Crowduck Lake Canoe & Camping July Long Weekend
On the July long weekend 13 adventurous souls spent 3 days camping and canoeing at Crowduck Lake. They were Verne, Norma, Aaron, Donna, Colin, Glen, Sylvie and sister Danielle, Marilyn, and non-members Camill Brodeur, Chris Noto, Jeanette Madhosing, and Louise Desharnais.
We got lucky with the weather, it rained every night but the days were warm and sunny. Even the mosquitoes were not as bad as we had expected. The canoeing conditions were good, we had 6 canoes and a kayak and the passage was good except for the last mile when the lake started getting choppy, but it was still passable.
The fishing was exceptional; we were catching and releasing pickerel one after the other, some as long as 23 inches. We also caught some pike and bass for a fish fry and some fish chowder, which we had with bannock.
The 3/4k portage into Crowduck from Big Whiteshell was even worse than usual due to the rainy season. The first part was up a steep hill and the trail was mostly a deep ditch full of mud and rocks and then it got worse from there. The last 100 yards was a boggy area with mud up to our knees and needless to say that because of carrying heavy packs through it some people also fell into it. Some people made 3 trips by the time we got all the canoes and gear across. We all treated it as an adventure and had great fun in the mud. Mud wrestling was instigated by Donna, (Donna lost).
Everyone went swimming and Donna organized a swimming relay race using Canada Day balloons for batons and no winner was declared. After the swimming we retired to a large rock, which we call The Hard Rock Cafe, and had appetizers and 'refreshments'.
With the pristine northern surroundings, the camaraderie, the good food and great weather we had a memorable trip.
Submitted by Verne Kachkowski
Bike Trip July 6
Bike trip organized by Shannon with assistance from Marg. Turnout was low, likely due to the weekday time slot. Three riders - Shannon, Marg and Bill - left Virden about 11 A.M. in good weather conditions, cloudy but quite warm. At the beginning of the ride there is a fast descent into the Assiniboine River valley and a SLOW ascent up the other side, but very scenic. We stopped for a quick lunch at the Lenore Cemetery area and then did a quick tour of the town of Lenore, a vibrant community at one time but like a lot of small towns, slowly declining, but still interesting. We arrived at Kenton for lunch at about 2 PM after 24 miles/40km of pleasant, scenic riding on pavement, with little traffic. Bill then hopped a ride back to Brandon with the pace car driven by Carol, and Shannon and Marg returned to Virden (round trip about 50 miles or 80 km). All in all a great trip and thanks to the organizers, we look forward to the next one.
Eternal Springs Bike Ride July 23
Attending this event were Carol and Bill Stadnyk, Grace and Terje Hellebakke, Bob Mason, Norma Lennon, Verne Kachkowski, Judy Bartel, Bert Phillips, Marg Nestor, and Shannon Kent. Marg and Shannon led the ride from Virden down mostly gravel and dirt roads. We stopped at the cairn which marked the approximate site of the HBC trading post, Fort La Bosse a la Montagne. We continued down a short series of switchbacks into the Assiniboine Valley, and crossed the Assiniboine River on an old metal bridge. Just before reaching the midpoint of our trip - the rest area that is called “Eternal Springs” - we made a quick stop at the actual springs, a continuous stream of cool, fresh water. We had lunch at Eternal Springs, and then wandered into the gorge and crossed the swinging bridge. It was back down the valley road towards town, but we turned north at the bridge and rode a back trail to the River Valley School. After checking out the old stone school and trying out the swings, we attacked the last big valley hill and ended up at Shannon’s for refreshments, games and potluck. The entire trip was 40 km of scenic, natural beauty, good weather, and great camaraderie.
Day Hike July 24
(Criddle/Vane Heritage Research Farm)
Thanks to Donna and Aaron whom coordinated a step back into time to visit the Criddle/Vane Heritage Research Farm, which is situated, on Highway 340 near Treesbank. In attendance were Linda, Heather, Janis, Judy, Bert, Sheila, Howard, Donna, Aaron and Donna. After meeting at Aaron and Donna`s acreage we drove to the Criddle/ Vane Homestead. We were greeted there by Marg Trollope who is a great-granddaughter of the late Percy Criddle, the founder of this farm. She gave us a great tour and was able to share some very interesting stories of the people living there and their contributions to the farm. We then returned to Donna and Aaron’s home for a wiener roast and dessert prepared by Donna.
