Monday, July 31, 2017

Fort William Historical Park

Last night after work and a stop for some grocery shopping in Fort Frances, we made the drive east through Ontario to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park where we camped for the night. This morning, after a quick exploration of our temporary home, we headed into Thunder Bay and Fort William Historical Park.

The first stop was the interpretive center, where we paid our admission and posed for a silly voyageur photo.
Then we headed outside for the walk to the reconstructed fort. There's a pond at the start of the trail, and Noelle noticed that the ground near the pond was covered with tiny frogs hopping here and there. We probably stepped on a few and didn't realize it. We spent a few minutes observing the frogs,
tiny frog 2
then headed into the woods for the rest of the hike to Fort William.
walking to fort

Our first stop near the fort complex was the Anishinabe campsite just outside the fort's walls. Here we learned about the fur trade from the Anishinabe perspective,
tried on a few furs,
Sierra and fur
and got a taste for living in a waaginogaan. We then headed inside the fort's walls
entrance to fort
to see what life would have been like in a fur trading post. There was even a lookout tower where we were able to get a bird's eye view of the fort.
viewing platform
We walked around in the summer heat and inspected all the buildings that were open to the public. I enjoyed the canoe shop.
Sierra liked the farm. We spent some time visiting all the animals; the sheep,
Sierra and pigs
and even a little chick.
The most impressive of the buildings was the Great Hall.
Great Hall
It was interesting to think what it would have been like to eat in such a massive place, especially if you happened to be of higher rank!

There were numerous warehouses for storage of pelts, and other goods.
La la Pluie
The goods above are headed to Lac La Pluie, or Rainy Lake as we call it today.
old boat
We worked up quite a thirst exploring on such a warm day and had to pump ourselves some water.
Our last stop was the blacksmith shop where Sierra got a chance to try making her very own nail!
blacksmith Sierra
making nail 3
Then it was on to downtown to cool off a bit. 

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!