Saturday, November 5

Project Love Manitoba: River Tubing

Adventure number two began with the decision to find a river down which to tube.  My two I Love Manitoba Adventure friends had completed the research and we headed east of the city where several rivers were possibilities.  A quick stop at the local information centre once we were nearer to the rivers was not as helpful as we thought it would be, so we tried visiting a few rivers to complete our own research.  After a quick look at two very low, slimy rivers that were not moving in the least, I stopped a man cycling by to see if a local would be able to help us.  The four of us chatted about possible tubing options but this man let us know that no rivers were passable by tube so late in the summer.  He then proceeded to tell us about his northern fishing adventures and invite us to one in the spring.  Tempting....but back to our dashed tubing river hopes.

We regrouped, as adventurous people do, and changed plans.  A provincial park just north of where we were was an option and we headed for the green patch on the map.  We reached Whitemouth Falls Provincial Park along the Winnipeg River (Wikipedia), with few expectations and were surprised by a beautiful outcrop of rocks, short falls, long beaches, clear water, and large picturesque dam.

Gorgeous surprise after we changed tubing plans
Rocky outcrop for floaters or picnickers alike

After the breathtaking view of this rocky area meeting a long lake with a distant bridge, we began blowing up boats and planing our exploring.  I was first in my boat as the others organized their belongings and I set out in the rocky section to observe the details.  I came across what I thought were bubbles on the surface of the water, but upon further inspection were hundreds of water beetles floating about on the top of the water.  

Each spot a bug.
Hundreds were enjoying the water.
Although slightly creepy, I pressed on.  I floated to the other side of this part of the lake, put my boat on the rocks, climbed out and slid down the short water set of water falls on my butt.  Not as slippery as I thought, I spent most of my time pushing myself along, then returned to my boat.

Christa, Stephanie and the dog Charlie starting out.
Christa enjoying her raft

Friends were ready and we set out to explore the area.  We had to paddle as the lake did have a natural flow but was not as fast as we wanted to go.  Each of us were perched in our new bright orange boats enjoying this new park.

Me in my boat

Charlie in Christa's boat

I spotted a rock outcrop covered with birds further into the lake and decided to head for this area for a photo shoot opportunity.  Despite my stealthy plan to hide behind a high set of rocks further away, then slow and quietly float closer by using the rocks as visual cover, these birds floated or few away based on sheer animal instinct and survival.  I was not able to get any closer than this.

We talked about graduate school, research, our respective home provinces, plans after graduation and how glad we were at starting these adventures, as we were really beginning to enjoy the natural area we were currently experiencing and Manitoba in general.  We floated and paddled on.

Me enjoying the quiet view

Christa enjoying her floating time
I had a chance to stalk the birds and pelicans again but several large motor boats floating by always interrupted my stealthy approach and did not get any closer than this.  

After I stalked the pelicans that kept floating away, I decided to park my boat on the beach and find a safe bush behind which to relieve myself.  Earlier Christa and I had been talking about why there were several houses on one side of the lake but not on the other.  After reaching the shore and stepping out of my boat I realized why.  The deceptively beautiful looking shore on the east side of the river turned into a bog like slew of sinkage and grossness.  I have never been on a beach that sucked me into its depths with every footstep.  I had to take a picture of my experience as I screamed, complained and attempted to keep my shoes on with each step.  Such a peaceful and deceptively beautifully looking beach.  Stay on the other side of the river!

Feet past my ankles in sand and dirt.  Yuck!
All told, we spent 6 hours in this area, exploring, paddling, talking, listening, floating and absorbing the view.  I am glad our river tubing plans were foiled as this spot was more beautiful than any of the rivers we had inspected along the way.

This experience just reminds me that in travel and exploration of a new place, flexibility in planning and a desire to be spontaneous can create an incredibly amazing time.  As well, that not all beautiful places at a distance are as lovely as they are upon further inspection.  The deceptive beach did not ruin my time in this area and I would go back but this time with a delicious picnic.

Short waterfalls that I slid down on the right.


  1. The bugs on the water looked disgusting. I hope you floated right over them.


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