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Spring/Summer 2004

Cross Country/ Downhill Ski February 14th

It was up bright and early on Sat morning in preparation for the 1.5 hour drive to Assissepi ski hill at Russell . Eldon and Janet had spent the night at the Burridge’s cottage in preparation for the day of activities. Ed, Eldon and Alf were the only ones brave enough or should I say foolish enough to downhill at –35 C. The first few runs were a bone chilling experience but after a stop for hot chocolate the temperature improved and we enjoyed a great day on the slopes.

Meanwhile back at the Burridge’s cottage Linda was leading a group of 20 cross-country skiers on the Compound Maintenance and Katherine Lake trails in Riding Mountain National Park. As these skiers were in various degrees of physical condition, some skied Compound Maintenance trail, some skied Compound Maintenance and Katherine trails and you can guess who skied all the trails and several times around Katherine. I understand there were a few tumbles and pile ups but no injuries reported.

After a day of physical exercise and fresh air, it was back to the Burridge’s cottage for a delicious pot luck supper, hot tub and an evening of visiting . Thanks to Ed and Linda for being such good hosts and event leaders.

Submitted by Alf Stanley


Canoeing April 13th

The ice had been off the Little Saskatchewan River for only one week and the temperature was approximately + 7 C when 4 members of the WWC led by Eldon Schmitz made their first river run. Eldon and brother Wayne in one canoe, Roger w. and Alf S. in the other one left Kirkham’s Bridge and 1.5 hours later arrived at the bridge at the old Glenorky ski hill. The water level was excellent but low for this time of the year. There were lots of whitewater rapids to run. We saw lots of wildlife including deer, geese and ducks. I having never before paddled from the front of the canoe learned lots from Roger. Thanks for your patience Roger. Coffee, hot chocolate and time to replay the trip was enjoyed at Tim Horton’s on the hill afterwards.

Submitted by Alf Stanley


Canoeing April 20th

Interest in canoeing really picked up when tales of last week’s run were told. Maybe they were even embellished a bit. We had 7 canoes on two trailers and 14 paddlers show up for the second trip of the year. It took a while to get organized with the placement of cars and the decision of who would go with who but eventually we all cast off, thanks to Eldon’s excellent leadership. The water levels surprisingly had dropped off substantially since last week. Maneuvering around rocks and through rapids kept us much more alert. The members taking part were Brenda E, Glen G, Verne K., Norma L., Eldon S, Greg S, Roger W, Jordan W., Marilyn M., Alf S., Leona B., Don C., and Howard and Sheila A. Don and Leona after successfully negotiating the rock garden’s rapids decided to test the temperature of the water. Our photographer was at the right place at the right time to snap a photo of them standing in 4 feet of water beside their up turned canoe. It was a great outing and several members were making their first trip on the Little Saskatchewan River. Hot chocolate, coffee and some good old fashion teasing were held afterwards at Tim’s on the hill.

Submitted by Alf Stanley


Brandon Bike Trip and Pizza April 25th

Late April seemed like a good date to set for a ride on Brandon’s scenic bike paths. April 18th, however, was too cold and wet so we postponed until April 25th. Cold strong NW winds blew, as the afternoon progressed, never the less, 18 hardy westman wilderness people hit the paths and made 21 kms. back to Munroe’s’ for hot pizza and warm laughter. We had several new faces, most of which have now joined as members. They are bound to be lifelongers if they hung in on that windy ride! It was great to have some kids out! Our youngest new member braved the paths on a one-speed bike. The real test was the final leg up the north hill to Braeview Drive as the last survival challengeA beehive of pizza making followed of which many pitched in to help. Wonderful appetizers, Eldon’s great big Greek salad and other’s lip smacking desserts topped off a great Sunday’s smorg. Hope to see you all next year.

Submitted by Maureen Munroe


Canoeing April 27th

The third trip of the year was a beautiful warm day with temperatures up too +25 0C. There were 4 canoes with Eldon S. & Wayne S., Verne K. & Norma L., Don C.& Leona B., Alf S. & Kim S., Donna & Aaron K. aboard. Roger W was solo in his canoe and Denise C. was Kayaking. It was a fun evening with no one getting dumped but there were a few near misses. Donna and Aaron tried to see how far their canoe would go up the bank after shooting through some rapids. I think they now know that canoes slide better in water. Alf and Kim tried to see how long they could stay sitting on top of a rock in the middle of another set of rapids. Eldon and Wayne tested out the flexibility of their Grumman whitewater canoe by getting caught crossways in some whitewater. Everyone had their battles with rocks hidden below the surface of the water. Eldon had everyone stop and go for a hike up a mountain (embankment) to see a field of crocuses. I think we saw three of them. Wayne stopped and picked up a large mammal bone that he thought might have come from an old buffalo (maybe from an old farmer’s cow). At coffee later at Tim’s on the hill pictures from the last two trips were viewed and discussed.

