Sunday, June 01, 2014

Pembina Valley Hike

This was a perfect day to go on a Manitoba hike and that's exactly what I did. We went with our Prairie Pathfinders group of about 50 people in total with Wendy and Leone as our lead guides. 

Robin and I left home at about 10:30am and arrived at the Pembina Valley Provincial Park (after a small detour that we made because of unclear signage). We had a sandwich and some juice and and off we all went on a somewhat strenuous hike.  

This was the first time for us to hike in this area so it was good to have Wendy leading us. It means that I don't have to concentrate on the path so I can enjoy the scenery. And some of it was quite stunning, really. We think of Manitoba as flat prairie but I am discovering that within a short two hour drive, there are some amazing hills and valleys. 

There was also a lovely creek with a lot less water than I thought there might be after the coldest and seemingly wettest winter in more than 115 years.

We stopped part way to take some pictures of the Pembina Valley with the Pembina river running through it. I felt like I was on vacation in a foreign country. 

The walk back from the river to the starting point was a bit hot or maybe it was just me but I had to stop a few times to pour water on my hands and my head to cool myself down.. I was glad we took a lot of water because last week I did a hike in Selkirk and I thought I would pass out from the heat (32C with a humidex of 37C) and not enough water. This time I was more prepared but we still went through a lot of water. I found the heat and humidity with almost no wind today a bit stifling but when you're hiking, you should anticipate anything. 

And when I say anything, I mean ticks and black flies and mosquitoes. There were no flies and mosquitoes - at least none that bothered me, but when I got back to the car and unzipped my convertible long pants to make them shorter, there on my leg was a wood tick. I am really grossed out by them - not because I don't like creepy things but because of all the stories I hear about ticks and West Nile virus. 

For the next 45 minutes on our way to La Riviere for a community fish fry sponsored by the Shriners, I kept feeling my head to see if any had settled there and also my legs and arms. Couldn't find any until I was in line waiting to get into to hall to get my food and the man standing in front of me had one on the back pocket area of his pants. I kept hitting it and finally he turned around and looked at me like I was a bit strange for smacking his butt. I quickly explained (with red face and all) that there was a wood tick on him. He thanked me for brushing it off and turned around to face me and there was another just at his front pocket so I started smacking that one too only to realize after that it was probably not the best course of action. He was kind enough and laughed it off. 

I spent the next 5 minutes in line feeling that things were crawling all over me and by the time I got my empty plate to start filling it up, I thought I felt something crawling around my waist. I reached under my T-shirt and there was indeed a tick on my back. Needless to say, I could hardly focus on my dinner for thinking that there were ticks crawling all over me. When I finished, I quickly went off to the washroom and checked myself as best I could. I could find no more so I could make it home without completely freaking out. 

I totally enjoyed a hot shower and with no wood ticks in sight, I can now think about how lovely a day it was to take a hike. Hope your weekend was as good.


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