Sunday, June 23, 2013


Trans Canada Trail, Winnipeg: Part 4-Harte Trail to Roblin Blvd.

Distance: 11.2 km

Harte Trail to Roblin Blvd

Fort Whyte to Assiniboine Forest

Harte Trail to Roblin Blvd
We started this walk at the entrance of the Assiniboine Forest on the North side of  Shaftsbury Blvd and Sterling Lyon Parkway. We parked at an empty parking lot North of the retirement home. I don't know if the lot belongs to the church nearby but there was not a lot of available parking at that location.
We started off fine and shared the trail with a few cyclists for the first few minutes. There was some signage about a bike race that was apparently taking place that day. The signage read: PAIN IN THE ASS...iniboine. That was pretty cute! I later found out that the race is 32 kms - part cycling, part canoeing following the Assiniboine River.
Our walk started out well enough and I was using my hiking poles which I wanted to do for the entire 11kms. Within minutes of starting and making way for  a few bikes coming from behind, we were dodging many more for at least 45 minutes along the trail. Soon I had to stop using my poles because it would have been dangerous for the cyclists. We stopped several times because most of them were riding in pairs.
I think as a matter of courtesy, everyone should really be sharing the path and riding single file would have allowed us to walk and them to ride safely. They were friendly enough when passing - even greeting us with a "Good Morning" or "Thank you Ladies." but they were gone before we could suggest riding single file. At one point, we had to stop and brace against the shrubs to give them room to pass.
If you have ever walked through a wooded area in Winnipeg in the Spring without mosquito repellant, you are in for a very rude surprise. We didn't think to put on repellant before we left home so we were slapping mosquitoes off for quite some time. At one point along the trail, a pair of tandem cyclists stopped well ahead of us and one of them jumped off. I guess she had to pee but wasn't quite fast enough because we caught up to them and the other rider apologized for not being more discreet about hiding in the bushes. I could see some nettles and poison ivy around so I was glad it wasn't me who needed the pit stop!
Eventually the cyclists passed and the walk became much more stress-free. We walked along the trail until we got to Cullen Drive which has a path connecting to it directly from the Harte Trail. We connected to Dale Blvd and headed North to finish at Roblin Blvd. We went into 7Eleven and bought a coffee each. That was a good walk (map of the actual route above). A bit of trivia about 7 Eleven: it was started in 1927 so it is almost 100 years old. It has over 50,000 stores in 16 countries. The name was changed from Tote'm Stores (for people having to tote their groceries home) to 7-Eleven because the store hours were 7am-11pm.
General comments about the trail: Although I heard about this trail, this was my first time walking it. The stewardship for this trail is the Friends of the Harte Trail. The trail is crushed limestone and is very compact so it's relatively easy to walk. Lots of wildlife can be spotted (we saw doe and her very young fawn). The vegetation varies -  marshy areas with pussy willows, tall grasses, and birch trees which form a nice shade over the path. The trail is well marked and very easy to follow, crossing over a few streets as we headed West. Except for the cycling race that day, you could maintain a steady pace because there are few intersections to wait on traffic.