Home > Uncategorized > ‘Chased out of Manitoba…’ Selkirk to West Hawk Lake

‘Chased out of Manitoba…’ Selkirk to West Hawk Lake

The day was full of promise: bright sunshine, low 20’s, still. Nieka prepared a great breakfast in her and Chelsea’s room. Everyone provisioned up for the long ride – 158 km – with a sense that this would be a long day, but fun.

The headwind showed up a short time later. And to put it plainly, it only went away for about 20 km. The rest of the day it was in our face. Mocking us.

Still, much of the ride was fun, with interesting sights and diversions. Then an 18-wheeler zoomed about 50 cm away while blowing is earth-shattering horn…for no good reason! Landen and I were pressed to the edge of the shoulder-less road, and there was NO ONE coming in the opposite direction!

The bakery-restaurant –B&B in Whitemouth was the day’s highlight. Coming at around the halfway mark it gave us wonderful food and a needed and earned rest.

Onward. This was about our tenth day of riding through mostly flat terrain, covered with fields of various crops, or fruit trees, or pasture. And this was about to change…almost instantly. As we approached the provincial park at the easternmost corner of Manitoba three things happened: (1) the road became very poor; (2) we saw a big sign announcing that we were entering the Canadian Shield, a massive rock formation stretching hundreds of kilometres, supposedly created by the impact of a meteor; and (3) we attracted an army of followers. They danced around us in wild abandon, flying around the bikes, through the spokes and the frame, under and over us…each the size of my thumbnail and truly menacing to the initiated: HORSE FLIES! The flash and buzz  of tens of little bodies is truly menacing, once you have experienced their bites! And they kept up with us no matter how fast we went! On some of the down-hills we exceeded 40 kph – and yet there they were! Landen and I took turns spotting for each other, indicating where they had landed (“upper left shoulder…there, you got him!”)

We made a brief pit stop. They disappeared! It was as if they considered us less desirable when we were still! Perhaps some evolutionary element that links vigorous activity to better blood?

As we relieved ourselves there was a crash in the wood beside us and a very large elk bounded out and crossed the road in three hops. And was gone.

We were nearing the park. And the road had become more potholes than ride-able surface. This was soon addressed by a work crew smothering the old chaos under a fresh blanket of thick, black, steaming asphalt. The flagman motioned us forward. As soon as my wheels hit the fresh blacktop it was as if the road was trying to drag me under, with millions of miniscule suction cups! We struggled to maintain our balance while rapidly getting covered by fine tar and gravel particles.

The campsite was fine, complete with well-situated showers and toilets and families of deer that walked through the camp as if they owned the place! A mother with two young ones visited several of the sites. A couple of adults meandered about, without a worry in the world. Funny how they have come to realize that they are protected in this area.

At night the temperature dropped to 9C – I woke up on two occasions and added layers. And accumulated almost 10 hours of sleep!

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

imageRed River flood plane. In 2007 it overflowed — they thought it was the Flood of the Century. This year’s floods were the worst in … 300 years!
imageRed River flood plane — the other side
imageLooks like a flooded field — that is what I thought it was, from a distance. Turned out to be a field of lavender!
imageLavender field
imageWonderful bakery – restaurant – B&B in Whitemouth
imageOh deer!


Looking for toast!

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