9 Finger Ranch


I have to stay in Manitoba a little bit longer, the USA will have to wait. I had the motorbike serviced on Wednesday and I ordered a new back tyre which will be fitted on Monday. Also I decided to invest in a security chain, Canada seems to be largely crime free but I’m not so sure the same can be said for the States.

This means I have some time to fill and in my original plan there always was a visit to the Riding Mountain National Park. This plan had been in doubt for some time as I was unsure of the merits of riding 200 miles west and back for what was an unsure fun payback. I guess had Winnipeg been a much more happening place I would not have gone. In the end it turned out alright with a lot of relax and a couple of priceless experiences at the 9 Finger Ranch.

The first of which is a mini, really mini, just three miles or so walk in the wood that however brought me in contact not only with the signs of but with a live bear. I actually only saw it in the distance while I was riding the bike but it had the unmistakable swagger of a well fed individual. The sighting was on the road leading to the park courtesy of a careless person that had dropped some corn on the road. In the park I only saw the signs of bear, and other animals, presence, and for that I am quite grateful. The reason for the shortness of the hike is to be found in the medium inspiring terrain coupled with the over abundance of mosquitoes which, due to the lack of my trusty Bushman Cream, were truly unbearable.

Start of the hike
Doubts have been cast over these tracks. I’m no track expert but they could be a puppy bear, or they could be dog.
Scenery not so stunning, that said I am perhaps getting too used to high open spaces.
I am told these may be elk hoofs.
Meadows widening, and number of mosquitoes increasing.
There is no dispute over this on, medium size black bear.
After the walk a rest by the lake
With view of worsening weather.
This is how you have to dispose stuff in bear country
Fun with the water 1
Fun with the water 2
A glimmer of blue sky
Impossible to catch one flying, but when they stop 🙂

The hostel was very quiet, only guest in my cabin so great opportunity to relax and get some catching up with the blogging. They also organise horse riding so I jumped at the opportunity to try the western saddle on a full size horse. As you may remember, my first time on a horse was in Iceland with small horses and european saddle.

The ride was long but enjoyable, my horse was great, if a little too interested in eating grass. He broke into a gallop a few times and I thought it was fun, especially as I did not fall. We had a pic nick half way through and we ended up getting back at half seven with aching knees but having had a great deal of fun.

Getting ready for the ride
Final instructions
Wide open spaces
Who’s that shadow of a centaur.
Companions behind
Companions ahead
There are cowboys, and there are cowboys, and then there is meeeeeeee

So it was a good thing I went out west. On the down side the motorbike has been given me a few headaches but I suspect it’s nothing and to expect the whole trip without a hitch would be a little too much.

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