Gimli // Spruce Woods

Aaron is a big fan of The Lord of the Rings series, and I’m currently reading it, so of course we had to make a stop in Gimli, MB. A little beach town on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, Gimli is known for it’s annual Icelandic Festival and for the giant viking statue by the beach. Our day in Gimli was a cool and rainy one, and although beautiful in any kind of weather, we agreed that it would be an especially nice place in the summer. It’s on a long list of places to return!

This was the first driving day where we started to notice the landscape flattening into the prairies. I love the rugged beauty of the escarpment, but farmland reminds me of home.

Next we headed to Spruce Woods Provincial Park. By the time we made it to the park the weather had cleared, and we would enjoy warm sunny days for the rest of the week. After some cold camping in northern Ontario it was so nice to feel the sun on our faces again!

After speaking with a really helpful park ranger, we decided to hike the entire 12km trail through the Spirit Sands and into The Devil’s Punchbowl and finishing with the Assiniboine River. The Spirit Sands are one of the many sights on this trip that have made me marvel at Canada’s geographical diversity. Four square kilometers of sand dunes, the Spirit Sands are often mistakenly referred to as a dessert. The area receives too much annual rainfall to technically qualify as a dessert, but when you’re hiking through it, it can definitely feel like one. In the middle of all this sand lies “The Devil’s Punchbowl” a spring-fed body of water which, like the sand hills that surround it, is constantly shifting. The Assiniboine River was an especially exciting stop for me, because the Stoney (Assiniboine) and Blackfoot (Siksika) First Nations used to trade furs with the Hudson’s Bay Company here. Two tribes which I have a very special interest in.

Soon it was time to hit the road again. As always, there’s more to come soon!



4 replies »

  1. I am sooo enjoying following your blog and seeing all that you’re seeing. Within one area, it’s so surprising all the changes in terrain. You are showing so many great sites and I’m enjoying hearing the stories behind the places.

    So how did you find doing the full 12km hike through the Spirit Sands and into The Devil’s Punchbowl? It must have been a hard walk through the Spirit Sands part. How much time would you say you’d need to do the trail and enjoy the sights?

    In an earlier blog it was interesting to hear about all the “hidden” costs for campsites in Manitoba. I’ll be interested to hear what the story is in the other provinces.

    Are you having to do much “roadside” camping or non-campground camping? … and what has that been like?

    I wish you safe travels! … and can’t wait for the next installment! 🙂

    • Cathy – thank you again for the comments. 🙂 Canada offers truly diverse terrain. The 12km wasn’t bad – the sand definitely made it a little harder. Fortunately we had been building up to it slowly. One recommendation is to bring lots of water! Looking back we planned about 4-6 hours for it. Mind you we were taking lots of photos and stopping quite often. I think 4-5 would be a good estimate. They say in rougher terrain to budget 20 minutes per km.

      We definitely spent a lot of time in Walmarts which has been just fine. 🙂 Always someone else there to keep us company.

  2. That would be quite a hike, mostly in sand it looks like.
    Beautiful pictures. . . makes me feel like I’m there.
    And the big prairie sky. . . mmmm. . . can’t get enough.

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