Submitted by Alf Stanley


Baldy Lake Bike Trip May 1 & 2

Five members went on the day run, only 20k, Alf, Janice, Judy, Kim, and Marilyn. Kim's bike broke down so Kim and Marilyn cut their trip short. The rest went on as far as Central trail, where we all had lunch and then they went back. There were 3 for the overnight, Verne, Mike Rossier, and Erin Loewen (new member - welcome). We went on another 4.5k, a total of 14.5k and camped on the grounds of a vacant Ranger station near Gunn Lake. It was cool, windy and trying to snow. By Saturday evening it calmed down and dropped to minus 10 overnight. Saturday afternoon we went South down an old Ranger trail for a 4k hike in some very scenic country. After supper went walked another k along a creek West of our camp. Sunday we hiked 4k into Gunn Lake. Lots of birds and animal sign and then we saw a big black bear in a tree. When he saw us he slid quickly down, watched us for a couple minutes and then ambled off into the woods. All in all a great weekend with great companions.

Submitted by Verne Kachkowski


Evening Canoe May 4

Pairings for the evening were Aaron and Donna, Verne and Brenda, Eldon and Maureen. Roger W paddled single and Arthur wowed us all with his kayak skills. Third swimmer of the year award goes to Verne, who slipped off the bank and into the waist deep water while trying get back in the canoe.

Cheers Eldon


Thursday Evening City Bike Tour May 6

It was a beautiful evening for biking. The city has some wonderful bike paths. Unfortunately no one showed up so Norma and I biked from the Discovery centre to Forbidden Flavours on 34th and Victoria, had an ice cream and a coffee and biked back home again. A good time was had by all.

Submitted by Verne Kachkowski


Orienteering May 8th

The orienteering course was set up by Muriel Gamey, from the Manitoba Orienteering Assoc., in the South end of the Brandon Hills. Ten people went on the early course after some basic instruction from Muriel. Members present were Donna Kulbacki, Verne, Kim, Marilyn, and Arthur and Shirley. Four non-members went along as well, hopefully prospective members. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day, a perfect day for a hike through the woods. This is a very scenic and hilly area with many trails so the walking was relatively easy. There were about 12 stations set up around the area and the object is to locate each one of them using compass bearings and a topographical map which is used to orient yourself so that you travel in the right direction from station to station. It is somewhat of a challenge and is great fun. It also teaches you how to recognize land features that are shown on the map if you study it carefully. I am sure everyone that participated enjoyed it.

Submitted by Verne Kachkowski


Day Hike Gorge Creek Trail May 11th

It was a beautiful warm day on Mother’s Day when Mike R, Donna D, Richard D, Shirley A, Arthur A., Alf S, and Janis S. hiked Gorge Creek in Riding Mountain National Park. A black bear was sighted up in a tree but after a frightful yell by Arthur it ran away more scared than Arthur. Other sightings on the trail consisted of some snow on the walls of the gorge, some ice on the creek and a few violets starting to grow on the trail. The trail was in good shape except for a few blown down trees. Everyone enjoyed the scenic views from the east escarpment of Riding Mountain.
Submitted by Janis Stanley


Canoeing May 18th

It was a #10 night and the weather was beautiful. Eldon S & Jane T, Howard A & Sheila A, Donna K & Aaron K, and Lawrence D & Alf S in 4 canoes set off down the Little Saskatchewan River. A bald Eagle circled above the canoeists and landed high on the bank. It was as if he was watching to see if someone was going to get dumped. Two large white swans lifted off like a huge cargo plane, just gaining enough elevation to clear the canoes and land back in the river behind them. Many deer were seen as usual. Water levels are still staying high making for good canoeing

Submitted by Alf Stanley.