This is a very interesting story about immigration, life and hardships on the Prairies starting in the 1880`s. For all who were unable to share this experience you can read Alma Criddle`s book "Criddle-de-Diddle-Enesis" available from the Homestead Heritage Committee at Box 306, Glenboro, MB, ROK OXO. You can also visit
Bill and Carol’s Cottage July 30 - August 1
On a beautiful hot and sunny weekend, ten members gathered at Bill and Carol’s cottage on Rossburn lake. Di, Shannon Kent, Bob, Grace and Terje, Glen, Jackie and Fred, Judy and Bert arrived at varying intervals on the Saturday - and set up camp along side the lake (or up on the hill!). Set in 80 acres of beautiful wilderness with fantastic views of the lake - especially from the trails up behind the cottage - what more could you ask? We started with a short bike ride around the area, followed by a canoe on the lake. In the evening - having been joined by Sherri - we enjoyed a potluck supper and gathered around the fire. With Bill and Glen on the guitar - we sang until we could sing no more!
On Sunday, most of us set off on our bikes to Rossburn Cemetery - where the view over Birdtail Valley was spectacular. From there, the fit ones went on down into the valley and back along the railway track. The rest of us took the easier route back through Rossburn. It was extremely hot - but we still managed to clock 48 Km! Before supper, a few people went to visit the Marconi School, which has been preserved just as it had been in the older days - while others enjoyed a canoe. At this point, Donna and Aaron had arrived by boat to see how we were doing. Also, Robert Shwaluk arrived with 2 horses in tow! Several people had horseback rides around the cottage - thank you Robert and horses. Our evening was again spent around the fire - with a grand finale of fire works. Some left Sunday evening - others stayed until Monday.
In the morning, Bill was kind enough to give Grace, Terje, Shannon and Di a tour around the lake in his boat. You could really appreciate the tranquility and beauty of where we were. By then, I was so 'chilled out' - I was reluctant to go! Instead, I had a crash course using a chain saw - from my very patient instructor, Bill, and now have a beautiful 'WELCOME' log by my front door.
Thank you Bill and Carol for a wonderful weekend. Thank you, too, for all those things that made it perfect - including the tea lights leading us to our tents at night – your kindness, and for sharing it all with us.
Grass River Canoe Trip. August 6 - 10
I left Aug 6 and camped one night in the Duck Mountains on the way to Simonhouse Lake in the Grass River Provincial Park. I arrived in the park on Sunday afternoon and started canoeing in the early evening. I camped the first night on a rock island at the junction of Simonhouse and 2nd Cranberry Lake.
There was a big storm at night and it was windy in the morning so I just lazed around for the day, reading my book and soaking up the sun. The breeze kept the bugs away. Monday evening the wind died so I took off and made it to the government campsite on an island at the top of third Cranberry lake. Another beautiful spot!
Tuesday, I carried on to Elbow Lake where I had thought to do some exploring of abandoned mine sites. The wind was up, however, so I just tucked back into the Grass River and headed south. There are a couple of abandoned CN bridges to check out on this trip and three fairly easy portages downstream of the 2nd bridge. I found another island in Isquasum Lake and set up for the night. I had been canoeing for about 9 hours so I slept pretty well.
Wednesday was an easy canoe to the campground at Isquasum, landing around noon. I jogged the 20 kms back to Simonhouse for my truck and headed home. I was in Brandon by 3 am.
It was an amazing trip. I saw about 6 people the whole time, lots of birds, no critters other than a few otters. I didn't try any fishing but it looked like pretty fishy country. Beautiful scenery, beautiful weather. Lots of good campsites.
Rockwall Backpack August 29 - September 2
Rockwall Trail was an experience that required experience. The Club met at a secluded campsite equipped with cook shelter, outhouses, and amphitheatre around a large fire pit. After a warm up pre-hike to Dog Lake and two nights of fun- filled comradely song, stories, and one-liners we were ready for the Trail. Thank you ,Ron, for your guitar playing and song. (I still think the Elvis impression was best). We also saw Gourmet Cooking on a camp stove at its best. I really didn’t have to cook myself; we could have lived quite nicely on the leftovers!
