For our second camping trip of the year we booked a campsite at Gull Harbour Campground in Hecla Provincial Park. The weather was not looking good for the weekend of June 7 but we were determined to not let the rain ruin our fun.
This was the first time we loaded the kayak up and drove a far distance with it on the roof of my vehicle. I was super nervous but really excited to take it out on Lake Winnipeg. It took a good hour to get it strapped down correctly and we made a few stops along the way to check that it was secure. All good!
We crossed the causeway onto Hecla Island and enjoyed the view of the lake and Grassy Narrows marsh. We rounded the bend in the road and I was scanning the ditches for wildlife I suddenly spotted an orange flash jumping in the bushes. I just knew it was a fox! There were no cars around so I immediately turned around and slowly drove back to the spot to see if we could catch another glimpse.
It was my lucky day! The fox came bounding down the ditch and towards the car. What?! It was a very curious fox because it didn’t disappear when it saw us coming. We had some dried apple chip snacks and I threw a few out the window. The fox came running up and ate them! He must have been really hungry. Darcy grabbed my camera and zoom lens from the back and kept Fionn from barking. I was just so stunned by how close the fox was and how he kept hanging around with us. There were lots of opportunities to take photos and I tried a few closeups with my zoom.
We could have stayed an hour if we wanted because the fox really wanted our food. We were already expected at the campsite so we had to get going. I waved goodbye to the fox and thanked him for this special moment. This weekend was already off to an awesome start!
On the way to the campground we saw a skunk and some deer grazing. It was almost 9pm and this was the perfect time to see wildlife. We got to our campsite and my parents were already there waiting. Dad bought some new lights to hang outside around the RV and mom was ready to make some dinner. In the distance a storm was rolling in. We enjoyed the sunset down the little bush path from our site. Bay 2 Site 22 is my favourite spot. You can see the lake through the trees and there are trails along the cliff. Just be really careful not to fall down a crevice. There are many deep ones and it’s best to keep to the paths. One of the crevices actually still had a block of ice at the bottom!
We enjoyed a nice relaxing evening in the RV except for Fionn. The thunder and lightning were pretty intense and he is not good with storms. It rained pretty much all night and into Saturday. Dad and I had a plan to wake up around 5am again and go looking for moose. We hopped in my car and drove out to the wildlife viewing blind on the West Quarry Trail. It was thundering overhead and quite thrilling as we hiked our way to the blind. Lots of birds but no moose.
We went further down the road to the wildlife viewing tower but found it in ruins. The stairs had been taken away and the structure was crumbling. It was pouring heavily now and Dad and I made a run for it down the trail back to the car. We had no luck finding any wildlife this morning. Maybe next time! Moose 0/2!
The rain continued and we relaxed in the RV but as soon as it began to clear we headed down to Sunset Beach. Dad brought a metal detector and we had fun searching for metal objects on the beach. He found a toy car and many nails. It was so quiet that we thought it was the perfect time to take the kayak out and practice a bit. We hauled it down to the beach and got our lift jackets on and Fionn got his on too!
Fionn jumped in and wasn’t quite sure at first but he figured out how to sit comfortably and started to enjoy the ride. He was so cute in his life jacket and was getting more confident walking in the water. He is not a fan of swimming so it was nice to see him get his feet wet. We learned how to reverse, stop and turn. It’s actually very easy to handle and we figured it out quickly. The hardest part is loading back onto the top of the roof. But that is starting to get easier now too. I was so happy to finally have that moment of taking my kayak out and sitting on the water.
The rain came back and we didn’t get to have a fire at all that weekend. Instead we enjoyed playing games inside and drinking coffee. The next morning we all slept in and the rain finally disappeared. It was a nice day to explore around Gull Harbour and walk along the water. We stopped at the marina and walked up to the top of the lighthouse lookout. We enjoyed watching the pelicans and the people fishing on the docks.
My parents had gone to the newly renovated restaurant there and couldn’t stop raving about their fish. My Mom loved the new renovations and the view they had of the lake. She wanted to eat there every day but due to the storms the power had gone out and they had to close for the day. Maybe next time!
We went to the very end of the parkway road and looked out across to the other islands in the distance. Mom got a couple wood ticks from sitting under some trees. No wood ticks for me! We ended off the day metal detecting on the beach. Dad and I found a silver ring and a toonie! We had a good haul there and headed back for lunch and to pack up. It was a nice carefree slow day on Hecla Island.
Driving down the parkway we had to stop at the famous view of the quarry rocks. We set up the camera and took a fun group photo to remember the weekend together. Mom and Dad waved by and drove off in the RV while Darcy, Fionn and I took our time exploring the rocks and enjoying the waves crashing against the shore. We wanted to do one hike before going home.
We drove past the spot I had my magical fox encounter but didn’t see the fox. It was too early in the day and I suspect he was sleeping. We stopped at Grassy Narrows Marsh Trails just a little further down the road. We did the Madtom and Chorus Frog short walks to the viewing points. Wouldn’t it be interesting to do the Black Wolf trail? 34.5km! Woh! We didn’t see any other wildlife except for birds and a friendly dog. It was time to say farewell to Hecla and head home.
Even though the weather wasn’t ideal we still managed to have a wonderful weekend outdoors. Fox encounters, searching for moose, kayaking and an incredible lightning storm made it very exciting.
What do you do if it rains when you’re camping? Do you embrace the rain? Do you play games and stay inside? Remember there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
Hope you’re summer is filling up with adventures!