I am kind of ashamed to admit that this right of passage is a new thing for me. Even though I have skated on out door rinks and on Lake of the Woods a couple times, I have never made the trip up to the Forks in Winnipeg. The Forks is a place where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet. Every year they make skating trails on the rivers and on the land. It all connects together. I had no idea how big the whole set up was, until the kids and I went there on Valentine's Day.
Erik, Ellie and I skated down this ice trail and then gingerly walked, in skates, down to the river. On the day we were there they had free hot chocolate, there were story tellers and musicians. They were giving away ice hearts that they would carve your name into and then decorate for you, they had coloured ice blocks out for kids to build with and for some reason they had suspended this huge orange ball from a bridge. The kids and I sat inside for a ride.
I was a proud, rugged feeling Canadian that day. Not only had I gotten to sling my skates over my shoulder as I walked to and from the park bench and skate way down the Red River and back, I also got to brave the cold, reminding myself that I have Viking blood in my veins. The funny thing was, knowing that I was going to be outside for most of the day I had dressed really warm. Wore my thickest socks. Which were so thick I couldn't fit my feet into my skates. I ended up skating barefoot that day - another first. The blisters were worth it though! (ha!)