Monday morning came with a morning mist; just enough to put a dampness on us all so starting the trail was delayed until we could dry out a little. My group consisted of Eldon, Wayne, George, Bert, Aaron, me, Collin, Chris, Sylvie, and Daniel. We started at the south end of the trail. Fred, Jackie, Lawrence, Arthur, Mike R., Ron, Caroline, and Sherri, started the trail at the north end.
It was a good thing we started with enthusiasm for as soon as we crossed Vermillion River up we went. This part of the trail was through the fire zone of two years past. The forest consisted of charred standing trees with pieces of burnt bark falling at will with the wind. Nice evasive manoeuvres, Eldon and Wayne! Others creaked as we strolled by. We enjoyed the view for you could see the lay of the land. That included the straight down view as we hiked the 38 switchback narrow trail ledges up to Floe Lake. It was awesome! (although I did have doubt about making it on switchback 16 then again on 28) Part of the trail consisted of avalanche zones that were cleared of trees. And that mountain stream was pretty impressive, eh, guys! The top last 10 switchbacks were gruelling and very slow going. Some of us were at Floe Lake, Bert being the first one, and some were still on the trail when the temperature dropped and the thunder cracked and roared and the rain, sleet, and hail came down. It was a grand to experience a high mountain storm. After what seemed like an hour but was probably about 35 min. the weather cleared enough for Bert, Aaron, and myself to hang some tarps for cover. Once everyone’s camp was up we gathered for supper under the tarp, for it was still raining, with one picnic table. Here we huddled and shivered and enjoyed our meal, (standing), and wondered what the rest of the club members back in Manitoba were doing now. (ha ha) The Warden’s Cabin and its occupants generously offered a spot for us to warm up in if we needed. Danielle was grateful for this. The chill was intense therefore we called it an early night.
The reward was spectacular, once it cleared enough for us to see it in the morning. Floe Lake could be compared to Lake Louise. It is a clear blue glacier lake including the glacier.
Tuesday we woke to dampness and chill. We knew we would have a fire tonight to dry so our spirits were good. The packs were a little heavier today, add 5lbs for wet tents. Everyone enjoyed some sight-seeing of Floe Lake before we hit the trail. The trail started with a gentle climb. Notto (Chris) seems to be a morning person and I was convinced he wasn’t carrying his share of the load for he started each day almost running. As we ascended the trail the sun managed to shine on us from time to time and we could look back to see Floe Lake, all of it. (The way the campground was set up in the trees and mountain, there was no one point that you could see the whole lake.) Once at Numa Pass we enjoyed lunch and spent some time wandering up the side of the pass to higher elevations. Numa Pass was extremely scenic, spacious, barren, high, a little windy, and thoroughly enjoyed. The view behind us consisted of Floe Lake and the view ahead displayed a mountain scene with the sun partially shining on the tops (which were below us) and sides of the mountains that had meadows and trees.Behind that ,through a slight cloud cover, we could get a glimpse of the rock wall. The descent was scenic as we made our way down switchbacks thru forest, stream, and mountain. We stopped to admire a very old large Larch tree (looked like it should belong in some Halloween horror show), enjoyed several views of a waterfall, and crossed a one log Bridge that bounced with every step. Camp was enjoyed by all with a fire to warm our outsides and a nip to warm our insides. Lines were soon strung and filled with clothing, bedding, etc. Wayne’s underwear dried quite nicely over the fire. Thank you to Collin for his fire starting skills and ability to ignore all other advice. Firewood was not provided by the park, we had to find wood (wet) and feed long lengths of trees into the fire, (Eldon didn’t pack an axe). Thanks to Bert for having the highest degree of pyromaniac skills. (maybe he was just cold?) A good night, lots of laughs!
