A sunny morning in Manitou Beach

Sculpture Garden at Little Manitou Art Gallery

“Why does it always rain when we go to Manitou Beach?” Sandra asks. It doesn’t always, but when you wake up on a Saturday morning and it feels like nighttime because the skies are overcast and the rain is drizzling like a Vancouver winter, it seems like a good day for a soak in a hot mineral spa. Manitou Beach is only an hour and 20 minutes away. It’s not that it rains when we go to Manitou Beach. It’s that we go to Manitou Beach when it rains.

Last Saturday, the cat woke us up at the first light of dawn. Robins were singing outside the window and the smaller birds were making a racket in the trees and bushes around the yard. The cat was excited: time to get up, guys!

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Great day to tour the countryside

Autumn colours and ferry, Highway 782, St. Laurent, SK (Darrell Noakes)

Autumn colours and ferry, Highway 782, St. Laurent, SK (Darrell Noakes)

We have been experiencing an uncharacteristically warm autumn. Yesterday, for example, it was reported on the news that Saskatchewan broke 27 daytime high temperature records. I guess it’s only fair. We had such a long, cold winter, followed by a delayed, cool spring. So far this fall, we have yet to get an overnight frost. Winds have been light, too. As a result, leaves are turning brilliant shades of yellow and orange, clinging to their trees, except for occasionally drifting lazily to the ground.

You can’t let this kind of weather go to waste. On Sunday, we took a drive up to St. Louis, mainly to check on progress of the new bridge, but also to see how things were looking at Riverlot Orchards winery and their new bistro overlooking the river. We decided to tour up the river valley as much as possible, taking the bridge east of Rosthern, then cruising up Highway 782 past Batoche and St. Laurent. Even at a leisurely pace, it seemed that the winery materialized into view quickly. Continue reading

Summer nights at the beach

Burger Buoy, Manitou Beach, Victoria Day Weekend Saturday Night (Darrell Noakes)

Burger Buoy, Manitou Beach, Victoria Day Weekend Saturday Night (Darrell Noakes)

When I was growing up, we never had summer nights at the beach. There were plenty of beaches — Christina Lake, Champion Lakes, Kootenay Lake, Arrow Lakes, probably many I never heard of — that people went to. A lot of my friends’ families had cabins at “the beach”, and they went there regularly. We didn’t do that.

Instead, we went camping, often roughing it for weeks at a time, staying at old forestry camps up in the back country of the West Kootenay region, mainly up around Whatshan, Mosquito (aptly named!) and Caribou lakes. I really enjoyed those trips and still cherish the memories of them (even Mosquito Lake), but I never experienced the phenomenon known as “going to the cabin” or “going to the beach”. Continue reading