Canoeing May 25th

Eldon, Wayne, Norma and Verne were the only brave paddlers who showed up on a cool cloudy evening to canoe the river after a week of rainy weather. Reports were that the water level was up substantially and canoeing was excellent. No mishaps took place.


Whirlpool/Cowan Lake Hike May 29th

On Saturday, May 29th, Alf organized a hike from Whirlpool Lake to Cowan Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. Alf & Janis, Donna, Roger and Judy met for breakfast at the Wigwam Restaurant in Wasagaming, and then headed for the trail. It was a lovely spring day—just the right temperature for a walk in the park. We had lunch at Cowan Lake and hiked back, arriving at the Whirlpool campsite just as the rain began to fall. The Westman Wilderness Club really knows how to plan things!

Submitted by Judy Bartel


Evening Canoe June 1

There were five canoes this night. Two first time people were Paul McCaughey and Verne’s granddaughter Jodie. Brent and Laurence learned that they should have been wearing their sport glass savers. An expensive lesson when they both lost their prescription glasses the first time they lost control and went for a swim.

Eldon Schmitz


Evening Canoe June 8

Wow was the water high this evening. A result of all the rain. I don't think I have canoed the Little Saskatchewan River with so much water in it. The water was flowing over Kirkham's Rock. Paul had so much fun the previous week that he brought his wife Lynne out to give it a go. Roger Conrad and Kerry joined our three canoes with their kayaks. This was the last of our evening canoes for this year. With some luck and lots of snow next winter we will look forward to another great spring of canoeing next year.

Submitted by Eldon Schmitz


Overnight Canoe Trip - Little Saskatchewan River June 12 & 13

What a great weekend for a canoe trip! The weather was as good as it had been all spring when five canoes put in the water on Saturday afternoon just downstream from the Rivers dam. This would be Shane McCaugheys' first trip with the Wilderness Club. He joined his father Paul on this trip to gain some experience in the canoe. Also along were Aaron and Donna, Verne and Collin, Jane and

Marilyn, Wayne and myself. As it was in the last few weeks, the water was very high and easy to maneuver in. We stopped at Rogers' Camp for the night. Aaron and Donna found a fawn in our camp so we were all careful not to scare it. It was relaxing to sit by the fire and listen to the water flow past the camp. Some stats on the trip thanks to Aaron's GPS. Total time on the water 5 hours 15 minutes. Total distance traveled 26.6 miles. Average speed 5.1 miles per hour. Species seen during the weekend were many Canada Warblers, Redstarts, Great Horned Owl, the first Osprey I have ever seen in this River and a bird I had never seen anywhere before, a Great Egret. We are very fortunate to have this River so close and accessible. Think about joining us next year on this great trip.

Submitted by Eldon Schmitz


Canoe/Camping Trip to Crowduck Lake July 1-4

Seven members of the club went on the canoe trip to Crowduck Lake in the Whiteshell area. They were Paul & Shayne McCaughey, Jane Thornton, Marilyn Markortoff, Arthur Au, Norma Lenton and event leader Verne Kachkowski. Weather in general was good, except for some storms toward the end of the trip. We got the same campsite as last year, pleasing everyone as it was a great campsite. It even had a latrine. The fish were not co-operating this year or we are just poor fisherman. We made a 16 kilometre day trip to a rock island that was covered with pelicans and crowducks. Marilyn was able to get some excellent pictures there. Arthur who was kayaking did very well. He even did very well through the storm and rough waters on the way out to the parking lot. Arthur entertained everyone with his nice baritone voice singing Land of the Silver Birch. He is going to teach everyone the song. We had a nice treat of baked bannock and Norma’s homemade raspberry jam. Everyone had a great time and hope to do it again next year.

Submitted by Verne Kachkowski


Back pack trip in the Rockies, Kananaskis July 5-9

This year’s backpack trip out west turned out to be a very interesting, challenging and exciting trip. This does not surprise us as it was organized and led by Eldon Schmitz. Eldon is a long time and very experienced member of the club and his backpack trips are looked forward to every year by all members. This year’s trip was originally to be on the Rockwall trail system of B.C., but because of not being able to get reservations into the back country there, he conferred with Mike Klassen and came up with the Ribbon Lake/Lillian Lake trail . Mike had had some experience in this area while living in Calgary. There were 21 members of the club who took part in this trip; Four from Alberta and the remainder from Manitoba. Following are some of the insights as seen by members on the hike:

As a newcomer to the club taking part in the Kananaskis trip, I have to say it turned out to be an awesome experience. Not only did I really enjoy the group, but also the terrain and the scenery were magnificent. On the first night at the group camp, I had the privilege of having several of the group members come and help me set up my tent. Now, although I usually fare pretty good on my own, I must say this gesture made me feel welcome and it was quite appreciated!

