Hiking Pisew Falls to Kwasitchewan Falls

Hiking Pisew Falls to Kwasitchewan Falls has been my most enjoyable but also most challenging hike so far this season. I wish it was closer to the city because I would love to do it again with my Hikerbabes (7 hour drive just to get to the starting point isn’t really practical on a 2 day weekend). If you’re looking for a challenge or just want to check out Pisew Falls (which is a 5 minute walk from the parking lot), keep reading for some tips and to see some pictures of the falls (spoiler alert: the journey is worth the view).

pisewfall2
Pisew Falls in the background, just a 5 minute walk from the parking lot.

May 19, 2018

We left Winnipeg early Saturday morning (around 5 a.m) and headed north, towards Thompson. The drive in total took us about 7 hours and we pulled into the parking lot around noon. Pisew Falls (which is the second biggest waterfall in Manitoba) is just an easy 5 minute walk on a boardwalk from the parking lot. We decided to check that one out first, to give us some motivation for the hike. There was still ice on the waterfall but if anything it added to the beauty of it all. We stuck around for a few minutes to enjoy the view and then headed on to the other side of the parking lot, where the trail for Kwasitchewan Falls started. The trail was not easy by any means. There were places where the trees were after falling down and you had to either climb under them or over them. There were spots where the trail was so grown in that you had to stop and look around for a piece of ribbon of the trees. We hiked for 4.5 hours until we came across the back country camping spots. There were 5 spots and 4 of them were already taken so we got lucky in regards to that. Our spot was right next to the rapids, so we knew that we were getting close to Kwasitchewan Falls. We had some snacks, sat by the water and then headed to bed, knowing that tomorrow we would get to see the biggest waterfall in Manitoba.

 

May 20, 2018

We woke up around 5 a.m on Sunday and took down the tent. Everyone else seemed to still be sleeping so we would have the falls all to ourselves. We had a quick bite to eat (protein bars are life-savers during hike trips) and continued on our way. Within the first 15 minutes of hiking, we came across Kwasitchewan Falls. There is a reason waterfalls are one of my favorite things about nature. I find the sound of the rushing water so soothing. Standing close to the edge of the falls, and feeling its power is such an awakening. The cool mist spraying on you. Everything about waterfalls makes me fall in love. We spent some time at the waterfall, just taking pictures and enjoying the early morning mist. After some time, we continued on, knowing that it was going to be a long hike back to the parking lot. We got a little lost on the way back, as the trail isn’t properly marked. It added about 30 minutes to our time but we still made it to the parking lot by 10:30 a.m. We slowly packed up the car and made our way to a small diner to get something to eat before heading back to the city. It was a great way to spend the long weekend, any opportunity I get to spend outside the city is worth it in my books.

 

Tips for hiking Pisew – Kwasitchewan

  1. GPS Tracker of some sort. We got lucky with finding our way back, but it could have been a lot worse. It’s always good to have some sort of GPS as back up.
  2. Hiking boots with good ankle support. Climbing over trees and up steep hills is tiresome on your feet, make sure you invest in a good shoe.
  3. Snacks that are high in protein. You’ll need the energy to keep you going.
  4. Backpack with proper straps. You won’t want a school backpack for this hike unless you enjoy a sore back.
  5. Bear spray. Although the only wildlife we saw was a wild turkey and a chipmunk, it’s better to be safe then sorry.
  6. CAMERA. Get up early and capture the sunrise. Take lots of pictures of the waterfalls.
  7. Enjoy every minute. If you’re anything like me, the city is exhausting and drains your energy. Take this time in nature to re-charge.

 

 

Although the summer is half over, I still have a long list of hiking trails and adventures. I’m working on becoming more familiar with my camera and hopefully starting a vlog. If you have any tips for vlogging or any trail suggestions, I would love to hear them! Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Hiking Devils Punch Bowl & Spirit Sands

Hiking season is here, yay! This Sunday I will be doing hike number 4 and summer just started. I stumbled across a group on Instagram called hikerbabes and they were looking for ambassadors all across the world. I debated sending a bio in but finally just went for it and now I am the Winnipeg chapter ambassador! This Sunday will be our second hike as a group and it’s all about empowering and motivating women to get out and enjoy the great outdoors together. The lady who started hikerbabes also start the movement “journey to 100”. Basically you have to complete 100 hikes but there is no time frame, you complete the hikes on your own terms. I’m really loving the idea of the group so far and I can’t wait to see more women out on the trails.

hikerbabes

Devils Punch Bowl (May 13, 2018)

