Monday, July 25, 2016

Steep Rock Beach: one-day road trip

Before I proceed, let me just say that not all the comments are appearing on the blog. Blogger sends me an email when someone comments and I know there was one from Sheri-Lee and I think some others, but for some reason, they're not appearing here. So I just wanted to say that I did get them. And I appreciate them all - thanks! I love comments!

I've been feeling sorry for myself that there's no road trip on the agenda for us this summer. I'm living vicariously through many of you, especially Shannon whose summer trip is in a category all of its own. But one thing we can do is day trips. Unfortunately Chloe was working and couldn't come with us, but I guess she had her own road trip last weekend (and another one next weekend).

We got up early, which was not easy since we were up late Saturday night. Friends came over for Indian food and we sat on the deck for hours, through rain and shine and darkness. But we forced ourselves from our bed, packed a picnic, woke the kids and were on the road by 8:30 with a stop at Tim Hortons for some breakfast.

We headed north on Hwy 6 and drove almost three hours to Steep Rock Beach. I'd seen pictures of it in Travel Manitoba brochures but I hadn't heard of anyone who'd been there and I was curious.

It's pretty sparsely populated up there and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Steep Rock is a tiny town with signs pointing to the harbour, the south cliffs, or the beach campground. It's all kind of spread out and sort of confusing. Our first stop was at the harbour and this is what we saw when we came over the hill. The hut wasn't open and the palm trees were obviously not real, but it still looked pretty cool. It was sunny when we left Winnipeg but shortly after we arrived in Steep Rock, it started to rain. The wind was super strong on the lake and the waves were pretty big. There were two swimmers playing in the waves with boogie boards and it looked pretty fun. But cold.

We walked around a bit, then drove to the beach campground. It would have been lovely to have our lunch by the beach, but the wind and the rain were not conducive to that plan. So we put the seats down in the van, spread out the blanket and ate our lunch in the back of the van. If Chloe and her cousins can sleep in a van, surely we could eat in ours. It was kind of fun; we thought of watching a Corner Gas episode on the van's DVD player but we didn't want our battery to die in the middle of nowhere.

And then suddenly, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and it turned into a gorgeous day.

We played grounders on the least safe/most fun play structure we've come across in a while, complete with splintery slides with huge metal rivets, swinging steps, and rusty chains. There was a second play structure with a tall fire pool that reached dizzying heights. A fall from the top of that would surely result in a bone fracture or death.

We also saw a few garter snakes. Dale calls them "gardener snakes;" one new resident to Canada will now do the same after he asked Dale what it was.

Then we drove to the south cliffs and saw steep rocks, hence the creative name of this area. These cliffs were the highlight (besides the snakes). I took way too many photos, but the view varied from each of the cliffs and I couldn't stop myself.

There were even a couple of caves.

The boy is not as tall as he looks; we were on standing on a slope.

Like I said, many pictures. On the plus side, we now have an stunning future wedding location for our children. It's good to plan ahead. I hope no one minds the 3-hour drive.
Eventually, we reluctantly headed home (except in Spencer's case, switch the word "reluctantly" for "finally") and stopped along the way to take meaningful photos of large statues. I wanted the kids to be in the picture so the scale was more obvious, but the kids don't always do what I want them to.

A hay bale dressed as a hippie, for reasons that are likely only clear to the creator. But I like it.
So that was fun. There are some really cool spots in Manitoba that are worth exploring. If anyone has any good suggestions of lesser-known places, let me know. Might I add that whole day cost nothing but the gas. We used gift cards for Tim Hortons, brought our own lunch, and no entrance fee or park pass is required at Steep Rock. We were planning to go out for dinner and/or stop for ice cream, but no one was hungry.
The entire weekend was pretty great. We hung out at Lion's Pool with the neighbours (and Jan made a brief appearance bearing slurpees) on Friday afternoon. Chloe, Spencer and I went to a hilarious Fringe show Friday night; we're still quoting lines from it. On Saturday morning, the girls and I went to the St. Norbert Farmers Market and Doug & Lorie came for dinner that night. The weekend was even sweeter since Friday was the last day of a 5-day "healthy eating challenge" which I may discuss in more detail another day.
Today is a beautiful, hot sunny day and the whole weeks looks good. It isn't possible to overstate how much I love summer.


Anonymous said...

That's an action packed wknd!! That's awesome that you go out exploring Manitoba. Lots of great places to see. We'll have to take our Spanish friends!

Anonymous said...

I'm still chuckling at the gardener snake. Hee. Looks amazing. We'd like to tag along next time!


Shannon Silvestri said...

I have my own category!!!!!!!!
I love steep rock. Gorgeous.

someone said...

This was awesome! I love that in one of the rock photos, it looks like that part of the cliff is suspended in air. I absolve Dale's unimpressed face eating in the back of the van ;) .

Lion's Pool brought back a flood of memories. That was my summer hang out. I learned to swim there. And also fainted standing in line in the hot sun when I was 11. Ah, good times!!

xo Sio

L said...

I meant to link to Shannon's blog since she does indeed have her own category and it's worth checking out:

Sheri-Lee's comment is not showing up here (again) but she pointed out that the hay bale appears to be dressed as a surfer, not a hippie. I think she's right.

Martha said...

fabulous adventure! It's making me want to head out there with Mike this weekend one day to sight see!