Sunday, June 09, 2013

Trans Canada Trail, Winnipeg: Part 3-Bishop Grandin Blvd. to Fort Whyte Centre

Distance: 11.03 kms
Bishop to Fort Whyte

Fort Whyte to Assiniboine Forest

Last night Sharm and I looked at the weather for today and there was supposed to be rain starting at 8am. We discussed our plan for our 11km hike today and came up with a back-up plan. The plan? Unless there was lightening, we'd walk, come rain or shine.
Logistically, it is still easy getting to and from our Start/End points. We parked at Appleby's at Pembina and Chancellor and arranged for Robin to pick us up at the end of our walk and drive us back to our cars.

We both parked at Appleby's at Pembina and Chancellor (I took a half of a banana loaf I baked last night for her to take home for my grandbabies). We started out at a good pace and soon reached Waverley and Bishop. Since a good part of the trail continuing along Bishop is now non-existent (it lasted about one month two years ago until it was ripped up to make a new road), we took a safer detour North on Waverley and walked West along Scurfield Blvd to Route 90. Then we continued North to McGillivray Blvd. We considered making a bathroom stop at the gas station but we didn't have to, so we kept going. We walked West along the South side of McGillivray Blvd. until we got to the pedestrian gate of the Fort Whyte Nature Centre. There are some paths covered with wood chips but we stayed on the gravel path.

We stopped at the interpretive centre and went in for a bathroom break. This doesn't seem like something that one would want to talk about but one does have to be practical when nature calls. Just as we were entering the building, an older gentleman called out: "Oh, I see we have a Nordic walker!" I was using my urban walking poles and decided that today I would use it for 6kms only but I had nearly completed 7 kms by the time I got to the centre. 
When we came out, the gentleman was doing some work right along the path we had to walk so we stopped and chatted. His name is Bob and he is a volunteer at the centre. As luck would have it, he teaches urban poling (also known as Nordic walking) which has nothing to do with pole dancing (in case you were wondering) and gave me a couple of tips for adjusting my poles (they were slightly too low for my height). He suggested where Sharm could get some and off we went with a big thank you for the advice and the chat. I keep meaning to take my camera and I keep forgetting. Lovely lake and several buffalo in the field.

We were supposed to exit Fort Whyte Centre and turn left to head west to finish at Shaftsbury Blvd and Sterling Lyon Highway but we turned right instead and ended up in the parking lot (surprise!) of Cabela's (my new favourite store). We ended there and did a quick walk through the store while waiting for Robin. Next time, we'll start right in the parking lot - just where we left off today. I did the entire 11.6 kms with my poles (took a bit of getting used to the newly adjusted length). I thought my shoulders would be sore but surprisingly, they are not. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel it. Maybe not. I've been using 10lb dumbbells to do some upper body work so maybe I'm doing okay.

General comments about the trail: We walked a combination of two trails - the complete Bishop Grandin/McGillivray to Fort Whyte and part of the Fort Whyte to Assiniboine Forest (to the start of Assiniboine Forest at Shaftsbury Blvd.). The trail as laid out above was mostly accurate except for the piece along Bishop Grandin from Waverley to McGillivray. That whole piece of trail is almost non-existent so don't use it or you'll be walking on the Bishop with traffic going by at 80-100kms per hour. Definitely not safe. The map TCT map should be updated to show an alternate trail (note to stewards of this part of the trail). Secondly, the pedestrian gates at Fort Whyte Centre have specific opening and closing times so depending on what time of day you plan to use the trail, you may find yourself locked out. I would suggest that if this is part of the TCT, then it ought to be open 24/7. Bathrooms are at the start at Mac's Convenience Store, at the Shell gas station at Bishop Grandin and Scurfield Blvd., at Fort Whyte Centre and at Cabela's. Good to know these things. 

Next week: Harte Trail to Roblin Blvd.