Sometimes, all it takes is a weekend.
Two days, just two little days, to clear your head, relax, and get away from the routine. Clear the cobwebs, soothe the itch, hit reset, and every other cliché that describes the relief that comes from being in a new environment.
For us, that meant a winter weekend getaway to the Hecla Island Resort with two of our very good friends. And so it was that on an unseasonably warm Saturday morning, four twenty-somethings piled into a car and headed north.
First stop was Gimli, Manitoba for four absolutely essential stops. First, a walk on the pier. The harbour, full of boats in summer, was barren minus a few brave snowmobilers and ice fishers taking advantage of the last of the winter ice. As we headed townward, next was a visit to Tergesen’s, a charming old-fashioned general store where I was able to pick up some amazing Wild Prairie soaps. After an obligatory lunch of Kris’ Fish & Chips (with a sneaky beer, of course), and a quick stop at Flatland Coffee Roasters (reviewed here [link once live!]), we once again hit the road.
As we drove north, the landscape became snowier and more like the winter we had so recently shed in the city. That makes it sound like we were travelling into the wilderness; really, it was only a two-hour drive from the city, making the difference in scenery that much more impressive.
Hecla Island is on Lake Winnipeg and is part of the Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park. Now connected to the mainland by a short causeway, Hecla was once an isolated Icelandic fishing village, and many of the historic village buildings remain. The Hecla Lakeview Resort is a few kilometres north of the village, although there is also a campground nearby.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy in both winter and summer; I suppose the biggest draw is the golf course in the summer, if you’re into that sort of thing. Originally, the intention had been to go cross-country skiing, something I haven’t done in years and had really looked forward to. Alas, the conditions were too warm and the snow wasn’t great for skiing. We rebounded by hiking the trails instead, eventually making our way right out onto Lake Winnipeg.
Have you ever been out onto a frozen lake? If not, I highly recommend it. It’s eery, and still, and beautiful. You feel very small, surrounded by nothing but sky, with nowhere to hide. In retrospect, I wish I had gone back at night. After a quick drink at the hotel, we headed back outside for some tobogganing. While there were a few other adults hanging around the bottom of the hill, we were the only ones clambering up to get in on the fun.
Once our legs couldn’t handle any more trips up the hill, we headed into the hotel for the evening, enjoying the pool, good food, and the company of good friends. Not a shabby weekend, and I felt like I left all tension behind (that may have been mostly thanks to the mineral pool/steam room/hot tub combo).
Takeaway message: even a very temporary change of scenery can be enough to reset. Travel shouldn’t always be an attempt to leave reality behind, but the occasional escapist weekend can and should be done guilt-free. If you’re in the southern Manitoba area, Hecla may be just far enough to feel like you got away from it all.
How do you ‘hit reset’?