Hiking Pine Point Rapids

On August 18, 2018 we hit the trails again (finally). I had been sick on and off for a month and still have an unknown health condition, but I was eager to get back to hiking. I looked at my list of trails I wanted to hike and saw that Pine Point Rapids wasn’t too far away from the city. I asked my Hikerbabe group if anyone wanted to join me and Pascal and had a fellow Hikerbabe join us, who we had never met until that day. Hiking makes making friends so much easier, because you know that you at least have one thing in common, love for the great outdoors.

We took our time along the trail, stopping whenever we saw wildlife of any form. We saw frogs, birds, and I even got to see my first ever snake (I was really excited about that!). Pine Point Rapids has multiple rapids along the trail. By the first one there is a warm up shack for winter and some picnic tables outside for the summer. On our way back past this rapid, we saw lots of families sliding down the rapids. Next summer I will definitely be bringing a floaty, to float down the rapid!

In total we did 12.12km of hiking and it took us 3 hours and 30 minutes (this was including all our breaks and side tracking). We took it nice and easy, as I wasn’t too sure how my body was going to react. Everything went great, definitely one of my favorite trails in Manitoba. It wasn’t too hard at all. If you just want to hike to the first rapid, there is an ATV trail that is nice and easy to walk on as a beginner level (stay to the right of the first fork in the trail if you want a bit of a challenge and more of a view). I will definitely be bringing my Hikerbabes here in the winter for a snowshoe/cross-country skiing adventure and a fire and lunch at the warm up shack! If you have any Fall and Winter hiking suggestions or any recommendations for places to by snow shoes, please leave them below. Happy hiking!

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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)

3 Restaurants in Winnipeg That Make Cutting Meat Out of your Diet Easy : Part Three

Today marks 29 days meat free! It has been surprisingly easy for me to stay faithful to this lifestyle. I was afraid that when I went on my cruise last week (which I will be writing a post about this week), that I would have no options and would be tempted with all the food around me. Everyday we ate buffet style for pretty much every meal so there were always lots of vegetarian options for me to enjoy. The day before I left for my trip, Pascal, his parents and I, went to a restaurant that was actually recommended to me by a fellow blogger, kiracanadiangirl. It is Taiwanese-Chinese vegetarian restaurant called Affinity Garden.

About Affinity Garden

Affinity Garden was unlike any vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever been too. I find that all too often, vegetarian restaurants just offer salads and veggie burgers. Not Affinity Garden. They offer all your favourite Chinese style foods, just as a veggie option. They have been in downtown Winnipeg since May of 2001 and I’m surprised I haven’t heard of them sooner. They guarantee that all their products are MSG free, they only use purified water, and they pride themselves in their great tea that is specially delivered from Taiwan.

Green Tea

The Menu

There were so many options to choose from, the only problem was that we had no idea what anything was. So we decided the best way to get to try a little bit of everything was to buy the dinner for four and share. It said dinner for four but honestly with the amount of food brought to the table, we easily could have fed 5 or 6. First they start you off with a soup, either hot & sour or wonton (we all chose wonton). After that they start bringing all the dishes to the table, one by one and spread out in time to give you a chance to finish what your eating and to make room on the table for more. The combo we got included spring rolls, garden special chow mein, sweet & sour soyapork, colorful bean curd layers, assorted mushrooms with seasonal greens, and white rice. My personal favourite was the sweet & sour soyapork, although no one else seemed to overly enjoy it. As you can guess from the name, it’s a vegetarian version of sweet and sour pork. The sauce was phenomenal and the added sweet bell peppers made a nice touch. We also ordered a side of both steamed dumplings and pan-fried dumplings. They were probably my second favourite thing we had for supper (I enjoyed the pan fried ones slightly more than the steamed).  For dessert, we were each served a green tea jello that was surprisingly tasty (we also ordered green tea to drink with our meal, equally as tasty).

