It has been a few years since I cycled the Rossburn Subdivision Trail from Erickson to Neepawa. I was intending to cycle another part of the trail last summer, but other activities kept me busy. It was mid-October and our summer season at the cottage was ending. We had been busy preparing the cottage for the winter and the weather was getting colder and windy. I had been watching the weather forecasts and the coming Monday appeared to be a good day. It was now or not until next summer as we were returning to the city on Wednesday.
The day was sunny and warmer with what I thought was a light breeze. As even a light breeze from the northwest in fall can be cold, I decided to ride from Sandy Lake to Erickson with the breeze at my back.
This turned out to be a wise decision. My wife drove me to Sandy Lake and returned to the cottage. I was to phone her when I got near the end of the trail so she could come back from the cottage and pick me up.
I had taken my camera for pictures along the way starting at the east trail head out of Sandy Lake. About a half mile down the trail I remembered not taking a picture at the trail head and peddled back. The light breeze turned out to be a bitterly cold wind and hard to cycle against. Had my ride been from Erickson to Sandy Lake it would have ended very quickly.
Altogether it was a most interesting ride. There were still plenty of colourful fall leaves and the varying terrain and landscapes made it an enjoyable venture. The pace is much slower and you capture "a closeness to the land" something you donít get in a car, whether on a highway or a rural country road.
In one perspective some portions of the trail reminded me of my childhood days on the farm in the Interlake region. Many roads at that time were just a single set of wagon tracks down the centre of the road allowance. Originally these road allowances had been cleared through the bush but vegetation was growing back. That is how the trail looked in a number of places.
Along the way there were reminders of the railroad days and decaying snow fencing was being taken over and hidden by new bush growth. Also along the way was a sign indicating a grave site off to the side at the edge of a field.
The curves of the trail take it on a much longer route than I had envisioned. Having not done any cycling last summer I was clearly out of shape for this ride. When I reached the place of the land slippage of last spring, I knew the end (of the trail) was near, or so I wishfully thought.
A little further on I phoned my wife to arrange the pick-up time at the Abe Braun memorial site. However, I had really misjudged the remaining length of the trip. The end never seemed to come when I expected it too. Time after time it was, "it must be around the next curve". I kept looking at the time and tried pedaling faster, but the legs kept getting weaker. Finally I rounded the last curve and saw the designated pick-up point with my wife waiting.
I think if the trail had gone on another mile or so my wife would quite literally have had to "pick me up" and put me in the van. But I have no regrets, it was worth the trip.
This year I will get in shape first, do it in summer and allow myself more time, but maybe that will be the next year.