Wednesday morning allowed more drying time and coffee time. That day, we had to make our way to Tumbling Glacier. Once we were on the trail we followed the stream as it flowed through what is known as the Bears Grocery Store. This area was very lush with vegetation and berries, but no bear was to be seen today. Then surprise! We have to climb again. We stopped for a snack by a stream that we rock hopped across, twice, I believe. The view was grand as we looked back down the trail. Then the real climb started as we hiked the switchbacks that go up the outer side of a pushed down moraine from the side of tumbling glacier. This area was stony and open yet the trail was so hidden we could not see it. The grade was quite steep so it was slow going. Once at the top of this we met up with our other group. We were sorry to hear the news that four members hiked out at Tumbling Creek. Here we exchanged stories of the trail behind us and stories to come. The meeting was brief for the trail was narrow and the weather was getting damp. From here we crossed a meadow filled with large boulders at random. (Easter Island) Some were as big and flat as a pool table. We looked for a spot to have lunch but every time we considered one, it started to rain so we continued on. Finally we found a dry creek bed out of the wind and the rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy a well-deserved and well-earned lunch. As we rounded the corner at the end of the rock garden we saw our reward - Tumbling Glacier and Rock Wall. Wow! Oh Wow!
Tumbling Glacier is huge and you can feel the cool air immediately. The Rock Wall is self-explanatory. It is a wall of rock. We hiked this part slowly, not because it was difficult but because it was so enjoyable and the scenery was fabulous. To the right of the trail was the mountain of vegetation, to the left we were separated from Tumbling Glacier and the Rock Wall by a huge ravine and moraine. We stopped and sat to admire our view. Once we reached a spot that was accessible to the moraine, with the guidance of Wayne, George and Bert, we deviated from the trail, descended the ravine and climbed up onto the moraine. Boy, did we feel small then! Sylvie abandoned her walking sticks to climb the moraine on all fours, as did I. After several minutes of awe and goggling we hiked the moraine past the glacier lake at the foot of Tumbling Glacier until we reached a point where we had to return to our trail to start our descent down. We descended through more larch trees and more switchbacks. This was truly a test of downhill hiking skills. Not only was the grade steep but also it was long. I myself was in pain. (I’m sure the other group had this same experience on their hike out from Floe Lake) Camp was a welcome sight for all. Once again we camped in sunshine and drying time. A game of crib was even enjoyed by Eldon, Wayne, George and Bert. The rest of us opted to just sit around, dry out and let our muscles heal. Collin tried to convince us that walking more helped with the pain and stiffness but I for one didn’t believe him.
(Interesting fact: The streams on this trail will be flowing then disappear. They travel an underground route then resurface later. At this campsite you had to go upstream about 100 m to get your water for the creek bed was dry downstream.)
Thursday we woke to a sunny morning and Columbian Ground Squirrels attending to their breakfast. The trail began with another steep climb out of the valley but this was a short climb. Soon we were crossing a meadow with some larch trees but still climbing slightly. We stopped to dress down, for the sun was shining brightly. The Rock Wall was to our left but this section was more of a shale slide from two mountains from which the Rock Wall is divided. Wolverine Pass lies between these mountains and is the only break in the Rock Wall. As we looked back we could still see Tumbling Glacier in all its glory. We stopped again to take the short hike off our trail to Wolverine Pass (.5km) to see what was on the other side of the rock wall. A beautiful deep valley meandered as far as you could see between mountains with lush vegetation on the lower slopes and rock mountains in the far backgrounds.
Once past Wolverine Pass, the Rock Wall in all its splendour reappeared as far as the eye could see. As we hiked, an alpine meadow with flowers appeared, plus lots of Indian paint brush, then past a warden station and we saw another glacier lake to which we were about to descend. We crossed the stream on a swinging bridge and followed it down to the lake. Here we stopped for lunch with the stream to our right and a moraine that hid the lake from us to our left. We spent some time climbing the huge boulders, one of which Bert was convinced if we all pushed we could send rolling down to the lake. We settled on a rock-throwing contest to see who could throw their rock in the lake. Aaron was the winner; the rest of us came up short. (by a lot). Here we also were entertained by a weasel popping in and out of the rocks for a curious look at us. From the lake we began to climb (gently) back up the mountain through Larch forest and high meadows. Here we saw a marmot sunning himself on a large rock. He was quite photogenic and didn’t seem to mind the attention.
We stopped on one of the high meadows and lay on our backs to look back along the rock wall; we could still see Tumbling Glacier, and gazed at the glaciers on top of the Rock Wall and a magnificent waterfall. The binoculars were well used here. (I discovered on our way home that what we were looking at was the edge of Washmawapta Ice field. It is the farthest south and east ice field in the Rockies.) Once we had Limestone Pass in our sights ahead of us we began to descend. The decent was quite steep and fairly long but by then we were well experienced at this. We had several excellent viewing points of Helmet Falls on our way down. Camp was set up after a short delay from the rain. Thanks to a grouping of large spruce trees we found a spot well sheltered from the rain and all shared a moment. Thanks to the cold evenings and being so tired we still had enough nip left over for this moment.