My first hike of the season was back in May (thank goodness for all the great weather we’ve been having). Pascal and I decided to head to Devils Punch Bowl. It’s about a 2 hour drive outside the city. We made a wrong turn at first (we went into Spruce Woods Provincial Park, you need to drive past that turn off and then you’ll see a sign on the left hand side of the road for where you need to turn). It was a good day to hike there, not too hot but definitely still needed lots of water and snacks. The Devils Punch Bowl trail is 7km return. I consider the trail to be beginner level, with just a couple of steep parts. The trail is mostly sand so you WILL get sand in your shoes and you’ll want to have some shoes with good ankle support. There are lots of benches on the trail to take breaks and a bathroom in the parking lot and one at the halfway point on the trail. The highlight of the trail for me was getting to see some turtles sunbathing. The whole trail took us about 2 hours, with us taking breaks to take in views and read the information panels along the trail.

Spirit Sands – Sand Dunes (June 2, 2018)

A couple of weeks after my first visit, I went back but this time with some women from my hikerbabes group to do our first hike as a group. We decided to do the sand dunes this time and we were not disappointed. It was cloudy which was good because it wasn’t so hot. We spent about 3 hours on the trail (we could have went a little further but it began to rain so we headed back). At the start of the trail there is a shelter area with picnic tables so we had lunch there together. We made sand angels and climbed sand hills. I would consider this part of the trail to be harder than devils punch bowl, more of an intermediate trail. If you only have time to do one of the trails, I would choose the sand dunes over devils punch bowl, as it has more of a desert feel to it, making it an interesting trail for the prairies.

I will continue to write about my hiking adventures and I hope to get lots of hikes in before the warm weather passes (including some overnight hikes). If anyone has any recommendations of where to hike in and around Manitoba, let me know so I can explore. Also, if you’re interested in joining the hikerbabes movement, feel free to join the Winnipeg chapter on Facebook (just search hikerbabes community: Winnipeg, Canada on facebook) and join us on our next hike! Feel free to follow me on Instagram as well to keep up with my adventures, @coasttocoast709 .

Sara the Camel
We stopped to see Sara the Camel in Glenboro (just before the turn off towards the trails)

5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Three

Living in the city can be very exhausting, both mentally and physically. It always feels like everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. I am very much a small town girl so my next suggestion for the winter is to leave the city and enjoy the great outdoors. I did this by learning how to ski and going on a ski trip.When you think Winnipeg and Manitoba, you picture the boring, flat prairies. And although Manitoba is flat for the most part, there is some valleys and hills that make for a change of scenery and a great start if you’re a beginner at skiing like me.

skis at springhill

Learning the Basics at Springhill:

I had been skiing twice before this year and the most recent time was 6 years ago. From my memory of skiing, it didn’t go too well. I remember having 1 instructor trying to teach 20 plus of us the basic. I lasted about 2 or 3 tries down the bunny hill both times and then ditched skiing to go hang out with my friends inside for the rest of the day. This time though, I was determined and motivated to learn. I booked a one on one lesson at Springhill which is in Oakbank, right outside the perimeter. It really isn’t much of a ski hill, with just one ski lift and 3 slopes but it was perfect for me to learn how to go down the hill and not die (which was my ultimate goal). I went on a Sunday and it wasn’t too busy. My instructor was very friendly and patient with me, even when it took me a couple of minutes to grab onto the tug rope because I argued that it was moving way too fast (it really wasn’t). For the whole day at Springhill I paid $59 which included the 1 hour ski lesson, lift pass and ski rentals. It was extremely cold on the day that we went, so we didn’t stay too much longer after my lesson. I made it through the lesson without falling down so I was feeling pretty confident and ready to take on Asessippi the next weekend. If only I had known how many times I was about to fall down on day 1 of Asessippi.

ski lift

Asessippi ; Day One :

We stayed in a hotel in Russell, which is about 15 minutes outside of Asessippi. We arrived on Sunday evening and just spent the evening relaxing, preparing ourselves for our first day at the slopes. On Monday we headed there around 9:30am which is when the lifts open. It took us about an hour of waiting in line ups until we finally had all our equipment on and ready to go. There is one line up to pay, another line up for rentals and then another line up to get fitted for boots and skis. We all started off together doing the 2 of the easy trails. One of the easy trails however, was not so easy at the bottom. It got much steeper and I fell down every time I tried to do it. I tried doing the “pizza” technique to slow myself down but even that didn’t work and I ended up on my behind once again. I was getting more frustrated than I’d like to admit and was close to giving up within my first hour there. I was wearing my prescription glasses under my goggles, and my glasses were fogging up. I made the decision to ski with just my goggles on because I couldn’t see anything with my glasses fogging up. As long as I aimed for the white and avoided any other blobs of colors, I was fine. After that, I started to feel a lot better about skiing and enjoyed myself. Me and Julianne stayed together on the easy trails and let Pascal and Cole some of the harder ones, including some black diamonds. We stayed on the slopes until sometime around 3pm when we decided to head back to hotel and get some rest for the next day.

