blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 8: via a Little Town On The Prairie to the Lake Of The Woods

River valley in Saskatchewan
We witnessed an incident during our breakfast on 11th Street in Regina when a young aboriginal man walked in and started to help himself to the buffet. The house manager intervened, saying he was calling the police, but the miscreant was so hungry he wouldn't budge, telling everyone it was his country too, and that he'd had a terrible day yesterday as well as a terrible night, which I'm sure was true. Chris and I felt sorry for him and offered to pay for his meal; when the youth shuffled off with a pile of toast and coffee in a polystyrene mug, the hotel manager didn't charge it to our room, just shrugged his shoulders and told us this happens all the time. It's sad that the city centres in the midwest of Canada seem to belong to these dropout natives who give their compatriots such a bad reputation. Probably this is why regeneration of the downtown is not easy. I don't think that turning the elegant old CN train station into a Casino can help much, either.

It was perfect flying weather today, cooler at altitude than on the ground, with small cumulus, though this did begin to grow into towering cumuli over some river valleys with steep sides and flooded oxbow lakes. Then the clouds thinned out again.

Erickson: the road to the airport (PTN on the left)

The Viking ship at Erickson
We've had enough of flying west so have turned eastward and this morning's two hours in the air took us back into Manitoba, to an utterly peaceful little town or village called Erickson (settled by Vikings, to judge by the road signs) situated half way between Brandon and Dauphin, in the rolling fields. The runway cut through the middle of a hayfield. The airport building was a hut with lilies in bloom by the doorsteps, that was originally used as a one room schoolhouse, one of the last such schoolhouses to be built in all of Canada. Erickson's other claim to fame is that it's the highest town in Manitoba, at over 2000ft asl. We were greeted by a gentlemanly, softly spoken, distinctly Scandinavian looking person, and when we walked into town for lunch came across some others of his kind. The blonde waitress at the Nordic Inn greeted an elderly customer as Miss Something, asking her politely how she was. I'd lay a bet that she was once the schoolmistress in the one room hut. In the park by Otter Lake was a carved Viking ship with flowers round its prow and a sign by a disused railway track with the rails gone to say this is now part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Leaving Erickson
Edge of Lake Manitoba
Red River, north of Winnipeg
I can imagine living here. I wouldn't mind it. We took off rather regretfully, having paid for our fuel by cheque, since there were no card readers, opening our flight plan to Kenora, just over the next provincial border in Ontario. This was another pleasing flight in fine weather all the way for two more hours, although we did see rain showers near our destination. One section was out across Lake Manitoba, crossing about 26NM of open water, a further distance than across the English Channel, we realised. But we were never more than 10 miles from the southernmost shore where the marshland is. We had a fine view of the (brown) Red River winding north of Winnipeg, too. Soon after that we were saying farewell to the prairies on the western edge of the forests. Kenora is surrounded by multitudinous lakes.

The last of the Prairie fields, near the Ontario border
Another crosswind landing!

Lake of the Woods on our approach to Kenora
Kenora airport is a long way outside town; the Shell office ordered a taxi for us to the Travelodge (motel) and the driver was a long haired native man with a large feather on the dashboard who was older and wiser than the young man stealing toast. This one spoke of the mistakes people had made when they tried to tame the flooded rivers with canals and dykes. When he was a child, he said, they'd let nature run her course and the flooded grasslands had quickly absorbed all the excess water with no harm done. If you leave nature alone, she balances things out in time. I told him I absolutely agree with that.

We walked to the main part of Kenora for an excellent Greek supper and sat on a bench by the lakeside boardwalk. Tomorrow we're staying on the ground for a rest.

Chris went to a lot of trouble to get the Internet connection working so that I could publish this post from the Travelodge. Thanks, Chris!

1 comment:

CWC said...

Is that a bear on the neo-Viking ship?