Friday, before we broke camp, except for Wayne and George who hiked out early, we took the short hike to the base of Helmet Falls. (Helmet Falls is the second largest waterfall in Canada). Here the guys played by the waterfall, climbing and scouting, while the girls sat and watched from afar. (we knew it was a long hike out today) Then the thunder roared and lightning flashed as we made a mad dash back to camp only to arrive too late as it poured rain and sleet once again. After we crossed the bridge over Helmet Creek at the beginning of the trail we saw a pair of Harlequin Ducks. The sun did shine on the way out. The trail was long but was a gentle descent. Once again the trail was a narrow path cut along the face of the mountain with Helmet creek below us to our left and forest and the mountain rising above us to our right. Some of us actually ran down some of the slopes. Aaron, Collin, Chris, Sylvie, Danielle and myself stopped for a snack along the trail before lunch and managed to convince Danielle that she smelled too! We stopped for lunch at Ochre Creek campsite where we cooled our feet in the ice water. This was the first time all week it was actually warm enough for us to even consider doing that. From there we could tell we were getting closer to civilization for we met 29 hikers on their way in and the trail was turning into a well manicured route. But just when we thought it was all over, we came across one more natural beauty, which was called the Paint Pots. This was a huge natural deposit of ochre, which is used for colouring and making pottery. The area was hard smooth red clay-type soil with a few ponds full of water that looked just like sunken pots. From here the hike out was short. Because I had stopped to wash my boots in the Vermillion River I was the last one out. There to meet us was Mike R. with camera in hand and the rest of the Club Members. (All clean and fresh looking I might add)
Once the group picture was taken and a beer was shared it was off to Banff to find a hotel for the night. After all had showered and rested, we then had a wonderful time in the lounge sharing stories and experiences. Everyone enjoyed a delicious full course meal of their choice. Ron directed some of us to an English Pub where we enjoyed more beer and some good Scottish music provided by a live band. Another end to a great Hike.
P.S. Thanks Bert for the piggyback ride down the hotel stairs. I don’t think I could have done it without you!
Rockwall Backpack – Group 2
Members: Mike, Fred, Jackie, Caroline, Ron, Lawrence, Arthur, Sherri Our first two nights at the group use camping at Crooks Meadows was a good introduction to the week of adventure ahead. You would not even have known we were camping with all of the fantastic meals that were prepared. On Saturday and Sunday evening we were entertained by the various talents of our group, and Ron's fabulous guitar playing. Arthur Au taught us a new song and it became our theme song for the week. attached. Please ask anyone at our next planning meeting to sing Land of the Silver Birch for you as it is truly Canadian and quite a theme song for any Westman Wilderness Club adventure.
On Monday morning Group Two set out for the Paint Pots parking lot off Highway #93. This was the start of our trailhead into Helmet Falls. The first day was roughly 14.6K and relatively easy gentle climbing. Our first climb was around Ochre Springs with its spectacular red clay. We managed to arrive at Helmet Falls after 6 hours and unfortunately we had to set up camp in a thunderstorm. This was a rude awaking on our first night on the trail. We all managed to get some supper and an early night of sleep due to the rain and cold temperatures.
We awoke to some dampness and cool morning, but thankfully no rain and we prepared to depart for Tumbling Creek. The next section was again about a 6-hour hike from Helmet Falls to Tumbling Creek. In our first 3 hours we were privileged to see the awesome beauty of the Rock Wall, with a few waterfall views from Helmet Falls. We managed to keep our rain gear close and did get to cover some amazing country by hiking the Rock Wall Pass (2240 meters). We traveled over some steep terrain with many ups and downs, for some us the downs on the switchbacks were just as hard as the ups. Our night at Tumbling Falls was wet and cold, and without Mike’s silk tarp we would have had to cook in the rain. We had many short rain showers to remind us were in the mountains. The fortunate thing about Tumbling Creek was we were able to speak to other fellow campers who came in via an alternate 12 km hike from Paint Pots. Due to the nasty weather and tough terrain; Mike, Caroline, Ron and Sheri decided to leave our group on Wednesday morning and hike out. These decisions were hard ones but necessary as some were feeling the first signs of hypothermia and the strain of the terrain we had encountered. Fred, Lawrence, Arthur and myself decided to carry on and meet up with Group 1 to inform them of our decision and that everyone was OK.
