Yesterday was awesome, we spent the day walking trails, and just resting in the beautiful sunshine. Without trees on our campsite, there was no way for Matt to hang tarp to provide some shade. He did do his best attaching two very large umbrellas on the roof of the RAV4, but by the next day I was pretty sure, my eyes were sun burnt. I should have been wearing my sunglasses for protection. I learned the hard way, my eyes were quite sore for a good week afterwards.
Before we left for Calgary, Matt hiked up a large mountain, I stayed at camp, packing up, knowing I would not be able to complete that particular hike. The video he shot really showed how wide-ranging the badlands are, covering 8,086 hectares.
Mileage 3625 kilometres. We took a scenic drive towards Calgary because I wanted to make a stop in Drumheller to visit a few stores. Matt wanted a dinosaur shirt, and ended up buying one that glows in the dark. He has a thing for t-shirts with animals prints.
Here are a few pictures from the day:
We arrived in Calgary in no time at all. The main reason for visiting Calgary was to see my lovely friend Nicole, owner and writer of Girl in a Boy House.
Neither Matt nor I have ever been to Calgary, so Nicole drove us around, giving us a brief history of the city, then it was off for a walk in Nose Hill Natural Environment Park with Nicole’s dog Barclay. In the background are the Rockies. After our walk, we headed back to Nicole’s, where she took the time to make us a nice meal. Soon her husband arrived home from work, and the evening was spent having a few drinks, and chatting. It was an early night for us though, excited about reaching our next destination.
We started the day driving at 8:35 am, mileage 2475 kilometres, with the goal of reaching Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. Friends of ours, had warned me that the prairies are just plain boring, and after driving for a few hours, we would want nothing else but to be done with them. Well, we found the exact opposite, the prairies are radiant, the acres and acres of canola were glowing amongst the grasslands and the bright blue skies.
As we drove towards Buffalo Provincial Park, the landscape changed dramatically, we were once again overwhelmed with the beauty.
After setting up our tent, having some lunch, we were ready for a swim in the lake. The lake is 35 kilometres long, and 2 kilometres wide. When you first enter the water, we had to walk through quite a bit of seaweed, gross, but once in the water, we found it very cold and refreshing. As usual, Matt was far braver than I in the water. I basically ran in, quickly dunked myself, than ran out faster! It was cold!
Days six and seven had us driving from West Hawk Lake Campground to Winnipeg, Manitoba then Shady Oaks RV Resort and Campground just off of highway one.
Winnipeg was our only city destination, our son, who had visited the city a year ago, recommended we make a stop at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We spent the first half of the day exploring each floor of the museum. The architecture is modern, almost construction like on the inside, with a centre ramp to each floor. As you ride up the elevator, one side displays the inside of the museum while the other offers views of the Red River and Assiniboine River.
Human Rights obviously differ from country to country, but as the sign above states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Sadly though even in present time, this is not the case for all. The museum gives you a history of human rights, not just in Canada, but the world. Visitors may find some of the displays quite distressing, yet one should try to remember how far we have come in fighting for rights of others.
After the museum, we spent some time exploring the area, walking along the rivers.Earlier in the day, we had asked middle child to find us a hotel near the museum that would not break the bank. Neither Matt nor I are fans of hotels, preferring to sleep in a tent with our fifteen inch air mattress. When we arrived at the hotel, there was hesitation in our minds immediately, but both of us were exhausted from the long day, in need of showers, and I wanted to do some of our laundry. I was first to have a shower while Matt brought in more of our belongings, and went for ice to fill our cooler. Terrified of bringing home bed bugs, I continued to inspect the room while Matt had his shower. I then noticed that the box spring of the bed was wrapped in a plastic covering (ripped in the corners) which instantly sent warning signals to my brain.
As Matt went to fill the ice bucket again, I scoured the internet for information on which hotels had been noted for critters running around, and not to my surprise this hotel was listed. The minute he returned, both of us spoke simultaneously stating “we’re leaving”. Apparently while he was retrieving ice, an individual horked a wad of phlegm in the stairwell only a few feet in front of him!
We still had to wait for our laundry to finish, in the meantime though, Matt put our belongings back in the car. Once it was finished, we went to the front desk to check out, and since we had been in the room for approximately three hours, the woman at the desk stated she would have to charge us $100 dollars and change. At this point Matt and I did not care, we paid the bill, and practically ran to our vehicle across the street where it was parked in a parkade. Parking was not included with the hotel, and naturally the machine decided to have a hissy fit by spitting out our twenty-dollar bill over and over again (I did not want to insert our credit card into the machine, as I was afraid it would eat it). While Matt set off to find someone to pay, I had a view of the front entrance, and watched as Security physically threw out what appeared to be a prostitute, as her friend/pimp held her purse/bag a few feet away from her.
Back on highway one, we just drove, having no idea where we were going to stay for the night. The nearby provincial parks were day use only, so we drove and drove. Finally we saw a sign for ‘Shady Oaks RV Resort and Campground’ just past Portage la Prairie. This was mainly a campground for RV’s, but there were a few spots for tents at the very back of the lot, surrounded by trees, giving us some privacy.
After setting up our tent, I went on a hunt for drinkable water. As I walked around the campground, I found it quite astonishing the number of RV’s at this place, minutes from the highway, with no beach, just a pool surrounded by high wooden walls and not a tree in sight. The washroom and showers were so old, some of the bolts holding the toilets to the floor were loose, so every time you sat down, you were unsure if it would actually tip over. Overall, the woman who ran the place was very nice, and the night only cost us $20.
Next Buffalo Pound Provincial Park to meet a blogging friend of mine.