Grass River – Part 2

Grass River
The beautiful Grass River.

Saturday, May 26, a cool morning approximately 18 Celsius, we had set up our screen tent on Friday so had a slow start cooking breakfast in the tent and sitting around the fire with that first cup of coffee. Amazing how much better coffee tastes with smoke in your eyes. Note we found Manitoba provincial campgrounds have the worse firewood we have ever encountered. It was like they had dug it out of some slough and was tough to get burning and very smoky. We blamed it first on this campground but later discovered all parks must have the same supplier of firewood…but hey it was free. I think Manitoba Parks are gearing up to start charging for firewood or at least a fire permit to burn similar to the National Parks. I’m told firewood is one of the parks’ biggest expenses.

camp kitchen
Our simple camp kitchen in the screen tent.

We registered until Monday at Iskwasum, cleaned the camper,  had  lunch and decided we would head to Snow Lake. Snow Lake is approximately  80 kms northwest on Highway 39 then onto #395 and goes to the end of the road. Snow Lake is a mining town situated on the shores of the lake; the mine produces gold, zinc and copper. Topped up the diesel  at $1.91/litre and groceries were a little expensive so picked up only what was necessary. On the way to Snow Lake we passed Wekusko Falls Provincial Park situated on the Grass River system, a beautiful place with some fantastic rapids and falls. It looked like a great campground facility so we would have to return to check it out and stay a while. Returning back on Highway 39 we passed Reed Lake Mine. We  were told the mine produces some of the world’s finest purest copper. That may explain the large number of trucks we saw  coming and going. For some reason mining has become somewhat less viable, probably because of the environmental  standards and, only in Canada,  gender equality.  Reed Lake we were told was scheduled for closure as for many northern mines in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Wekusko Falls
Wekusko Falls Provincial Park
Wekusko Falls
Wekusko Falls
Road side to Snow Lake.
Along the highway to Snow Lake.
Snow Lake
Along the highway to Snow Lake.

The sun was coming out as we arrived back at our campground at Iskwasum, spent the evening reading around the campfire and looking forward to airing up the Sea Eagle and checking out the Grass River.

Sunday May 27th, Woke up to a great sunshiny day,  started our daily routine, reading and coffee around the fire, breakfast and kitchen clean up, always a very slow start. We aired up the kayak and although the winds were gusty we headed out anyway…the sun was shining and the river calling how could we not go. The Sea Eagle we found,  was extremely stable in the waves and handled much better than expected. We travelled up stream to Iskwasum Lake, a beautiful trip. Since Charlotte and I have canoed all of our lives we were having a hard time adjusting to the kayak paddles soaking ourselves and making a lot of splashing noise. We had left our canoe paddles at home, so we decided we would borrow a couple from the store and try them out.

Grass River towards Loucks Lake
Paddling along the beautiful Grass River towards Loucks Lake.
Grass River
Beautiful sunset seen from Grass River.

That evening the winds had not died but we felt comfortable in the Sea Eagle in the waves so we decided to go down stream to Loucks Lake. The canoe paddles were for us, they worked great, were quiet and we stayed dry.  From here on in our Sea Eagle is a kayak/canoe. This craft is fantastic in waves and very stable, its low profile in the wind makes for less side push. We did however find it a little harder paddle than our hard side canoe, that is the only downside, but it is better in rough water.

Getting back to camp we deflated the Eagle and rolled it up, packing it behind the passenger seat of the Dodge. We enjoyed a great supper of tossed salad and chicken breasts done over the (smoky) fire. After taking down the screen tent we enjoyed reading and a tea around the fire.

We had a great day slowly paddling along,  spotting an Eagle and taking a short hike to an abandoned Rangers cabin. We have no idea what the temperature is or the weather is going to be like tomorrow as we have no service and can get Arctic radio only occasionally and fuzzy reception. We love it and hope all is well in the world out there as it sure is great in our world. Not sure where we will end up tomorrow as we leave Iskwasum for who knows where, but heading north up Highway 10 towards Flin Flon.

Sea Eagle on Grass River
Finally getting the Sea Eagle onto the Grass River.
An eagle from the kayak is a little fuzzy due to rough water.
Rangers cabin at Iskwasum
A short hike into the ranger cabin at Iskwasum, no one home.
Butterfly along Grass River
Benefits of paddling slowly along the shoreline you see all the the beauty.
Shoreline beauty
Enjoying the shoreline beauty.

Until tomorrow, hope to see you “Down the Road”….Charlotte and Gerry, the RV Cowboy.

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