Today will be a 12.3 km day ending at the south trail head and burgers at Hawk Lake Junction. We cross 2 railway tracks (CNR and CP) today, and will actually veer into Ontario (the tario part of Mantario) today to get around Caribou Lake. Without that I guess this would just be the Manitoba trail.
The trail from Marion Lake heading south continues uphill pretty much all the way to the junction of the Marion Lake / Ann Lake portage trail. Shortly after that we come to the first train track
and a short way south we come to the survey marker buried into the rock
the trail continues through some nice pine woods (that apparently blew down the summer of 2010 and 2011)
the walking through the pine forest was a nice break – and we made good time
and then we came to Caribou Lake – the east campsite is quite nice although dirty and even though a bit early we stopped for lunch (soup today) which was quite good even though it is hot out. There really is no place to stop after this until the Whiteshell River. The worst thing about this campsite is that it is the closest to the south trail head and people have hauled stuff in and just left it – the bear box is even full. Not impressed.
so we worked our way around the lake after lunch
and then we came to the Ontario border – not much of a welcome – first we came to a creek with a swamp on the east side
and then the crossing
and then some interesting rock climbing
followed by some good walking through the pine forest again
which brings us to the junction of Mantario trail and the west Caribou Lake campsite trail
this junciton used to be an old tower (now only the footings exist) alongside the abandoned airstrip and beyond that there is nothing else around. A good place to sit at least. So we continue south on the last leg. The trail is quite windy in many places and in a few spots is hard to keep track of where it actually is.
and then a bit more rock
and then we come to the Whiteshell River
which is a good place for a view
and a view the other way
before we head out on the last short piece of trail. The next part of the trail is criss-crossed by other trails in the Hawk Lake area so paying attention is a good idea (couldn’t get lost anyway as you can hear the traffic now). We come out onto an old road
where we find the south trailhead sign
and then the parking lot where a small non-descript sign sits
and with that we take our end of hike photo – all accounted for, no missing parts, no missing gear and no injuries – still smiling – another good hike
and then we went and ate our hamburgers, fries and sodas/milkshakes. I would show you a picture except we either didn’t take a camera in with us, or we ate it so fast we didn’t have time to get a picture
BUT WAIT – we aren’t done yet – just fed. We still have to drive all the way back to the North trailhead to get the other vehicle – in fact we need to take 2 vehicles back as we met a couple by Caribou Lake who were trying to decide if they should keep going or go back – they dropped their car at the north trailhead, then came back to the south trailhead to start, and one of them locked the keys in the glovebox for safety, not thinking they needed them to get into the car at the other end. So we offered to take it up with us and leave it there with the keys in the gas tank cover so they could work their way home when they finished. That will be out good duty for the day.
And with that, our hike is finished, and we head back to Beausejour to sort the gear out before we all head home.
I would certainly hike this trail again, and maybe next time it won’t be +35 every day. Never drank so much water in my life, and we were still dehydrated when we finished.
This trail would certainly be a very different trail if it was raining out. The rocks are quite smooth and would be slippery to navigate at times.