were off once again. The scenery changed dramatically for the river widened as we began to meander round river curves, through forest of birch, ash, woodpecker village, and spruce. I think I have seen the oldest birch tree ever. The beaver dams were excellent for shooting right over and along with other fast rocky interludes the trip kept us on our toes with parts so calm and peaceful. (sometimes spooky peaceful like on the bayou) The duck chase was on as we chased mallard and goldeneye. A pair of common merganser’s was seen along with Canada Goose, cormorant (feeding on dead suckers) bald eagle, and red tailed hawks as they screeched above us. We saw river bank dens and splashes, presumably muskrat or beaver as they immersed to the water. The highlight sighting was a coyote who was sneaking along one side of the river then on the other side as he disappeared into the wilderness. Also a rabbit was spotted crouched along the riverbank under some hanging brush. We reached our first out landing at about 2:00 p.m. and decided to go the extra four road miles to our second outing which was two miles short of the town of Fork River. Here the river headed south and more curves. One spot we maneuvered our canoes around a fallen tree right in the middle of a sharp curve. Aaron and I went first and got stuck on the river bank. Nick and Bobby handled their canoe with excellent maneuvering skills, even when the undercurrent from the log tried to tip them over. We were at our out landing, which was a ford on a road, at 4:10. While the guys went to pick up the other vehicle, Bobby and I visited with some locals who were sucker fishing and watched as suckers were trying to swim, jump, flop over the one foot waterfall from the ford to get to the other side. None made it while we were watching. A good day on the river, a little windy at times, was had by all and we will do it again next year.
Donna



Canoe on the Fork River
Nick and Bobby Peters (new members) Aaron and myself started our canoe on the Fork River at 10:16 a.m. from our back yard. Due to the narrow passage and dam we flew over Bobby’s heart was pumping but soon relaxed as the next five miles was a straight through way as the river was dredged through the flat lands but the current was fast with a few smaller drops in grade and a few rocks that the guys at the rear seemed to have found. Here we made time and we were at the natural river in one and on half hrs. We stopped for lunch before proceeding.
Nick and Bobby like to travel and just came back from Australia. (honeymoon) After a long conversation on travel we were off once again. The scenery changed dramatically for the river widened as we began to meander round river curves, through forest of birch, ash, woodpecker village, and spruce. I think I have seen the oldest birch tree ever. The beaver dams were excellent for shooting right over and along with other fast rocky interludes the trip kept us on our toes with parts so calm and peaceful. (sometimes spooky peaceful like on the bayou) The duck chase was on as we chased mallard and goldeneye. A pair of common merganser’s was seen along with Canada Goose, cormorant (feeding on dead suckers) bald eagle, and red tailed hawks as they screeched above us. We saw river bank dens and splashes, presumably muskrat or beaver as they immersed to the water.
The highlight sighting was a coyote who was sneaking along one side of the river then on the other side as he disappeared into the wilderness. Also a rabbit was spotted crouched along the riverbank under some hanging brush.
We reached our first out landing at about 2:00 p.m. and decided to go the extra four road miles to our second outing which was two miles short of the town of Fork River. Here the river headed south and more curves. One spot we maneuvered our canoes around a fallen tree right in the middle of a sharp curve. Aaron and I went first and got stuck on the river bank. Nick and Bobby handled their canoe with excellent maneuvering skills, even when the undercurrent from the log tried to tip them over.
We were at our out landing, which was a ford on a road, at 4:10. While the guys went to pick up the other vehicle, Bobby and I visited with some locals who were sucker fishing and watched as suckers were trying to swim, jump, flop over the one foot waterfall from the ford to get to the other side. None made it while we were watching. A good day on the river, a little windy at times, was had by all and we will do it again next year.
Donna



April 25th – Hunt Lake Hike
Saturday at 10 am, 3 club members (Stacy May, Maria Purification and Sylvie Labossière) along with two guests (Brent Barske and Alison Sanders) met at Tim Horton’s on Fermor (Winnipeg). A two hour drive brought us to West Hawk Lake (Whiteshell Prov. Park) and the Hunt Lake trail which is located a short distance east of West Hawk Lake Beach.
As we prepared to hit the trail, Alison and Brent expressed a little concern over the length of the trail as well as the potential for muddy spots along the way. Despite this, they did not spare me any teasing about my “legwarmers” (gaiters). We headed into the woods as the sun poked in and out of the clouds, seemingly teasing us.
Shortly after beginning the hike, we descended what I have come to think of as the “staircase”, a steep slope covered in rocks and gnarled and twisted tree roots which have to come to resemble a well worn set of stairs. After going down the stairs, we approached a small cave located in a steep rock face. Knowing that a geocache was hidden at this site, we spent a few minutes, exploring the nooks and crannies of the cliff and low and behold, found the cache! Maria made a trade for an item in the cache and we all signed the logbook. Some of us also took several pictures of the spectacular cedars that grow straight out of the rock walls in the area. Their bare roots can be seen twisting and clinging to the rock. They really are quite impressive.
We continued on to our lunch stop. On the way, we crossed a half frozen cedar bog as well as a few sparkling streams and small waterfalls carrying meltwater down to the lake below. To our right we were flanked by a steep slope covered in moss, cedar and brush, to our left, the earth dropped dramatically into West Hawk Lake leaving us perched high up with great views of the the lake and shoreline below. In some places the trail crept allowed us to come right down to the water’s edge where we could hear the eerie hiss of cracks forming in the thinning sheet of ice still resting on the surface of the lake. The sweet smell of cedar was in the air as we brushed against the trees along our path.
We stopped for lunch at a small rock peninsula that juts out into West Hawk Lake. Maria photographed a sociable chipmunk that came to pay us a visit. After lunch, Alison and Brent decided to begin their walk back to the car, having already accompanied the group further than they had originally planned. Maria, Stacy and I chose to continue on to the end of the trail which finishes at Little Indian Bay. An extra hour of walking took us to the end where we came across an impressive uprooted tree. We took a few photos, stopped for a water break and headed back.
The hike back was quick paced and we were back to our lunch stop in 45 minutes. I didn’t time the walk back to the car but I can tell you that we all agreed we were feeling a little bagged. We began our walk around noon and were back at our cars by around 6:30. This trail is wonderful but definitely takes it’s toll on a person’s knees. Apparently my hamstrings and quadriceps got a bit of a workout too because they felt like overstretched fiddle strings for two days following the hike.
All in all we had a great day despite the chilly weather. I am so glad to have had people along this time around. Having Stacy drive in all the way from Brandon was a surprise, as was meeting Maria for the first time. I quickly put two and two together and realized she was the spunky lady I had read about in a previous write up about a hike on Ochre River or Bald Hill. Alison and Brent were initially very reluctant to come along but I believe they surprised themselves and later told me they really enjoyed their day.
Thanks to all those who came out!
Sylvie Labossière



March 12 – Down Hill and Cross Country Ski
Verne K. organized this Cross Country Ski. We met at South Gate Motel for a lunch and then skied into the warming hut on the Grey Owl Trail . From there we branched off to the Cowan Lake Trail. The Grey Owl Trail was groomed perfectly but the Cowan was groomed by we, the skiers. A beautiful day of skiing was wrapped up with a coffee at Stanleys’ cottage and then a most delicious pot luck supper at the Burridge Cottage. The Cross Country Skiers were Alf, Janis, Carol, Mike R, Verne and Norma. Bill S. was the support crew. We were joined for the pot luck supper by the down hill gang, Eldon, Chad, Wayne & family, Ed , Donna and Erin, who had gone to the Assessipi ski hill at Russell. Thanks to Janis and Alf, Ed and Linda for the use of their homes.

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