LOCATION: Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba | Caddy Lake – South Cross Lake – North Cross Lake
My alarm was set to go off at 6:00am on the morning of Friday August 17, 2018 – but like an excited child on Christmas morning, I woke up an hour early thinking about the day I had ahead of me.
I’d been looking forward to this day for over a month. The day I would drive an hour and a half outside the city to meet up with one of my closest friends and spend the day kayaking – something I had wanted to do for years, but never had the opportunity until now.
The day was almost spoiled a couple days earlier though. I was supposed to call and reserve two kayaks for the day at Caddy Lake Resort – where we would begin our kayak adventure – but when I finally called they only had one kayak available. Not sure what to do, I vented about my situation to a client that morning and much to my delight she told me there just happened to be a kayak sitting in her backyard this very moment that I could borrow. So, I strapped it to the roof of my vehicle the next morning and set out to the lake.
Since this was the first time I had ever strapped something to the roof of my vehicle, I was slightly nervous for the drive. But everything went smoothly and the kayak stayed strapped securely to my roof and not through someone else’s windshield, so all was good.
After arriving at Caddy Lake Resort, we looked at a map of the route we were going to take – across Caddy Lake, through the first cave into South Cross Lake, across that lake to the second cave, through that into North Cross Lake and then back again. We asked the woman working how long this typically takes people and she said, “I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve heard anywhere from 6-8 hours for the roundtrip.”
This seemed reasonable, but in my head I thought to myself if the average was 6-8 hours, then surely we could finish in less time than the “average” person. Beth obviously agreed when she said to the woman, “Well that doesn’t make any sense, I’m sure we won’t be out there THAT long.”
Seven hours later we returned to our starting point of Caddy Lake Resort. Apparently the woman who works there knows a little bit better than two people who had never been there before.
The day could not have been any better. The weather was perfect sitting at around 30 degrees Celsius, a slight haze to cut out some of the heat and only a very slight breeze. There were points during the day when we would be sitting in the middle of South Cross Lake where there was absolutely no sound whatsoever. Nothing. The water was like glass, not even a ripple. It was almost unsettling how absolutely quiet it was. Truly breathtaking.
Almost 2 hours into our route, we decided we would stop at one of the lakeside campsites that seemed to be unoccupied to have refuel with the lunch we brought. Dragging our kayaks up onto the rocky shore we noticed a sign – “WARNING: Dangerous Wildlife Are In This Area”. Naturally, this seemed like a good place for lunch.
As I was “relieving myself” after 2 hours in a kayak, I heard Beth say she saw something in the bush. Thinking it was some kind of animal I quickly finished my business and went over to see what it was. Fortunately, no dangerous wildlife just a tent set up. So, we decided not infringe on someone else’s campsite and continued on our trek across the lake.
Just before the second cave – the halfway point in our adventure – we found an even nicer area to pull up and have our lunch, as well as some relaxation and swimming to cool off.
Once we had time to eat, swim and relax for a bit we launched our kayaks, took a quick trip through the second cave into North Cross Lake and came right back through to start our route back to Caddy Lake Resort.
The trip back seemed much easier than the first half and we were making good time, so we stopped a couple extra times on the way back to take in the breathtaking beauty of the area.
Even though 7 hours in a kayak may seem like a long day, it didn’t really feel like it. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect and the company was great. All in all a pretty amazing way to spend a summer day.