Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trans Canada Trail, Winnipeg: Part 1-South City Limits to Kilkenny Drive

Distance: 8.7 kms

Today is the first part of our TCT walk. I was out of town teaching on Friday evening and yesterday all day so I was a bit tired when I got home. It's been a long week and I still have this awful cold and cough that I picked up in Portugal. I laid out my clothes, trekking poles, and hat as well as my cross-body bag to hold my water bottle, sunglasses, granola bar, emergency whistle (given to me by a friend many years ago), key, driver's licence, money, chap stick, and tissues. I was set but combine tiredness and a bit of excitement and I could hardly sleep.  
Sharm and I had already worked out the logistics of each destination, realizing that we would have to meet at the end point of our walk, leave one vehicle there, drive in the second vehicle to the start point, leave it there, walk to the end, pick up the first vehicle and drive back to the start point to retrieve the first vehicle. Sounds more complicated than it really is. Fortunately for Parts 1 and 2, we don't have do that because the walks end or start at her home 
I arrived at her house at 8:30 this morning. I picked her up and drove to Turnbull Drive where we intended to start our walk at the other side of the Floodway Bridge. When we got there and parked, the bridge was closed and there were security people watching the bridge so we couldn't walk across. We decided to start on the Turnbull Drive side of the bridge. It was a slightly cool morning - perfect weather for walking. We continued West on Turnbull then North on Highway 75 (Pembina Highway). We soon entered St Norbert and turned right at De L'eglise Avenue just after we crossed the St Norbert Bridge.
After a few turns to St Theresse Avenue and Lord Avenue, we arrived at an open air church called La Chapelle de Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Secours (Chapel of our lady of Good Help). It was built in 1875 and is now a provincial heritage site. I recalled visiting this site more than 30 years ago when we were looking for a house to buy in St Norbert. At that time, it seemed likes such a far way from the city centre in Winnipeg but now with urban sprawl, it's no distance at all. We stopped and took a couple of pictures and headed across the street to the most gorgeous set of condos or apartments hugging the river and a lovely little trail. We were on a mission though and continued our walk along Lemay Avenue and back to Pembina Highway.
Now for the indelicate part (psst - bathroom break).  We all need to do this but we don't like to talk about it. For those of you intending to walk this at a later time, you'll be interested to know that you can stop at the St Norbert Hotel before you start the St Norbert part (we didn't do that) or you can go to Subway on Pembina when you are done the St Norbert walk (we did that).
Then it was down Cloutier Drive though a really lovely green space, under the Perimeter Bridge to Kilkenny Drive. We ended our walk on Rice Road and then made our way back to Sharm's home where we picked up her car and drove back to Turnbull Drive to get mine. 
Sharm was wearing a GPS that was mapping the distance and according to that, we walked about 8.7kms. According to my calculations prior to the walk, we were supposed to do 9kms but with the closure of Turnbull Drive, we probably did .3km less than we calculated. All in all, it was a good walk.

As a general comment about this part of the trail: it is maintained by the St Norbert Trials Association which has a number of trails in that area that they maintain. The TCT is part of those trail systems. Don't rely on the trail markers because the trail is not well marked so it's easy to get off track. We had the printed map above, so that helped when we needed to refer to it. Secondly, the map above does not give the distance from start to finish so I went on MapMyWalk and mapped the route.  I have a free membership and it is a very good site for mapping out exact routes and distances which includes trails. I do not find Google to work for mapping a route that you would like; rather, if you put in a start and finish address, it will give you a route but on roads but not paths.

I later found out that if you go on the site of the trail association that maintains stewardship of the particular trail, there is information on trail length, washrooms, parking and points of interest. This would be useful information to have on the TCT map.
Next week: Part 2 - Kilkenny to Bishop