In the morning, we left the campsite and headed into Kenora. It’s a little off the highway but well worth the visit. The city has created a lovely park and walking paths along the lake–with its beautiful views of the water, islands, and forests. It is also one of our last chances to see the Canadian Shield country in all its glory since today’s travel will take us through one of the most impressive geological changes in the Canadian landscape.
As we headed west we watched the landscape transform as it became more deciduous-dominated. There were still outcroppings of the Shield rock reminding us where we were but the increased number of birch trees, gravel, small lakes, and even the cottages made it clear that things were changing in important ways.
It took only about an hour for the landscape to flatten out, the Shield rock to disappear, and the view to become grasslands, horizon and sky. It soon felt that the granite, bogs, spruce trees, and lakes of the last few days were just a mirage or fantasy–perhaps something we saw on a postcard. Although I have experienced it many times, this transition inevitably impresses and moves me–especially when I consider its origins: the juxtaposition of an ancient mountain range ground down by ice and water beside the bottom of an enormous lake that covered much of North America.
The attraction of the small towns along the way, the huge farms, the variety of crops, and the pockets of vegetation will now become one of the most interesting and exciting features of our travel west.
We continued our travel to the farmland north of Winnipeg where Fran’s cousin Susan was expecting us at her farm. By prairie standards, it is a small farm, but it is large enough to include a house, two barns, a small woodlot, and enough grassland for three horses.
As we approached the farm, Susan and her dog, Thea were already at the gate. It didn’t take the horses long to join us.
We spent a lovely afternoon catching up over lunch before Susan had to leave for a meeting and plans were made for a continuation of our conversation in the morning. Fran was even able to enjoy the relaxing warmth of Susan’s hot tub as the sun went down.