Asessippi ; Day Two

On Tuesday we avoided the line ups by paying for our ski rentals and lift passes the day before and just taking all our equipment back to the hotel with us Monday night. Highly recommend this if you are going to be renting for more than one day as it’ll save you a ton of time. We hit the slopes around 10am and Julianne and I stayed on the easy trails again but this time feeling a lot more confident than the day before. I did a couple different trails including one called “the plunge”. “The plunge” starts off really steep but you only go fast for about 5-10 seconds before slowing down on the flat part of the trail. It was really fun to experience and get used to the feeling of going faster. I downloaded a ski trekking app for Tuesday just for fun to see how fast I could go and how far we skied. My max speed was 31 km/hr and we skied a total of 10 km (2 1/2 hours). The best skier in our group went 69km/hr so I still have a long ways to go.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a black diamond skier but I’m willing to keep going back and learning. Who knows, maybe next winter I’ll end up in Banff. One thing that they don’t supply with the ski rentals is goggles so I recommend purchasing some before going or burrowing some from a friend like I did. They not only help with snow glare but help keep your face warm as well. You can also purchase anti-fogging ones, like these, which I would highly recommend as I found out skiing with fogged up glasses is not a fun time! Let me know in the comment section your skiing stories, your favorite ski hill and if you prefer skiing or snowboarding!

5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Two

Last week I talked about something that you can do inside in the winter. Today’s post is going to be geared towards those of you who like to spend time outdoors and are also looking for ways to stay fit in the winter. My second recommendation ( & my favorite place in Winnipeg) is to visit “The Forks”.

 

 

ice castles

The Ice Castles:

The Forks is a great place to hang out anytime of the year and is personally my favorite place in all of Winnipeg. I’ve spent a lot of time at The Forks since I moved to Winnipeg in 2014, both in the Winter and Summer. The thing that made this Winter different than others was the addition of the ice castles. Me and Pascal were doing respite last month with two individuals (one who loves the movie “Frozen”) and we asked their caregiver if we could take them to the ice castles. We both really wanted to go and thought they would enjoy it as well. She thought it was a great idea so put on all our Winter gear (I recommend not going when its -30), and off we went. During the daytime on the weekends the have Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” there to greet you. The girl with us loved getting to meet them and even got to get her photo with them. I highly recommend going during the day on Saturday or Sunday between 1-4:30pm if you have kids (or you yourself) that love “Frozen”. Once inside, you are on your own, free to explore. There are lots of picture taking opportunities inside as well if you’re looking for the perfect Winter backdrop. Unfortunately I only took one picture that didn’t have the kids in it as this day was about them. Inside the ice castle there is 2 ice slides that you can ride. They provide you with a crazy carpet at the top to sit on. It’s a short slide but you can ride it as many times as you want. Once you’re in the castle you can stay as long as you want that day but once you leave you can’t re-enter. The ice castle is a really cool concept, especially when you think about all the work that went into building it. I would love to go back at night as they have fire performances Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10pm and the castle is lit up with multi-colored lights. I would also recommend buying your tickets online as you save $4.05 general admission and $3.05 for child 4-11 (0-3 is free). If you buy online, you don’t have to wait in line to buy there which is another added bonus! I would love to hear your experience if you went at night, leave a comment below!

trail conditions

The Red River Mutual Trail:

A few weeks later, me and Pascal decided to go back to The Forks and skate the river. We both are fairly good skaters but if you’re not and you want to learn, The Forks is a great place to do so. They have red chairs on the river that your can use to help you skate or you can rent something similar inside The Forks at Iceland (they also do skate rentals if you don’t own any or just aren’t ready to commit to buying any before learning). When you enter the trail from the dockside, you can either go left and skate on the Red River or go right and skate on the Assiniboine River. We decided to go left. Along the trail there are markers for when you hit each kilometer. I found this really motivating to see how far I skated in such a short amount of time. The complete trail is 3km each way meaning we skated 6km total. It was a great workout and alot more fun than being at the gym. It was extremely cold when we went so there wasn’t as many skaters on the trail as usual. Also, the trail wasn’t in the best condition but we managed to not fall down once (but it’s fine if you do, it’s all part of learning!)

