What to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon? Well that’s easy! How about a hike? Here’s a little blog about a lovely day trip I planned with Mr. Darcy back in June, 2019. Everything was just beginning to bloom and summer felt like it had finally arrived.
About 30 mins north from Birds Hill Park on Highway 59, you’ll find the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. I had seen many beautiful photos featuring the boardwalk and I did some research to find that the trail was an easy drive to visit. It is a 1.5km self-guiding trail on a 100m strip of Crown Land. It took us about 1 hour to complete but could take more or less depending how many stops you make to read the interpretive signage and look for orchids. The trail is home to 28 of Manitoba’s 37 native orchid species, eight species of carnivorous plants and 23 other rare plants. Keep your eyes out for lady slippers! They’re my favourite.
The Brokenhead Ojibway Nation have a history of approximately 300 years of using the wetlands and regard it as a place of cultural importance. They gather sacred and medicinal plants, like tea berries and cedar. The Ojibway teach us throughout the trail that everything is interconnected and has a purpose to fulfill. To maintain balance in the world, we must respect that purpose.
The most unique feature of the trail is that you walk along a boardwalk through the eastern white cedar swamp and out into the marshy fen. There’s a variety of delicate ecosystems and the boardwalk has helped protect the land from being trampled. There are so many orchids and rare plants that are grateful for the boardwalk too.
As we walked along we read the wonderful little interpretive signs attached to the edges of the boardwalk. I loved all of the little spots where you could sit and take in a lovely view and learn something new. The boardwalk also makes it accessible for wheelchairs and very manageable hike for all levels of physical ability.
I am very familiar with Manitoba Lady Slippers and am always on the lookout for those orchids. The most common are yellow and my favourite are the pink and white speckled coloured ones. They are just gorgeous. I was on the lookout for other orchids and tried to spot something new and different. A family was admiring these red orchids and once I learned what they looked like, they were everywhere. Very beautiful colour!
At the midway point of the trail, there is a circular space that has some benches to rest. I can imagine this would also be a great space for teachings and group activities. It’s surrounded by gorgeous cedar trees and offers some shade from the direct sunlight on the last portion of the trail. We sat and drank our water and watched the little squirrel run around observing us. I took photos and enjoyed the quiet spot for a little while.
As we started back down the trail we came across a couple taking photos very quietly. We politely walked around them and realized they were paying attention to a little rabbit sitting just off of the boardwalk with the sun shining down on him. I got in there too and snapped a few shots before returning back down the path.
A beautiful hike for everyone
I would recommend this trail for all levels and it was heart warming to see folks wheeling their elderly parents down the trail. Everyone can experience nature at the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. If you’re on your way to Grand Beach, this is an easy stop and definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera, a hat, sun glasses, bug spray and water.