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Orginally, we were going to drive the full 10 hours to Grand Beach in one go. But, we left later than we planned and tired of driving sooner than we figured. So we stopped at St. Ambroise Provincial Park, on the south tip of Lake Manitoba and set up the tent in the dark - as is typical of most of our camping trips.
The beach is just behind the trees.
It was deserted. Probably because it wasn't that warm out. Or because it was a Tuesday morning.
The water was cold, but after trying to wade into the waves and getting my clothes wet, I went swimming anyways. It took days for my pants to dry.
Grand Beach (on Lake Winnipeg) did indeed have nice sand. It's separated into 2 halves by a channel. The west half is pretty developed, with little restaurants, changing rooms, bathrooms, etc. It was also more crowded. This was on the east half, which is not very developed and mostly deserted.
The channel between the beaches goes into a little pond-type lake where a lot of people go fishing. I went kayaking on it; there were a lot of birds and ducks, and surprisingly, turtles.
After the first 2 days of sun, it was cold and cloudy.
The sand was still nice.
The water was a little cold though.
It wasn't really ideal beach weather anymore, so we decided to go to Hecla Island on the opposite side of the lake. It was a bit of a drive as it was, but after looking at the map and finding all of these towns with "falls" in the name not far from the beach, we decided there must be waterfalls on the Winnipeg River and that they must be awesome.
The "falls" turned out to be just a series of dams.
Anyway, Hecla Island is a Provincial Park and not really an island.
There was a little town with a Marina.
It also had a lighthouse with a grueling, muddy, mosquito-ridden hike.
There was not much to see at the lighthouse, but there were these hairy looking rocks that reminded me of giant bacteria.
There were also sailboats.
I think it was the 2nd night there that it rained. We have a tarp set up so we could sit by the fire in relative dryness. Later, after discovering our tent doesn't hold out water anymore, we had to move it under that tarp. The campsite itself was plauged with racoons and squirrels that would attempt to steal whole loaves of bread.
The beaches there were mostly rocky. There was one sandy beach, but it had a lot of mosquitos.
In the end, we ended up sleep-deprived, sunburned, excessively mosquito bitten, cold and annoyed, and some of us realized that when you have to go to the bathroom 2-3 times/night, having to hike through the woods (especially in the rain) becomes a tired novelty pretty fast.
On the other hand, being at home now seems like a great post-honeymoon honeymoon.