From Tumbling Creek we had one mile steep uphill and then some easier hiking over Tumbling Pass down to Numa Creek. The rocks and moraine of Tumbling Pass motivated us to push on down towards Numa Creek. We met up with Group One who informed us the coals were still warm down at camp. We were motivated to get to camp early in order to get our clothing and tents dry from the previous two days. Day three was 7.1 K and it took us about 4 hours. We were able to set up camp by 3:00P.M. which left us plenty of time to dry out our clothes and get a good fire going. During this day we met many other hikers, which motivated us as we shared stories of the trail and adventures. As for our other members of the group that left at Tumbling Creek, they were able to partake in a warm shower and a great meal in Banff. I think this thought kept playing over in my mind as the words, “hot tub”, and “Chalet” seemed very appealing. Once we were able to dry out at Numa Creek and had a good night's sleep, I soon forgot about hot showers and Chalets until Friday morning.
We left Numa Creek around 9:30 on Thursday morning, and I think this was our best day. We all mentally prepared ourselves for the tough climb ahead over Numa Pass and down to Floe Lake. The climb up to Numa Pass was about 2355 metres, but well worth it as the view of Floe Lake takes your breath away - a sight that left us speechless. I kept saying to Fred, “ the last few days of bad weather were all worth it for this view”. We took some time to enjoy the beauty and take some photos. This was our biggest accomplishment of the hike and well worth the effort. Our hike down from Numa pass to Floe lake was rather fun, as we were all in good spirits, and happy to have finished our toughest climb. Once at Floe Lake we were awestruck with the glacier lake and its beauty. We went for a short hike in the evening around the lake, to get a closer look at the glacier feeds into the lake. That evening we had rain once again and the wind at that height of 2040 metres was powerful, but we were all tucked in for the night, sleeping and appreciating our 4-day accomplishment.
Our last day was roughly 9K straight down with some very steep descents to Floe Lake trailhead. Unfortunately Arthur had some berries we did not recognize, and this made him very ill in the last hour of the hike. It took about 4 hours for them to pass through his system, and Fred, Lawrence and myself were amazed at his ability to continue to hike at a fast pace between bouts of getting ill. Once back the parking lot (Floe Lake Trailhead), we gave ourselves a “pat on the back” and returned to Paint Pots parking lot to meet up with the others.
We all celebrated that evening in Banff first with hot showers and a great meal at Melissa’s Restaurant. Mike, Sherri, Caroline and Ron had made the reservation for our group ahead of time, and this was very much appreciated as we all wanted a warm bed and hot shower for our last night in the mountains. We departed for Manitoba the next morning ready and rested for our journey back over the prairies. I would like to personally thank Eldon for organizing this amazing hike. His hard work and coordination should not go unnoticed. He also used his van to drive some of us out from Brandon, and I thank him for the safe return trip. I would also like to thank Caroline and Ron for the memorable coaster. Lastly, I wish to thank Fred, Lawrence and Arthur for helping me get down some of those steep descents. Until, next year.....”keep fit and never eat bear food”
Takakkaw Falls and Yoho Valley September 2005
There were 6 hikers on this trip - Verne and Norma, Sherry, Mike, Bill and Carol. Mike and Sherry arrived fresh from the Rockwall hike, Verne and Norma from hiking in the Jasper area, and Bill and Carol from hiking in the Mt. Revelstoke and Banff area (where they were surprised by black bear(s) beside the trail while biking). We all met at Takakkaw Falls parking lot on Sept 4 and transferred our tenting/hiking equipment to the campground via a bicycle wheeled cart. We had campsites 1 & 3, which we named the "Million Dollar Campsites" as they were located at the base of Takakkaw Falls with a superb view of the falls accompanied by it's sound effects. Our first hike was to Laughing Falls on Sept 5th.
