A perfect fall walk in La Barrière Park

I’ve lived in Winnipeg for ten years. I have been interested in parks from my first day here. I was a 100% country girl until moving to Winnipeg, so green space and trees are critical to my well-being. I’ve heard about La Barrière park many times. I thought I had been to the park. My friend and I walk every Friday morning, and today it was to be  La Barrière. We both got there on time, but it turns out my there and Lisa’s there were not the same place. I was at St Norbert park. That has always been  La Barrière park to me. Luckily, Lisa is long-suffering and patient, we both have mobile phones, and the two parks are only a few miles apart.

I have been missing out on a great little park, and a fabulous trail along the La Salle river. It’s hard to believe that it is almost the middle of November. Today there was frost on the grasses along the river, but it was still surprisingly warm. We wore only long-sleeved shirts and fleece jackets (mitts and hats help) and were quite comfortable.

The trail wiggles along the river bank, or you can stick to the straighter trail just a few feet to the south. We did a little of both, most likely following the pattern of our conversation. We were deep in conversation at times, calling for the straight, wide path. In the quiet or small talk times we tended to wander toward the river to appreciate the colors of the grass, the mirror quality of the river, the eagle overhead for a while or a huge stump in the water.

We used to go for breakfast, but for the last bunch of meetings we have been carrying a lunch with us. Today, at almost the turn-around point, we found a picnic table right by the river. We did end up a bit chilled, but that was because we really did linger. In mid-November, you know these moments are eventually going to go away for quite a while. We were quite surprised that we only rand into one couple and a woman the whole time we were out.

We came back along a road/trail in a field. That took us by a building with a sign about protected species work. As we ended the trail, it led through buildings we assumed were for the Boy Scouts. All along the trail you can see evidence of wood gathered for fires, outhouses and signs. However, there has been a change since the maps were printed. The road we followed back should not be used. That is all part of the protected species work, and the trail should be treated as an in and out trail. For now, there is no sign to warn you. I think if we had walked the road about halfway back and then went back to the river trail, we would have been fine. There are several access points between the river and the higher, field trail.

We really enjoyed this trail, which is at the end of Waverley off the perimeter (there is a left-turn light for those coming from the east). If you know Aurora Farm, the park is just past the farm. The park is on the west side of the road, with plenty of tables and pit toilets (flush toilets during the summer). There is another, short trail, on the west side. We walked the 4-5km trail on the east side. It’s a pretty long drive for me from the east side of the city, but I will be back. Love that river trail, and look forward to revisiting when the snow finally arrives.

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