My best friend likes to wake me up by sitting on my face. I gasp, choking for air, and this reaction causes him to move over and stare at me intently. Where words are not possible, he uses his big brown eyes to beg and plead. Shame on me that I love him so much, I let him get away with it even though it's 6:00am and I am on vacation desperately wanting to sleep in long enough to just wake up when Price is Right is on. Sigh.
I always thought any slumber-related demise for me would be an accidental overdose of sleeping pills but this has made me realize it may end up a result of involuntary manslaughter on his part.
He cute though.
There are so many great areas to unwind in or around Winnipeg that I don't totally mind the early morning wake-up call by a 20lb pooch desperate to explore all the new sights and smells outside. It gives me some much needed exercise (as well as an excuse to later indulge in an afternoon nap).
My absolute favourite place near Winnipeg is La Barriere, a 323 acre park a very short distance from my mother's house. Its forest trails hug the snaking La Salle River and I've always marvelled at how tranquil it is. I don't think I've ever seen more than three other vehicles parked when I've visited, although the assumption of solitude may be misleading at times. I, uhm, do have a story about ... er, stumbling upon two individuals ... erm ...
It's also a great place for birdwatching.
Another great spot to reconvene with nature is Assiniboine Forest/Assiniboine Park, which at 700 acres makes up one of the largest urban forest areas in North America. This was the first place I took the dogs while visiting my hometown. We explored for hours. And after Reggie dived into the pond (nearly dragging me with him), I ended up cleaning my new car for hours. His personality is vastly different than Monty's. Where Monty is a happy-go-lucky lapdog constantly trailing my shadow, Reggie is the most stubborn, indifferent canine I've ever known.
I'm so proud. I've taught him well.
I'm very partial to the south-end of the city, as that is where I was raised. St. Norbert is a historic, bilingual neighbourhood that lands just on the periphery of the city proper. Within walking distance of my mother's home is Trappiste Monastery Provincial Park wherein lies the burned architectural ruins of Trappiste Monastery founded in 1892. I remember skipping school as a teen and spending the afternoons here with my friends, watching the clouds pass by and dreaming about what our future selves would become. As an adult, I now walk the dogs there to ponder that exact same thing.