On Sept 6th, we traveled to Emerald Lake and hiked the Emerald Lake Basin --what a picturesque area! We hiked Wapta Falls on Sept 7 with stunning views of this Kicking Horse River gem. On Sept 8th we did our final hike on the Iceline Trail starting out from the Whiskey Jack Hostel area near Takakkaw Falls. After a 725 meter climb (Bill figures it is equivalent to climbing a 20 story building!) we reached the upper area and had a breathtaking view of the nearby mountains as well as the valley that our campsite was in (photo op heaven)!
After about 4km, and reaching the glaciers, we decided to turn back as a large snow squall was approaching and common sense dictated we not get disoriented at that altitude. We did, however, traverse one of the most scenic parts of the trail and were more than satisfied. The weather began a turn for the worse that evening as showers began. On Sept 9th we packed up in less than dry conditions and headed to the International Hostel at Lake Louise (an excellent choice) for lunch and then headed our separate ways.
All in all, SUPER hikes with weather conditions ideal throughout, which made the hikes well worth our travel to BC. Thanks to Verne and Norma for organizing this great outing in Yoho National Park.
Submitted by Bill Stadnyk
Grey Owl Trail September 10
The first of the fall hikes in Riding Mountain was very enjoyable. It was sunny and the fall colors were beginning to show. Roger, Cheryl, Linda, Sally, Tom, Bert, Judy, Alf and Janis hiked the 17.8 km trail sharing it with two other hikers, some bikers, and a few pesky mosquitoes. The best wildlife sighting was before the hike when Roger, Cheryl, and Linda watched 3 moose at the salt block in front of Winger’s cottage
Orienteering September 17
Six members of the Westman Wilderness club met at Kiche Manitou Campground in Spruce Woods Provincial Park to try out the permanent orienteering trail. It was a moderately challenging course taking a little over two hours for novices (all of us). Overall, a great introduction to the sport. The park was in fall glory and we had a campfire and socialized for a while after completing the course.
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Day Hike September 18
Four members met on the boundary of the Riding Mountains for a day hike along the east escarpment near the town of Riding Mountain. What a day it was - no wind, 18C, and sunny! The trees were amazing with the fall colors and under growth disappearing, making for great viewing. I was sure I could see Lake Manitoba to the east. After a 3.5 hour hike and exploring of future hiking area with the vehicle, Terje, Grace, Janis and Alf returned to Grace's multi-view farm for cool drinks. It was great day and thanks to Grace for planning it.
Day Hike to Turtle’s Hump September 24
A group of eleven of us met in Boissevain at the Irvin Goodon Museum. Donna K had made arrangements for someone to meet us there and give us a tour of the museum. We were fortunate to have Irvin himself show us his museum of different animals, mostly North American and some from New Zealand that he has hunted in the past. They were all nicely displayed in their own alcove with scenery painted depicting their natural habitat. There is also a very unique gift shop at the end of the tour. Irvin asked one of his family to come and make us fry bread at the log cabin located in the same parking lot. Combined with fresh coffee cooked over an open fire it made for an excellent snack. We then took a quick tour of the Motel across the street, which is also owned by the Goodon family. After all this, Irvin was happy to give us a tour of his beautiful log home just out of town. This is a magnificent log home built up on a hill looking over a valley.
After a pleasant morning spent with Irvin, we finally drove to William Lake to begin our hike up to the Turtles Back. It’s a 3.5 km hike up to a viewing tower. We had a perfect fall day for hiking through pastureland that was showing all the beautiful colors of fall. Once at the top of the tower we had a view of the surrounding lakes, the town of Boissevain and south to the Peace Tower at the Peace Gardens. Another 3.5 km and we were back at our cars and on our way home after a very enjoyable day in the Turtle Mountains. Thank you Donna for a great hike.
Bald Hill Trail Tips October 2
We did this trail under the able leadership of Jim Wilkie. The hike took 5.5 hours including our lunch stop and some other small breaks. The hike starts at the Bald Hill trailhead, located off of #5 Highway. The trail starts with a gradual uphill hike through a bush and treed area, eventually winding up at a “T” junction. At the T-junction we proceeded to the left and ended up on an overlook, which gave us a view of Bald Hill. We then “bush wacked” through a heavily treed area until we arrived at the base of Bald Hill. At this point we ad lunch and then climbed the shale area to the top of the hill. The return journey followed a small river back to a junction, which then took us back to the trailhead. Twenty-five hikers took part in the hike. Bald Hill is located in the eastern part of RMNP.