The Atmosphere

Affinity Garden was EXTREMELY quiet for a restaurant. There was one other family there when we were there and there was no music playing so it felt like everyone could hear everything you were saying. I really enjoyed the artwork on the walls though and the staff were very friendly. When we were paying for our bill, we all took some candy from their candy dish and then the lady who runs the place went through her bag of candies to find us her favourite one that she wanted us to try (very sweet lady).

art

Although the food was anything too special or out of this world, it was definitely nice to see a different take on vegetarian options. I suggest everyone trying it at least once, if nothing more than for the experience (please try the sweet & sour soyapork and tell me I’m not the only one who loved it). If anyone has anymore vegetarian restaurant options, I would love to hear them! Or if you have any of your own recipes that you wouldn’t mind sharing, drop them below. Thanks for reading, I can’t wait to share my cruise experience with you all!

3 Restaurants in Winnipeg That Make Cutting Meat Out of Your Diet Easy : Part Two

Last week I shared my experience about trying to cut meat out of my diet. I decided that I would share the journey with you by sharing three restaurants that I tried that would make it easy to drop meat from your diet. On Easter Monday Pascal and I went to Stella’s, the Provencher Blvd location to see what their veggie selection looked like.

About Stella’s

Stella’s has been around since 1999, with the first location opening up in Osborne Village. They pride themselves on offering quality simple, healthy food choices. They bake all their own breads and focus on soups, salads and sandwiches. Two of the original four founders still own the company. They currently have 8 locations, all in Winnipeg, with plans to continue expanding.

reading menu

The Menu

I decided to try something completely new to me, ratatouille. I’m going to be honest, I always thought ratatouille was some kind of creamy pasta. I was pleasantly surprised. It consisted of oven roasted zucchini, eggplant, tomato, peppers, onion, garlic and fresh herbs all served over quinoa. Drizzled over top was a balsamic reduction (my favorite type of reduction). It was AMAZING! I will definitely be going back to have it again. For my side I had a potato salad, but it was nothing special in comparison to my main dish. Pascal tried the grilled vegetable sandwich and had a side caesar salad. He really liked how fresh and nicely roasted everything in the sandwich tasted. He also tried the “Go Green” smoothie, which I helped myself to as well. I’m usually not a fan of green smoothies but the greens didn’t overpower the taste in this smoothie. I will be buying one for myself next time I return as well.

The Atmosphere

My favorite things about this Stella’s location is their outside sitting area. Although it was much too cold to sit outside this time, summer is fast approaching and I can’t wait to enjoy some Stella’s breakfast outside in the sunshine. There is also a lot of sitting room inside which is great as the waiting list fills up quickly on the weekends. They are usually pretty good with moving everyone along and we have never had to wait too long for a table. All the hosts and servers are always so friendly, great service for sure.

Although Stella’s isn’t a strictly vegetarian restaurant, they have lots vegetarian friendly options. They even mark their vegetarian options with a green “v” on the menu to help you when choosing.

This Saturday I will be trying restaurant #3 and will try to have the blog post up before I leave for my cruise on Sunday. If you have any more suggestions for restaurants to try, leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

3 Restaurants in Winnipeg That Make Cutting Meat Out of Your Diet Easy : Part One

The past two years I have considered the idea of going vegetarian on and off again. Two summers ago I gave it a try and only lasted two weeks before falling victim to a moose burger. This past week I started watching health documentaries and really started to learn all the health benefits of cutting meat out of your diet along with the economical and ethical reasonings. I decided to give it an honest go this time. One of my biggest concerns would be what would I eat if I was going out to a restaurant to eat? Would there be options I would enjoy? I decided to find 3 restaurants that offered a selection of vegetarian options to help get me started. First up, Boon Burger.

About Boon Burger

I was surprised to learn that Boon Burger actually started in Winnipeg. They are Canada’s first all vegan cafe. All food is made from scratch and 100% cruelty free. They have won multiple awards and were even featured on “You Gotta Eat Here”. They recycle, compost, don’t use microwaves or deep fryers, and try to share their knowledge of living a vegan lifestyle. Talk about doing their share to help the planet and the animals!

