The plan now is to drive all day and night from Dryden, Ontario, through the Prairies, to Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. Sad and exciting at the same time. Sad because we wanted to make stops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan but weather and time is not on our side on this trip. Exciting because the adventure continues. All we know at this point is that we have to be on Vancouver Island by August 1st.
Originally, we were really keen on visiting Winnipeg, Manitoba and hiking to Grey Owl’s Cabin in Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. But, as it turns out, we did not hear back from the park in time to make the adequate arrangements for the backpacking trip. And by the looks of things now, it was a good thing as the region is forecasting for storms and rain for the next 3-5 days. In fact… we are about to drive straight down the middle of the storm if the weatherman is right? So now we are discussing Back-Up Plan “C” or is it “D”? Travel is funny that way.
I have to admit, I was a little sore the morning we woke up from our luxury sleep in the cab of our trusted “Road Warrior” (Canada eh jeep). I never thought I could ever pretzel like that in my sleep. It seems I can. In the Dryden, Ontario parking lot we woke up under cloudy skies. We were troopers and performed our morning impressions of what others call stretching – we call very bad yoga. It took some time too for all the bones to snap back into place.
We were still being hunted down by the storm. The storm waited patiently just waiting to pounce on us like a hunter stalking his prey. The skies seethed in turmoil. No matter – rain or no rain – the back-up plan was in place and the spitter, spatter of the rain was part of the plan now. We always try to make the best of things. Maybe we will luck out and see some lightning and thunder too. Wouldn’t that be a wicked accessory to our Prairie journey.
Like the days before, the skies shared blue with us every once in awhile. It was usually short lived as the clouds were speeding across the skies choking out the blue like 3 quick taps at a UFC match.
We eventually arrived in Kenora, Ontario and soon after, we met with the Ontario/Manitoba Border. You can always tell when you are in Kenora Country because the landscape morphs from farms into wetlands, lakes, ponds and rock. It is a beautiful part of the country. The Northern Ontario region is very popular for cottages and lake enthusiasts.
Just pass the border is the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba, Ontario (coming soon to Manitoba eh Travel & Adventure). This park is a favourite destination for many people living in Eastern Manitoba and Northern Ontario. The Whiteshell Park is very popular for adventures like camping, fishing, boating, swimming and long haul canoe routes. In Whiteshell the haunting “Call of the Loon” is the wake up call every morning. The loon is an iconic sound many outdoor Canadians identify with.
The picture book of travel started a new chapter as we drove through the Prairies of Canada. The scenery and sounds changed channel on us from lakes and wetlands to rolling hills, herds of horses, red barns, big trucks, cowboy hats, country music, canola fields, farm fields and skylines of grain silos and giant herds of windmill farms.
No longer was our wildlife radar set on moose. No, no… now we were set on spotting predator birds like peregrine falcons, hawks and owls. And we were not disappointed. Peregrine Falcons were spotted perched on farmer’s fences watching the fields for easy prey.
Night fall. The mean clouds have arrived and they look nasty. Blacker than a burnt marshmallow – the clouds rolled across the prairies low and close to the ground. Ahead you could see the line of dry pavement and wet pavement clear as a border crossing. Then behind that was a gate of black cloud. We were going in! “Lock and load,” I shouted.
“SWAP!” The side view mirrors snapped back against the jeep with a thundering bang. The wind pushed and shoved like a bully in a crowd. The rain was hard, fast and persistent. The wipers were on the verge of a heart attack. The wall of water was thick. We could not see more than 100 metres in front of us. If that? Still, shockingly, cars roared pass us at break-neck speeds.
We made the adjustments for wind and rain. You could say we had to climatize ourselves to the storm… and we did. Minutes or was it hours later… we could see the light at the end of tunnel. There were stars in the night sky ahead!
Sadly on this journey there was no time for exploring Alberta. To learn more about Alberta visit our Alberta eh Travel website.
We live in a massive country. We cannot make time for it all on every trip. Sometimes research trips are days and sometimes they are for months. The journey to British Columbia is short. The destination will be for the rest of the summer.
Its morning! Tim Hortons ahead in Fernie and then off to Radium Hot Springs where we are doing some exploring with an old friend. See, everything happens for a reason. If there was no storm there would of been no time to explore Radium with friends. This is Plan “D”.