Steep Rock: Hidden Gem of Manitoba
Steep Rock: Hidden Gem of Manitoba
It is a perfect place for getting lost in, a place explored from the neutral heart outward.
Steep Rock is a small community on the eastern shore of Lake Manitoba, about 2.5 – 3 hours drive from Winnipeg. Follow Highway 6 North and Turn left onto 239 Rd/MB-239 W (signs for Steep Rock). The cliffs of Steep Rock are made of limestone and over thousands of years wave action has molded them into sheer drops, caves and other unusual geological formations. This is one of the most photographed locations in Manitoba. Ref link.
We were looking for a long weekend getaway (as you know there are not much), so started googling if I can find anything interesting. Got a very mention of Steep Rock, but the line “most photographed locations in Manitoba” struck me right away and convinced Adi “my better half” to explore this place.
Steep Rock: The most photographed place in Manitoba.
But, after some more googling find out there is no hotel, restaurant and even a grocery store but only one shop that rents Kayaks & Canoes and have hot dogs & burgers. For more info on them check their Facebook page.
The only place to stay is Steep Rock Beach Campground (Facebook Page) or personal cottage which locals rent out. If you are not looking for camping you better look at Kijiji to find out cottages for rent as we find out one from there.
Day 1 (Friday):
Reached Steep Rock, Oh boy, it is so quiet and green serene. We rented a cottage from Shawn & Family (wonderful host), which made our stay more memorable. It was fully furnished 2 bedroom cabin and everything was included, we just have to bring food to cook. We reached there late afternoon, unpacked our stuff, had some coffee with Indian snacks and took a power nap, a much needed one. We wanted to let our friends & family know about safely arrival, but what a shock ‘Emergency calls only’ and Adi was the one who took a big hit : no Facebook check-in, no watsapp, no Instagram and blah blah).
Well, sun was going down so packed few energy bars, gatorade\water and it’s time to bike (my second love). No google maps (this time I was missing network 🙁 ), took direction for Beach from Shawn. It’s all gravel road, most of the vehicles you will find are ATV’s, so we have to be careful. The flying stones from trucks tires, dust cloud and single lane.
Couldn’t go very far, came back to rocky beach, a perfect time to get some sunset shots. Oh and it was Blue moon night, so everything was just beautiful. Came back to cabin feeling relaxed, no emails to check, not waiting for any calls, just us with our silence enjoying every second of calmness.
Day 2 (Saturday):
The song of birds chirping, gradually changing warmth color, chilly morning breeze and free firewood from Shawn, what else you need to wake up early :). Adi made coffee and we sat around the coziness of fire in a big (countryside big) lush green lawn discussing what to cook and do rest of the day. Honestly, we didn’t want to talk as it was so …….. don’t have a word for it yet.
Had our heavy breakfast, packed some supplies and tighten up our hiking shoes and reached at same spot where we saw yesterday’s sunset (in front of Kayak rental shop). On right side there are cabins with lake view or in other words lake in backyard literally. Left side is actual Steep Rock, the rocky limestone cliffs. We planned to rent the kayaks but it was so windy that lake has around 4 feet of waves. So big No No from Adi and as a husband have to agree. We started walking on the beach (no sand just rocks although size varies, the smaller near the water and increases as you go farther), very few people around. Some of them just sitting on rocks reading book (who doesn’t want to do that) and few doing fishing. We kept walking passing them all, and suddenly we are all alone. One side is angry Lake Manitoba, with powerful waves and other side is a jungle and we had to be careful while walking as some cracks are covered with grass and can’t be seen if in hurry.
So you get the point, authority is not responsible for any mishappening. But who cares right, just pretended like that sign was never there :). I climbed up one of the cliff that was separated from mainland, you should try it but at your own risk.
Went back to cabin as weather was getting cold and it rained too. We both were praying (don’t remember last time we prayed together for anything 🙂 ) that clouds should give a break and let us see the sunset again, well it worked and in our favour. The clouds were so dramatic with mix of orange color made a our trip worthwhile. Stayed late as I have to click long exposure shots (see the sunset, with silky smooth water and undefinable color of nature) at our favourite place (the last picture of the gallery).
Day 3 (Sunday):
Final day, wake up early and decided that we need to see sandy beach on east side of Steep Rock. We decided to hike, as there is only one main trail that goes till beach campground. Thank god we went by foot, the view we saw was just breathtaking, sorry no mountains or sea but a pond. Well I think it was not the scenery but the color that opened our eyes. The emerald colored water with big cliffs complemented with couple of kayaks in it. The water is so clear you can see limestone bedding underneath of it. We sat there on one of the peak, having the cucumber (it was hot and shiny) and saw few kids swimming towards the center of the pond to climb a cliff. That cliff is the center and should be more than 20 feet. They started jumping from top of the cliffs, it was so intimidating, I was ready to go but forgot i have to swim first to reach there and don’t have costume with. Plan cancelled and we just watched ‘Point break’ from a distance.
After some time started to complete our hike, the trails were not fully groomed and signs were hard to find, but it made more adventures for us. Oh that trail share some of the path with ATV route, so keep ears open to know when an ATV is coming and take safe side. We were getting tired as with clicking pictures and taking wrong path couple of times, it is a time for another break. There is small bridge, once you cross it, it goes directly to lake shore in middle of nowhere. Big beach full of small stones, the waves, the wind, that loneliness, it was addictive. Opened the jar of perfectly cut (I did it) watermelon and ate it like we were hungry for days. Finally we reached the sandy beach, lot of people there with RV’s and that smell of BBQ’s made us even more hungary. We didn’t expected that it will take this long to reach, so we started our return hike quickly and decided to come again on car to explore.
It was afternoon we came back, had our lunch and it’s time to leave and say goodbye to Shawn for awesome hospitality. After we left the cabin, went to beach campground, but didn’t find much compared to rocky beach or might be we were already sad that we are leaving.
Well that’s it, stopped final time near Kayak rental shop, gave a long look at the lake (imagine an emotional scene where hero has to say good bye), opened a melted ice-cream (sorry no alcohol), drank it and head back to home sweet home bringing memories that will stay in our heart till last beat.