Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Riel House National Historic Site

Today was the last day of our Winnipeg Road Trip. We packed up camp at Bird's Hill and headed back over to the Forks so that Sierra could play in the splash pad one last time. We ate lunch in the market again and then headed south to the Riel House National Historic Site.
Riel House
It was the hone of Metis leader Louis Riel and the site of some fun activities for Sierra.
Sierra making farm plot
playing ring toss
We toured the inside
inside home
and outside
red chairs
of the home on our own and then got back in the car to head a little bit further south.

We headed down to the Trappist Monastery Provincial Park and the ruins of a monastery (of course).
Monastary ruins 1
We spent about a half hour exploring the grounds there.
Noelle and Sierra on stpes
peace memorial
ruins shot 2
Then it was a long drive back to the border crossing and then to International Falls. 

Birds Hill Provincial Park

Bird's Hill Provincial Park has been our home base for our Winnipeg trip the last few days. It's a pretty big park, with pleasant aspen parklands scenery. Our campsite is a bit primitive, which is okay with us. The only issue has been the squirrels. They are very brave and have been constantly trying to steal our food. They are mostly Richardson's Ground Squirrels.
Richardson ground squirrel
There is a nice swimming area that Sierra really enjoyed,
Sierra swims
though it wasn't the warmest day for swimming when we visited yesterday.

While the park has mostly been a place for us to eat
drinking water
and sleep,
asleep in tent
we did go for one hike while in the park.
Sierra and Noelle hiking
It was a hike to the site of an old community called Pine Ridge. There's not much left of Pine Ridge today; just a homestead cabin,
some rusting farm equipment
more farm implements
and a barn.
walking to barn
We walked
Sierra hikes alone
from the homestead site to a lookout tower
and then retraced our steps back to the car. Along the way we saw a few wildflowers in bloom.
black eyed Susan
Besides the squirrels, the only wildlife we saw were a few frogs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

We ate breakfast this morning, organized camp a bit, and then headed out to explore Lower Fort Garry. Lower Fort Garry is another Parks Canada national Historic Site, like the Forks. Being the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, all Parks Canada sites are free, so we didn't have to pay an entrance fee. Thanks Canada! We checked out the interior of the visitor center there for a bit
sculpture inside
and then headed outside to check out the fort
approaching Fort Garry
which was a Hudson's Bay Company property.
HBC sign
Outside the walls of the fort were a garden and the garden manager's home, a native encampment,
blacksmith shop,
and the Red Chairs!
red chairs
last stop

We went inside the fort and checked out some of the buildings within its walls. Unfortunately, the big house was closed for repairs,
Big House
but we did get to sit on the lawn to watch some of the fort's inhabitants read their mail.
ox cart
looking out
There were warehouses,
and sleeping quarters. We learned that the fort had been operated as a Motor Country Club for a period of time
Sierra in bonnet driving
and a jail as well!
Eric in jail

When left the fort and had lunch in the shade near the parking lot. Then we headed to another nearby National Historic Site, St Andrews Rectory.
St. Andrews Rectory
The church there is one of the oldest in Manitoba
St. Andrews Church
and the rectory has some exhibits inside
inside rectory
and Red Charis out on the porch.
red chairs at St Andrews

On the way back to our campsite at Bird's Hill Provincial Park we noticed Skinner's, a hot dog place with ice cream and so we stopped to get a cool treat.
eating ice cream
The most interesting part of Skinner's is the old abandoned water park behind the restaurant!
abandoned water park
Noelle and I both thought it would be really cool to do some snooping around the grounds, but it was fenced off and off limits. Instead of exploring the abandoned water park, we headed to the St Andrews dam at Lockport.
St Andrews Dam
Just below the dam, hundreds of pelicans congregated and fished in the turbulent waters.
pelicans fishing
It was mesmerizing to watch them and you can get really close!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Winnipeg: The Forks and More

Last night after work, Sierra, Noelle and I ate a quick dinner and hit the road headed west to Warroad. We crossed the border in Manitoba for the first time and were greeted by a flock of Canada Geese at the crossing station. Then we headed northwest into Winnipeg, where we spent the night in a hotel. This morning we awoke, ate breakfast and headed to the Forks. The Forks is the site of one of Parks Canada's
parks canda logo
National Historic Sites and a meeting place for many in the Winnipeg area. After parking the car, we headed into the park there, and after Sierra watched some people skateboard, we checked out Path of Time sculpture.
Forks Path of Time sculpture
Then it was on to the Red Chairs to have our picture taken.
red chairs
We explored a bit more of the historic site,
then crossed the Louis Riel Bridge into St. Boniface
Riel Bridge and museum
to check out the cathedral there.
St Boniface Cathedral
There is a sculpture of La Verendrye
La Verendrye
and Louis Riel's grave
Louis Riel grave
in the cemetery outside the cathedral.

After checking out St. Boniface we headed back across the Red River to the Forks,
walking Riel birdge
where Sierra explored the Variety Heritage Park.
slide in Adventure area
She particularly enjoyed the splash pad.
Sierra at splash pad
Sierra plays in water
We had lunch and beers at restaurants in the Forks Market and then headed out to explore a little bit more of Winnipeg.
bison mural
Upper Fort Garry was a pretty cool park
Upper Fort Garry gate
with a Sound and Light show that was difficult to see in daylight. Also, the lights are controlled by a cell phone app ad since we don't have Canadian cell plans, we were unable to control the lights. There was a really cool art installations that doubled as a big hammock!
resting in big hammock
Sierra and Noelle in big hammock
Downtown was a bit of a disappointment. We went to Hudson's Bay Company (also known as HBC or "the Bay"). It was more run down than I had expected and there was not much in the way of point blankets. We did stop in the MEC store though and I picked up a Canada 150 water bottle.

After a long day of exploring and splashing in the water, we were ready to head to our campsite for the night and so we headed to the car and drove out to Bird's Hill Provincial Park where we set up the tent and made ourselves some dinner. We're looking forward to tomorrow's adventure; exploring Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site.