The Menu

Boon Burger’s menu is very much like other burger joints; burgers, fries, hot dogs, and salads. The only difference is that no animals were harmed in the making of their meals. They have 4 different types of patties; grilled boon patty, grilled buddha patty, grilled white patty and grilled black bean patty. I’ve been really enjoying chickpeas lately so I choose a burger that had the grilled buddha patty. The patty is made up of chickpeas and brown rice and seasoned with curry, onion, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and lemon juice. The burger was called “Bombay Heat”. The burger consisted of the patty basted in frank’s hot sauce, bacun (you guessed it, meat-free bacon), glazed yams, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers and curry mayo. The hardest part was deciding how to fit it in my mouth as it was overflowing with toppings ( I’m not complaining!). For my side I chose their caesar salad. The salad contained romaine lettuce, croutons, caesar dressing and cheeze (dairy free cheese). I was unsure how I was going to feel about the cheeze, as cheese is one of my favorite foods and will definitely be the hardest thing to give up if I go vegan, but it was actually delicious. It still tasted creamy like cheese and wasn’t a completely new taste. It would make giving up cheese easier for me, that’s for sure. They also serve ice cream that is made from coconut milk. I didn’t have it this visit but tried it during my previous visit and I highly recommend giving it a try. It was another one of those items that I was iffy about trying as I am a huge ice cream lover but it satisfies the ice cream craving without having to consume animal products. Win win!

burger
Bombay Heat Burger and Ceaser Salad.

The Atmosphere

I really adore the look of the restaurant inside, kind of has a rustic feeling to it. By the front counter they have a huge chalkboard where they write all the specials. Around the restaurant there are plants hanging. My favorite part though has to be how they keep track of who ordered what. When it is busy they will hand you an animal figure to place on your table so they know what table to bring what meals to (it wasn’t too busy when we went this time but the previous visit they used the animals). Such a neat idea! They also have cute stickers that are free for the taking.

I’m really excited to see what restaurants in the city have a wide selection of veggie options. I never really paid attention to this before so it’ll be fun to revisit some of my favorites and see what they have to offer. If you have any suggestions on where to eat meat-free in the city, please leave a comment! Any tips or tricks for cutting meat out of my diet are also welcome. I’m only on day 6 so I have a long journey ahead of me.

 

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

It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise in the winter, especially if you aren’t an outdoor kind of person or you hate the cold. The fifth and final activity that I’m going to share for this series is one that the whole family can have fun doing.  This is one that will be sure to get you moving and is also a great idea if you’re trying to think of where to host your kids birthday. If you’re looking for something new to add to your exercise routine, give Flying Squirrel a try. 

Throne for picture taking.

What is Flying Squirrel?

Flying Squirrel is the world’s largest indoor trampoline park. They currently have 12 locations, including locations in both Canada and USA with some new locations under way. Ticket pricing at the Winnipeg location starts at $20 for 60 minutes of jump time and this gives you access to all areas, not just the trampolines. They also have special times for just adults on weekend nights. Every Tuesday they offer special pricing for the whole day where children with special needs jump for $8 an hour and the caretaker jumps for free (how awesome is that?!) They have fitness classes starting soon as well. With so many options, there’s no excuse to give it a try!

Trampolines.

What is there to do at Flying Squirrel?

Flying Squirrel is more than just a trampoline park. They have 17 attractions and 31 trampolines. My favorite attractions were the rock climbing wall (3 people can climb at once) and the Battle Beam. Me and Pascal raced each other up the rock climbing wall and were exhausted after just 3 tries. The Battle Beam is where you balance on a beam with another person and use soft jousting bars to try and knock the other person off and into the pit of foam blocks (I won). They also have huge air bags you can fall onto (I was too afraid to fall backwards) and rope swings, just to name a few. Head on over to https://flyingsquirrelsports.ca/winnipeg-manitoba/attractions/ to see a full list of attractions. They also have a small arcade area and a bar & cafe.

Rock climbing wall.

They whole time I was there, all I could think about was how cool it would of been to have a party there as a kid. But in all honesty, I still had lots of fun there as an adult. So if you’re trying to think of a fun new date night idea or where to spend a family outing, check out Flying Squirrel and let me know your opinions.Head on over to my Instagram page ( @coasttocoast709 ) to see some video clips from Flying Squirrel as well. If you have any other fun date ideas for Winnipeg, please let me know as well. We love trying new things!

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!