A beautiful park, a good pair of hiking shoes, a well stocked cooler and Alice, a standard poodle, game for anything, is what I would call a recipe for success. And that was exactly how a recent holiday Monday came together for us, as we decided to spend it at Rushing River Provincial Park in the district of Kenora.
Located a mere 2.5 hours from Winnipeg, the park is perfect for a vacation getaway, family picnic or, as in our case, an introduction to hiking for Alice. Now, if truth be told, I have never claimed to be much of a hiker so it could be said that it was an intro for me as well!
Our day began a little later than planned therefore we only made it to the park mid-morning. As it was a holiday, I was concerned about the late start but quickly discovered that my concerns were groundless. There was still ample parking available and there were plenty of picnic tables to choose from. It was, however, a different story for those arriving later in the day.
There are four trails available. Beaver Pond, Granite Knoll, Pine Ridge and Lower Rapids, each with varying degrees of difficulty. We opted for the relatively easy Lower Rapids Trail which is 1.8 kms long and loops around the rapids and waterfalls. It is thought to be an old portage route. If you have a penchant for photography, make sure that you have your camera on hand, as there are plenty of opportunities to snap some memorable photos.
An excellent job has been done to add stairs, walkways, and bridges where needed along the trail. In places where the moss has grabbed hold of the wooden boards, a plastic mesh has even been laid down in order to minimize the risk of slipping. Having said that, you still have to pay attention as there are lots of rocks and tree roots to navigate around.
Of interest to campers
Rushing River has both reserve-able and first come, first served campsites in and around Dogtooth Lake – many with electrical hookups. They can accommodate groups upwards of 50 people and have two sites designated as accessible for those with reduced mobility. Tent trailers are also available to rent. Bring your own bedding and dishes and you are set! The grounds are very clean and well kept as are the showers and washrooms.
The park also offers rentals for those feeling the call of the lake but find themselves without the necessary equipment. Kayaks, paddle boards and water bikes can be rented by the hour or day and canoes with a 3 day minimum. The rates are reasonable.
Rushing River is part of the 1200 km water trail component of the Trans-Canada Trail. Known as the Path of the Paddle, it connects Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park to Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For more information, check out www.pathofthepaddleassociation.com
By Debbie Ristimaki.