June 15, 2017
Oh the Canadian Prairies! Where the Transcanadian highway becomes this never ending straight line through crops of all colours. We were dreading the crossing because, like most Canadiens, we don’t know our Prairies well and it is easy to stick to the cliche of a flat boring land.
We rolled into Winnipeg just as the fall did. The leaves were turning and the crops being harvested. We had a wonderful time discovering what the city has to offer. Lindsay Holmes got us to discover the beautiful parks and paths of The Forks, the green space/historic site in downtown Winnipeg. If you happen to be in the area, I suggest a stop to take in and discover the gorgeous landscape which has seen over 6000 years of human activity. We discovered it both from ground and water level as we paddled on the Assiniboine River up to the confluence of the Red where it is located.
Less than three hours from the capital, we met with Steven Walker an enthusiastic paddler from Winnipeg who showed us what it is to be Manitoba’s next generation of whitewater lover. What an inspiration! Then, we camped in Nopiming Provincial Park with newly met likeminded nature lovers from Brazil! Great times fishing, and exploring this new part of the province.
Then, we left for Saskatchewan but not before a gorgeous detour by Riding Mountain National Park where we enjoyed fall colours.
Saskatoon was pretty, as usual. The city of bridges that I had seen many times before, I was discovering for the first time from the water. Marcus Storey, co-owner of Escape Sports and our local Sero Story took us on a fun day of adventure stand-up paddling on the river and trying out OneWheel. So much fun!
After this good time in the city, we headed for the country and spend a couple of days on a ranch that belongs to John’s family. Good times with good people resting, exploring and relaxing.
The weather was slowly getting colder and we wanted to keep making progress towards milder climates. It was time to enter a new province… Alberta! We had heard, from many that Hinton was a great community with good mountain biking, and we were excited to bike! We got there just as October was pointing around the corner. The area, in the foothills of the Rockies is gorgeous with glacier blue rivers, hills and mountains in the background. The fresh snow that showed up during our stay just made it more magical. We hiked, biked and experienced our first cold spell.
The trails were great and we were lucky to be guided by one of the area’s best rider, Mike Langford. Make sure to read his story!
From Hinton, we entered into Jasper National Park. This place is stunning. It was my first time seeing the rockies and I was blown away. The scenery, the wildlife, the beautiful lakes and rivers and so much more to offer for adventure. Our story on Roy Glew is the best example of a life that can be changed by the beauty this place has to offer.
From Jasper we made the drive down on Glacier Parkway to Banff. My English vocabulary is not elaborated enough to tell you how stunning those 300 km were. Just crazy views everywhere you look for the entire drive and plenty of adventures to be had if you have time to stop (make the time). This is without a doubt the prettiest road I traveled on and lucky for us, the Westy is slow enough that we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves!
We spent a little more time than usual in Canmore. We had to regroup, recuperate and restart. We had parts to change on the van, tires to change, shipments to receive and it was easier to have a little basecamp to do that. Friends allowed us to use their place to do so and it was quite useful. With all this time in Canmore, we were able to explore the area by foot, bike surf and and SUP which was great. We also met some amazing old and new friends and had the chance to feature three Sero Stories in the area. Take a look at Brittany’s surf journey on the Kananaskis, Kris’ ascension to the top levels of ski-cross and Chad’s caring paddling journey shot on Lake Louise.
This completed our journey through the Prairies. It was everything but flat and boring. It was fun, surprising and all kinds of beautiful. I hope you enjoyed following along!