Thinking back on the trip a few events really stand out in my mind: the climb over the cliffs, the weather, crossing over Guinn’s Pass, the Grizzlies near the Lillian Lake camp and the day hike to Galatea Lakes.

Climbing the chains was a part of the trail that many of us either dreaded or were at least a little apprehensive about. For some it was an exercise in trust (of others and of self), for others it was a physical challenge, and for the few endowed with the climbing abilities of apes, it was fun. I even overheard one group member saying he believed he was having a spiritual experience and that he had felt the hand of God lifting him up as he struggled to climb over a bump in the wall… until he looked up and saw that God was Greg. All kidding aside, I think all of us who were unable to climb up with our packs are very grateful to those who so kindly carried them up for us. Thank you to all the apes in the bunch!
The weather on this trip was quite reliable. It was crummy the WHOLE time. At first I worried that rain would put a damper on the trip, however, the great company and all the humor and kidding around that came with it prevented that from happening. Also, even though I can’t say I’m super keen on hiking in incessant rain, I did really find the snowfall going up Guinn’s Pass sort of fun. The wind and snow gave the landscape an even wilder feel as we hiked up, and when some of us reached top and it stopped, it was quite breathtaking to see the cloud cover quickly move on to reveal the neighboring peaks and the valley below with all it’s green and wildflowers.

At Lillian Lake we had the privilege of observing two grizzlies feeding on the slope above the camp. It was really special to be able to watch them for such a long time going about their business on their own turf.

Finally, on our last day before hiking out of the bush we took a day hike up to Galatea Lakes. Being up there almost felt like being on another planet. The vegetation was very unique (found some fluorescent orange lichen growing profusely out of a pile of bear scat!), there were many tiny wildflowers and what seemed like dozens of different types of mosses and lichens. The weather was brutal. Wind and snow pelted us in the face but it gave even more character to the spectacular surroundings. The pristine blue water of the lakes still had chunks of ice floating in it and looked like it might stay that way for some weeks to come.

Aside from what I’ve already mentioned. I think we all enjoyed meal times and all the banter and chatter that came with them. After seeing all those stoves being lit I’m still amazed at the fact that we all still have our eyebrows and our hair. I also still have a hard time believing that my pack was said to be the heaviest of all after seeing what some of the others had for kitchen gear and food (among other things). Where do you people stash it all? It was amazing!

Anyways, I’m already looking forward to next summer and in the meantime I can’t wait until the next time I get the opportunity to take part in an activity.

Sylvie Labossiere


Guinn's Pass 7940ft (2420m) Buller Pass 8104ft (2470m)

The parking lot was approximately 1500m. We made a gain of almost a 1000m (around 3000ft) from parking lot to Guinn's Pass/Buller Pass. Pretty decent for a bunch of people living close to 5-600m year round. Ribbon Lake and Lillian Lake each sat close to 2000m each. The mountain peaks that surrounded us during most of the trip were usually over 10, 000 ft in height. I wish the weather could have been better and we could have knocked one of them off.

The highlight of our trip was definitely the grizzly experience. Erika's fear was put to rest for a few hours watching those incredible animals in their natural habitat. The paw prints around the campsite didn't help her sleep but it was an excellent experience for us both. We really enjoyed Guinn's Pass.
Erika never thought she would see something like that. The pictures I had brought home in the past just never did justice to the immense beauty of K-Country. Now that she has experienced it first hand, she wants us to return next year to do a few of our own trips

Mike and Erika Klassen

Yes we did thoroughly enjoy the trip. Weather and all. The company was also enjoyed. It is always nice to get to know people a little better. (Heard some good jokes). Aaron says he enjoyed going up the chained wall (I did too) and assisting with anyone who needed it. He also enjoyed the Cut Throat Trout fishing with his stick and line at Lillian Lake. The fish head soup was good too. Right everyone! Myself, the day hike to the Galatea Lakes was something special. The scenery was amazing and the Upper Lake was still filled with ice. We also enjoyed the slight snowstorm we encountered walking across the snowfield in Guinn’s Pass and sliding down the snow patches using my Poncho as a crazy carpet, coming down the other side of the pass. Guinn’s Pass was incredible. For a while we felt we were on Mt. Everest not amateur alpine hikersGreat trip, glad we were part of it.

