Bird’s Hill park became twice the size today

I’m a little embarrassed to confess my new discovery. Lisa delivered my walking location today with an invitation to do the Chickadee trail in Bird’s Hill Provincial park. It’s a 4km loop, with a lookout tower along the way — great way to spend a chilly, Sunday afternoon. However, here is the embarrassing part: I had no idea that the part of the park that features the Chickadee trail even existed. There is another lookout tower near the public beach, which is where I thought we were heading.

Why the shame? Bird’s Hill park is the closest park to Winnipeg, and a place I have spent a fair amount of time. I have camped there twice with Ryan. I’ve never been that excited by the trails in the park … because I only knew about the dinky ones. I knew people hiked and skied at Bird’s Hill, and now I know why. The trail we were on today was wonderful. A loop is always the best, as you don’t need to see the same things twice, plus it keeps the traffic way down. On an in and out trail, you catch traffic both ways. On the loop today, even though there were half a dozen cars in the lot, we only saw one couple with a dog on the trail, and another couple with a dog just as we finished. Of course, there are several trails with the same start point, so others may have been nowhere near us.

The weather is definitely moving to not summer. I was wearing a black jacket, clearly showing the snowflakes landing on me. But it was an insignificant amount, and happened close to the end of the trail. The air was crisp, but three light layers still kept me comfortable, though it was a bit chilly as we stopped for tea in the tower. My theory was that we would be warmer, somewhat out of the wind up there. When we left the tower, looking for bathrooms we were hoping for (and found), Lisa discovered that the little building was a warm-up shack, and someone earlier had started a fire. We stayed for a few minutes and warmed up (the tower was actually quite cold).

The trail is 4 km long, but it seemed quick and easy. Distance is always easier with company, but the dirt trail with mostly flat terrain also helps. The prairie landscape is the best for getting into shape.

We came back to town through a back route, and found a new trail system that we need to explore. East St. Paul has a growing trail system. See here. What’s so amazing about my whole day is how much I learned. This is my turf. The back-road we were on is where I ride my bike all the time. How did I miss a map of a trail system, a map that Lisa picked up as we drove by? How did I miss that there was another half of  a park where I spend so much time?

This project is changing my brain. I have always been proud of how much I pay attention, but it seems that I have missed as much, or more, than I caught. It’s a shock. But it’s also exciting. I have a whole new world to discover, in the places I know the best. How cool is that?

Leave a Comment