travel

Bundle up buttercup. (photo robin summerfield)
Bundle up buttercup. (photo robin summerfield)

So we Manitobans are in—what can best be described as—winter hell.

But in hell, it’s hot.

We are in the Arctic equivalent of hell.

So just how cold is it?

Well, one day in January we were colder than Mars. Since early December winter has us in a chokehold. Minus 40˚C is not unusual. Minus 30˚C is typical. And minus 20˚C is considered balmy.

Yep, it’s that bad.

It’s taken me 40+ years as a Manitoban to realize the only way to survive winter on the prairies, is to face it head on.

That means getting outside and getting away. While most head south to warmer climes, I recently headed north.

Hecla Grindstone  Provincial Park is an outdoor oasis two and a half hours north of Winnipeg. Located on 360 acres, this Interlake gem has a ton to offer. In the summer, there’s camping, fishing, swimming, hiking and golfing. A charming village with all the basics awakens each spring.

In the winter, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and soaking in the hot tub beckon. And Lakeview Hecla Resort is where to love winter again.

On a recent FAM trip, a small group of writers, bloggers and photographers from across Manitoba rediscovered the joys of winter.

Lakeview is a fully appointed, family and pet friendly hotel with a restaurant, a water park with pool and water slides, spa and hot tubs. Rooms are modern and comfortable with a lounge, inviting soaker tub and monster-sized beds. Two flat screen televisions and free wifi are are part of the deal.

This year-round resort is a hub for ice fisherman and snow mobilers in the winter and golfers, boaters and families in the summer. The resort has an interesting past and spent several years shuttered until Lakeview took it over, renovated it and reopened in Spring 2012.

We started our first day with an hour of snowshoeing near the lodge. For the first 100 feet we were battered by blustery winds. The moment we stepped into the trees we also stepped into a winter  wonderland.

Quiet enveloped us. The only sounds came from the crunching snow beneath our feet and the odd woodpecker chipping away on an unseen tree. Heather Hinam, an uber smart naturalist and guide lead the way. (Heather has her own custom adventure business called Second Nature and is also an artist who designs interpretative signs for parks that detail the wildlife and natural habitat.)

We learned about snow, trees and the local denizens, aka deer, wolves and coyotes. We hiked gentle slopes and tucked in between stands of trees. The trail was broken and we criss-crossed in and out of the trees. We sampled only a small taste of the trails winding their way to and from Lakeview. We traversed groomed cross-country ski trails and soaked up the sunshine.

And in no time at all, the cold was a distant memory.

Snow bunny. (photo by robin summerfield)
Snow bunny. (photo by robin summerfield)
Snowshoeing in the trees at Lakeview Hecla Resort. (photo robin summerfield)
Snowshoeing in the trees at Lakeview Hecla Resort. (photo robin summerfield)
Heather Hinam with Second Nature teaching us about trees. (photo robin summerfield)
Heather Hinam with Second Nature teaching us about trees. (photo robin summerfield)

Check out my some of my other adventures below:

Fall in Love with Winter: Hecla Island
February 2014

Kings and Queens for a Day: Living the life in a castle in Ireland
Calgary Herald, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s