Aaron and Donna Kulbacki


The first thought that comes to mind is "CHAIN GANG

"I have been on several roller coasters but found the cliffs with chains the most challenging from a fear stand point. It was a thrill for me to be having the opportunity to transcend challenging mountain trails as well as interact with an interesting and diverse group of individuals. I can hardly wait till nextear!"

Wayne Schmitz

My thoughts on the hike... Between the rain, sleet, thunder, snow and more rain it was still fun. I feel a bad day of hiking is still better than a good day at work. It will be a hike to remember especially the short day hike that I thought would be about half an hour long. At least it wasn't raining when we were at the chains that would have sent some people packing back to Ribbon falls. It would have been better if we were informed a little more of what to expect. The way I see it, an informed hiker is a happy hiker! The pass was a hard haul. I found out the hiking poles I use are no good in snow; I need to put the pads on the bottom so they don't sink in as far. . Lillian Lake was a nice lake to go to especially for the fisherman (Aaron). He was sure a happy fisherman. This hike we saw way more wild life, Black bears, Grizzlies, Moose, Deer, Big horn sheep, goats, Many birds and Fish. It was great watching the grizzlies as they ate up the side of the hill. The day hike to the Galatea Lakes was a good hike, although it was only about 2 kms. to the farthest lake we went up about 300 meters. Fred and I went up another 150 meters. It was through snow but worth the scramble up to the highest point, the view was better than you could get on camera. Even up there the flowers were poking through the snow. As we were coming down it started to snow, so it was time to look for a sheltered spot for lunch and then head back to camp. The morning of the hike out was nice and sunny, you never know when the right time to go on a hike with the perfect weather will be, you just go and hope for the best. We got to the car at 11:30 am. That didn't matter the beer was still mighty tasty! Happy trails.

Greg. Neustedar

What an enjoyable experience that hike was. A little rain and snow could not take away from the beautiful scenery. A particularly tough slug up to the pass but a view that was rewarding. Nice to meet the new folks or new to us anyway. Hope to do something like this again sometime

George Baker

We found the backpack trip on the Ribbon Lake/Lillian Lake trail very exciting, exhilarating and at times a little scary. It is said that one should do something different every year, which pushes one’s limits beyond their comfort zone to keep life from getting boring. This was definitely one of those occasions. We will now be able to meet the challenges of life for the next year with new energy and vigor because of this experience.

Alf and Janis Stanley

We enjoyed the whole trip--even the rain. The highlight for me was once again going on a trip with such experienced "wilderness people" who, despite their own skills and abilities, always slow down for the less experienced of us and make us feel that we're not a burden. From the moment I read about THE CLIFF, I thought about it with trepidation, but "a little bit of help from my friends", made it doable. I don't like to think about how soggy the trip would have been without the roof building expertise and preparedness of the Wilderness Club members.

Judy Bartel


Annual Meeting and Potluck Supper July 21

This years annual meeting and potluck supper was held at Verne and Norma’s home. It was a pot luck supper and as usual the food was scrumptious and plentiful. We had 40 people out for the meeting and a new executive was voted in. The new executive are as follows: Alf Stanley –past president; Verne Kachkowski –president; Eldon Schmitz- Marketing and public relations; Secretary Arnold McFadden; Treasurer -Roger Bright; and Mike Klassen- Vice president. After the annual meeting the planning meeting took place and a full slate of fall events were planned. The club is in a very strong position with over 135 members and a strong group of event leaders willing to lead a variety of events.

Submitted by Alf Stanley


Mantario Trail Backpack July 24 - 26

Six members headed out Saturday morning on the Mantario trail with trip leader Sylvie leading the way. Fortunately for us she had been there before and knew the way so we did not get lost. The hike in felt strenuous, climbing up some fairly steep sections and it was getting hotter! But, alas we got there and it was great. Swimming in the lake, baking on the rocks, fishing (Aaron and Donna caught several pickerel) and more swimming. Someone had left an aluminum boat on the shore, no paddles or oars but it wasn't long before someone thought of everyone getting in and using our plates for paddles. Couldn't believe how fast we moved across the lake. Lots of laughs too

Linda Boys

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