July 1st-4th: Another Week, Another Province, and Planning For My Life.

Four cycling days and two rest days after saying hello to Manitoba, it is already behind me. The Keystone Province flew by in a flash… And nearly the last thing I witnessed before leaving was a flash of lightning!

Winnipeg was an appropriate spot to spend Canada Day, about halfway into my journey both in distance and time. I reflected on how each day on the road has been its own “Canada Day” for me, filled with different aspects of our incredible nation.

After treating his mother, my Great Aunt Shirley, to brunch, Cousin Once Removed Colin and I ventured to The Forks to check out the Canada Day afternoon festivities.

Three generations of Johnstons represented here!

Later that night Colin and I took in some entrancing fireworks at Assiniboine Park, near the home of him and his wife Pam.

I set out Sunday morning, complete with groceries and eagerness to witness an area I’d been told is the gem of Manitoba. Whiteshell Provincial Park is full of popular campgrounds and Manitobans’ summer homes along its 13 lakes. The winding highway was a definite detour to finish off the province, but scenery didn’t disappoint.

Me and Seven Sisters? Dam!
View of Natalie Lake from the Seven Sisters hydro dam.
Found the Trans Canada Trail along Natalie Lake.
This section of trail is non-motorized. Excellent!
The Whiteshell Bridge, opened in 2010 to connect Nutimik Lake Campground to Sturgeon Falls across the Whiteshell River for pedestrians… And cyclists too!

Nearing the end of my Sunday, I bumped into an aid station for the Canadian 150 Ultra. While the Trail Run Manitoba volunteers were impressed at my feat, I was baffled to hear the racers travel 150 miles by foot over the long weekend! They insisted they were up to their ears in supplies, so loaded me up with granola bars, energy gels, and a couple sandwiches to go!

Trail Run Manitoba’s aid station, which became my aid station too!

I enjoyed Whiteshell Provincial Park over two days, camping on the Trans Canada Trail near Otter Falls and then West Hawk Lake Provincial Campground. I didn’t doubt I’d entered the Canadian Shield, suddenly cycling through hilly terrain surrounded by rocky outcrops and thick forests.

Cute pond near Otter Falls.
There’s oodles of flies around here, and they bite too! To whoever invented bug spray, I salute you.
Great view of West Hawk Lake after a short hike.

My midday Tuesday crossing of the provincial border came with a booming thunderstorm. While most drivers probably questioned my sanity, I remained mostly dry thanks to my sublime rain gear – kudos MEC!

If drivers didn’t think I was crazy for riding through the storm, they definitely did as I paused for this obligatory selfie!

That afternoon I reached Kenora, where I would finalize my extensive research on how to get to Thunder Bay. Lake Of The Woods is pretty cool, with its many small tree-filled islands. As thunderstorms returned that evening, I dried out in a motel rather than soaking my tent. 

Admiring Lake Of The Woods in Kenora.
“This Might Be A Good Night To Sleep Inside” – Part 1.
“This Might Be A Good Night To Sleep Inside” – Part 2.
Figured out how to replace my chain in my motel room! Perfect time to do it, and shortly after it exceeded the 1000-km lifetime suggested by the Saskatoon Bike Doctor.

Despite inklings of significant recent shoulder improvements, I’d heard the horror stories of the narrow, truck-filled highway 17. The general consensus I gathered is highways 71 and 11 via Fort Frances on the US Border will produce a more peaceful and safer ride. Thanks to the incredible interwebs, three Thunder Bay cyclists I found on Warmshowers, and several Kenora locals for advising me!
Strava screenshots to be posted, pending computer access.

3 thoughts on “July 1st-4th: Another Week, Another Province, and Planning For My Life.

  1. Once again you surprise us with your perseverance!! Glad the rain gear worked, and that you are enjoying a variety of terrain and conditions! Hope you continue to get free stuff, and great advice as you carry on.
    Happy pedaling Cameron!

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    1. Amazing Cameron!! You have covered such a huge distance already and many more adventures to come. Super pictures again, and good luck in Ontario. It’s one mighty big province!! Happy Trails to you! 😘

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  2. Great to see the photos of Manitoba, I’ve never been there. Our Scottish Menzies ancestors (pioneer farmers) settled in Springfield, Manitoba – I think in the 1860’s. They found it a tough area to farm, so moved West to BC. Glad strangers are being so helpful and generous. Your trip is such a wonderful way to really experience Canada!

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