|East Blue Lake|
So as I said the monkey and I headed out to Child's Lake in the Duck Mountain Provincial Park - and let me say if you are in Canada (or anywhere else for that matter) and are looking for some paradise you must Duck Mountain Provincial Park it is truly magical!
The drive out to the lake was interesting to say the least. I have been dreading the drive and almost cancelled the trip because of the seemingly daunting task of driving out to the Park (it's about a 5 to 6 hour drive depending on the number of stops you make along the way and the route you take). Normally I would say it would have taken closer to 8 hours to drive there because we would normally stop at some of the abandoned houses and farms and take pictures but with the husband missing out on the trip and my anxiety I just wanted to get the trip over with.
Now - I should clarify that the thought of long drives normally wouldn't bother me - I have been going on road trips since I was a little kid; however, I am normally a passenger and I'm either able to listen to music, watch a movie or... let's be real sleep during the drive. On longer drives (12+ hours I have done the driving) and I have driven to Victoria, BC just myself and monkey at 18 months old but this was different and I couldn't explain why. The people I travel for work with even make fun of the fact that I will sleep on the road even though it is only a 2 hour highway drive....
Anyways - in preparation for the drive I spent nearly three hours just looking at google maps and investigating all of the different routes and options for getting to Child's Lake considering which was the best entrance to the park, how much gravel road I had to travel on etc. so when we started the drive I didn't have a set plan in mind and figured I would see how it went. I got to Neepawa which is about a 2 hour drive and I was a complete bundle of nerves. I finally had to stop at a gas station, get out and try to calm myself a little. Monkey obviously knew that something was up so I told her that I was having anxiety on the drive - I didn't really talk to her about why I was anxious but being the wonderful kid she was she asked what I needed and suggested we "watch" a movie - meaning we play a movie on my phone she could watch and I could listen to. I thought it was a great idea. We stopped into the Co-op grabbed a drink and some sunflower seeds (and when someone suggests you should get the extra bag because it's only $0.75 more for two bags you really should listen). We spent the rest of the drive listening to Harry Potter Movies and talking about our previous trips, different Harry Potter movies and eating sunflower seeds. It was exactly the distraction from the thoughts in my head that I needed.
A real turning point came when we got to Russell, Manitoba. I love this little town and we drove into it almost every day last year during our camping trip up to Assessippi. It was a calming type experience because I knew once we made it here we were almost up to Child's Lake and that I had come very close to ... not over coming my fear and anxiety but not letting it stop me in this instance. Monkey and I saw a sign at the gas station about Arthur, the local bull statue and the stuff version of him. We stopped in and got one because ... well we hate having our picture taken especially on a camping trip, especially where the plan likely does not involve washing our hair for a period of time - the perfect solution? Stuff animal stand ins! So Arthur joined the family and was included in some of our pictures. We got to the lake about an hour later and once we had unloaded and I took a minute to look at the view - I knew that all of the anxiety and freaking out in the weeks leading up to the trip and during the drive were worth it. Little did I know how transformative of a week the trip would be for me starting just the next day on the Copernicus Hill Hiking Trail and Look Out.
For now - here was the view from the deck, and the Hammock set up along the tree line: