Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 9 & 10...Our Cross Canada Trip....East to West

Day 9 and 10

Today we arrived at the "picture perfect" town of Wasagaming, home to the Riding Mountain National Park's interpretation centre. In this little town we found every amenity one would want or need. In the heart of the town the streets were lined with shops and restaurants complete with outdoor tables and umbrellas. The streets were lined with cars. Families walking everywhere. There were private cottages built in and around every tree, they were neat, painted up and the flower beds were glorious. We stopped to ask a park attendant if they were occupied all year, he said the owners only stayed from May to October. Another interesting facility was the log theatre, the largest of its kind in North America.

The flowers around the interpretation centre we spectacular. We discovered that the grounds and gardens were maintained without toxic chemicals and that the fertilizers used consist of organic materials. I was so intrigued by the way they handled pests, such as; beer traps for slugs, soap and baking soda for fleas and aphids and the flea beetles were treated to radish.

As Richard and I looked over the information at the centre we discovered that Riding National Park consisted of 3000 sq.km. of land. The land consisted of white spruce, hardwood forests and prairie grassland and some of the largest moose, elk and bear live within it's perimeter, not to mention the 900 kg. Bison that roam in an enfenced santuary around Lake Audy. That's where we wanted to go. The interpreter told us that we'd have to get up early in the morning to see them, the heat of the day they went into the forest to stay cool.

It was 3:30 p.m. and away we went on the 36km. Trek over a washboard dirt road. Boy, our motorhome shook and rattled something fearse. Richard slowed the pace to a crawl, at this pace it would take us way too long to get there. We wondered what it would be like if we quickened our pace, Richard put the pedal down, surprisingly it was much better.

Finally we came to the an open air information gazebo with information about the sanctuary in which we were now into. We got out and headed up the ramp to read about the bison. I couldn't figure out why, at the entrance of the walkway there was a swinging metal gate that you had to pull outwards to enter. Oh well, in we went and read the displayed info. As we exited I seen a big pile of bison dung on the pathway nearby, now I know why the gate swung the way it did.

We soon came to the entrance of the campground we were going to say at. There were no attendants to tell us where to go or take our money. A sign told us to go in and pick out one of the thirty sites, then come back and put the exact change into an envelope that was supplied, place it into a metal box, and do enjoy your stay. Wow. There were only eight other campers on the river bank with us. We chose a secluded spot with a nice worn path down to the shore, and there were two chemical outhouses nearby. There was no water hook up and no electricity, boy we figured we were really roughing it.

We enjoyed our supper in this peaceful setting and listened to the water slapping against the shore. The sunset was spectacular, we retired early in preparation of our early rise to find bison.

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. got dressed and went for a short walk. The sunrise was equally as delighful as it's setting the night before. I heard the whistle of an elk crying off in the distance, I near jumped out of my shorts. Richard was up by now and away we went.

We drove along through dense fog, there off to our left were the shadows of bison Shrouded in this fog as they grazed. As we kept driving the sun began to burn through the fog giving us better views of more bison, elk and deer. In all we seen 25 bison, five elk and two deer. I was able to get great shots of the bison and elk, but the deer, by their very nature, didn't cooperate with the lens of my camera.

We returned to our campsite for breakfast. While Richard prepared it I went for another walk farther up the shore. I came across a well worn path that lead through a patch of raspberries and down to the shore. As I walked through, my legs getting wet from the dew, I picked a few berries and wondered if a bear too might enjoy them. I kept on. There, no more than 20 feet in front of me, I stopped dead in my tracks, a lone loon floated off shore. I have been trying, to no avail, to capture in my lens a loon for so long. There she was, and she was not going away. She performed beautifully for me and even sang her haunting call for me. What a way to start a day.


Post a Comment

<< Home