Look, I’m old, arthritic, and employed. I cannot be embarking upon a giant trek along the entire Crow Wing Trail at once. But that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to. I totally do. I’ve been daydreaming about it and studying it quite a lot, and this has resulted in me taking little bites out of the trail, particularly the parts that are within quick driving distance of Steinbach where I live.
There are a LOT of neat spots, in my estimation, right around here. I love the effort, research, imagination, and love that has gone into creating this recreational trail for everyone to enjoy. Look at this adorable little shelter with the cutest little picnic table!
There’s even a biffy in the woods at this location!
Some parts of the trail bring me very close to where I grew up, between Kleefeld, Grunthal, and St. Pierre.
I don’t so much like going by the farmyard of my childhood — seeing the changes hurts too much. But to walk the Crow Wing Trail just a few miles to the west feels really good.
One day, I took a vacation day and puttered around by myself, going directly to the points of the Trail that most interested me. SUCH A CHEATER! I know there are pilgrims who do the Camino on this route, and others who put in 40 kilometre days. While I dream of that being me, the reality is, these fits and starts are probably realistically about all I can really do. Just driving to highlights and checking them out. Like these beautiful blossoms two weeks ago!
I found this little bench and informative signs so delightful! I sat here and ate my GORP bar and drank my water and felt the sun on my back. It was so nice. Just me and nature!
I was by myself on a dirt road that I’d never seen before. A storm was rolling in but I didn’t really believe it. At that point we had not had rain at all this year (at least, I don’t think so) so I almost just had given up on rain, frankly.
But I did eventually get in the car and head home. I figured I’d just head directly east. How bad could the road be?
I found myself descending into a gully that certainly by now (after our long-awaited rain) features creek water flowing over the road.
And then the road turned to dirt. And then the rain began. And then I began saying a lot of swear words as I drove down a road not meant for a little Jetta.
BUT I MADE IT HOME!
Here are other points of the Crow Wing Trail that I’ve explored this past year.
This leads to the Senkiw Bridge and it’s a favourite:
I’m jealous of the folks that live along the Roseau River. How beautiful!
Another day Andrew and I took our little car along the bone-dry dirt roads to see the river lot signage near the Mennonite Landing.
One of the signs has a reprint of this sign which the Canadian government sent to Europe, enticing folks to colonize the prairies. That’s why we’re here. I’m guessing they never showed this poster to the OG people of these lands. It probably wouldn’t have gotten the green light.
These signs also illustrate the Metis river lots. That’s why these roads are so jagged in this area — it’s where the river lots meet the Dominion’s township range grid survey.
I appreciate this sign and I am thankful to the farmer who owns this land and permitted Crow Wing Trail trekkers to walk upon their land.
This is what it looks like, here:
As you get closer to the Red River (and to the Mennonite Landing) you see more trees.
In winter I explored the Crow Wing Trail in Otterburne. Actually I didn’t have to use the trail — the river became a beautiful trail!
I stopped at the cemetery, of course.
Otterburne has the CUTEST post office. This is where you can park to access the trail and/or river!
Being winter, I also crossed the river to check out the famed Bridle Path (often misunderstood to be the Bridal Path) at Providence University College.
If you follow the trail from Otterburne to St. Pierre you’ll find yourself here. I’ve written about this before.
The site of the St. Pierre Museum!
This had been a convent. It celebrates the history of the area, beautifully.
This is where I learned that the Crow Wing Trail used to be called the Woods Trail, and it began in 1844.
This is the ideal stopping point, at J’em Bistro in the Museum. This maple bun changed my life.
Then you can continue behind the museum and see the historic Goulet House. According to the Crow Wing Trail website, you can arrange to sleep here!
There’s clearly a lot more to see of this trail, but I’ve loved being a cheater and walking bits and pieces of the trail and learning about the history of the area in the process. I’m so grateful to the Crow Wing Trail community for bringing this trail back to life!
Follow-up rant if you’re still here. There was a guy in one of the hiking groups I follow. He tried to do this entire trail very quickly and burned out his feet by the time he arrived in St. Malo. He kept posting complaints about all the “road walking” you need to do to follow the trail. HEY obviously not everyone is gonna be as kind as that one farmer and let the trail pass through. People are generally defensive of their property for obvious reasons (too many jerks amirite) and also weird that the road walking took him by surprise — had he not seen the map before setting out? I mean, that’s on him. Anyhoo, I skipped all that by just driving to the parts that interest me because I am a lazy cheater who reads maps. But SOMEDAY I hope to at least walk the Crow Wing Camino! Dreams and goals, my friends.