Sunday August 13, 2017 (Canada)
Unlike our last camping experience, this time we woke up to beautiful sunshine! We had a nice morning swim and took our time packing up the tent, making sure to let everything dry fully this time before shoving it back in the bag!
There are a few short hikes around Rushing River, and we went for the Lower Rapids hike. It's quite a short distance from the highway, but before too long the sounds of the vehicles fade away, only to be replaced by the sound of rushing waters. We found a neat little spot to walk out into the rapids and spent some time dipping our feet in the river. Quite a beautiful, relaxed morning!
Before leaving Ontario we stopped off in Kenora for a meal. The Lake of the Woods Brewing Company was hopping (beer joke), so there wasn't much debate on where to stop. The tasting flights were quite reasonably priced, and we managed to get Crazy Uncle Hard Root Beer on draft for Sandra! That's a first!
After the meal we wandered around the downtown a bit, then took a small detour to check out the waterfront. There was a large tent set up, so I decided to check with the security guard as to what was going on. It was a fishing derby, and entrance was free! As soon as we walked in we were face-to-face with the full spectacle of it all. There was an announcer calling out the results of the weigh-ins, 50/50 draws in full force, a live-updated leaderboard of team totals, and a huge crowd of onlookers crossing their fingers for their favourites. From the tent we continued out towards the docks, and only then understood the scale of the affair. Various fishing boats were leaving while others checked in, megaphones were blasting out the calls for teams to land and pass along their catch. I was impressed that the entire event was live release! The fish are carted around in big tupperware bins until they hit the weigh scale. After being weighed, they're transferred back to a specialized live-release boat that keeps oxygenated water ready for them. I'm not too big on fishing, but it was nice to see the care being taken by the participants and staff. It was a whole new world I'd never experienced before, and very cool to witness!
Before leaving Kenora we made sure to visit Husky the Muskie. I mean, no self-respecting town goes without a novelty-sized noun, right?
We'd already crossed into the central time zone, but now came our first border crossing: we'd arrived in Manitoba! It wasn't long from the Manitoba border into Winnipeg itself, where we headed straight to Folklorama! It's a huge, annual cultural festival in Winnipeg that celebrates regions from all around the globe. Participating countries get a venue to showcase their customs, food, drink, and dancing. The public can attend a given pavilion for a few bucks to see one of several shows each night. Our Airbnb host's girlfriend was dancing at the Spanish pavilion, so we met him there, grabbed some chorizo, an Alhambra beer, and settled in for an evening of castanet-fuelled debauchery!
We're going to take it pretty slow in Winnipeg in preparation for our upcoming trip north. We have to re-pack our bags and prepare for some different conditions – we're looking forward to it!
Fun fact: Did you know that Kenora used to be called Rat Portage? I think the new name is nicer, personally. Also, the Kenora Thistles won the Stanley Cup in 1907. Colour me impressed!