 

The Warming Huts:

One of my favorite parts of skating at The Forks is getting to see the new warming huts each year. The warming huts started in 2009 and is a competition that welcomes designers around the world to summit their creations and than those selected come to Winnipeg and construct their art. Once completed they get put on display on the river for skaters and walkers to interact with or go inside to warm up. My favorite that was on display this year (I’m not sure if it was from this year’s competition or a previous year) was the bubble beach.

If you don’t like spending time outside in the winter, The Forks is still a great place to visit with lots to do inside. There is many unique local shops with a wide range of products (all of which are pretty cool). Also, with them now having “The Commons” you can stay inside, have a bite to eat and grab a drink. There are so many different types of restaurants inside, you’ll never get tired of eating there. So go ahead and try something new, whether it be learning how to skate or trying a new beer at The Commons. I would love to hear about your favorite things to do at The Forks and your favorite place to eat while there. Leave me a comment!

BONUS: Teeyah’s

I decided I’m going to throw in a bonus place to try in Winnipeg because we went there after visiting The Forks as it’s close by and I only recently discovered them. It’s a candy shop located on Graham Avenue. They’ve only been open about a year and only recently started selling ice cream as well. The make unique themed ice cream cones called “lengenDAIRY” cones. I ordered one and told her she could do whatever she wanted with it. For $10.50 I got 3 scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone, another cone on top of that, cotton candy, 3 lollipops, and lots of small candies on top. Definitely worth checking them out if you love ice cream as much as me. Who says ice cream should only be enjoyed in the Summer? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!

5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part One

I am constantly hearing people say that there is nothing to do in the winter. That is far from the truth, especially in Winnipeg! Although our winters may feel unbearable most days, there are lots of things to do inside during the colder days and adventures to be had outside during the slightly warmer days. I decided to do a 5 part series, with each post focusing on something I took the time to try. First up, try a local restaurant you’ve never tried before.

glass

The Restaurant :

Pascal decided to surprise me and just drive to a restaurant. Since I still do not know the layout of the city very good, I had no idea where we were. He picked “The Merchant Kitchen”. He had been there once before when they were still fairly new and remembered them having exceptional fried chicken. “The Merchant Kitchen” is located  downtown Winnipeg. Their food is inspired by cities and countries across the globe and is served family style, which was a great way to get to taste a couple different dishes.

The Food & Drinks:

When choosing a drink, I had some troubles because all the drinks were so new and different to me. I asked the server for a recommendation for something fruity and he suggested the “Kamakura”. The “Kamakura” consists of belvedere vodka, junmai sake, agave, mango, fresh lemon, and rose. It wasn’t as fruity as I was hoping for but delicious nonetheless. We then decided to start off with some yuca fries. If you’re like me and have no idea what yuca is, it is the edible starchy root of a woody shrub called “Manihot Esculenta”. The fries were kind of plain but they were served with a tasty spicy asian ketchup that had just the right amount of zing. Seeing that the fried chicken is the reason that brought us there, we decided to get a half order and also try the spicy thai fried rice. The order of fried chicken came with 5 chicken thighs and was served with a side of soy syrup and garlic chilli sauce for dipping. The chicken alone was phenomenal but paired with the sauces it just made it that much better. As for the rice, it tasted a little burnt but was still enjoyable. It wasn’t overly spicy and the shrimp and egg mixed into it made for a perfect pair.

The Service:

We were seated very quickly and got a seat by the window so I could people watch (yes I’m that person). The server was very quick with coming to greet us and take our orders and was very laid back in a friendly way. He made sure that we were satisfied and taken care of. When we asked for suggestion or questions regarding the food he was very knowledgeable. You can tell that their staff take pride in their service. The restaurant also had tvs over the bar playing sports so if people watching isn’t your thing you could catch up on the current game. Overall it was a great experience and we would definitely dine there again. I also just started following their instagram account (@themerchantkitchen) and saw that they are participating in Winnipeg’s fried chicken week until January 28. They are featuring their Korean fried chicken in a chicken bowl and it look AMAZING so if you’re interested in trying their food, now is a great time!

drinks
Kamakura

I would love to hear everyone’s local restaurant recommendations and what your favorite thing on the menu is. Also, if you happen to try “The Merchant Kitchen” fried chicken bowl for fried chicken week, please let me know if it’s as good as it looks!