Three warm-up shelters, two resorts and one fun ride

Take a ride down Trail 773 in the 204 for 85 kilometres

by Kyle Born

Red Rock Shelter is one of three warm-up shelters along the Beauchemin Loop.
Red Rock Shelter is one of three warm-up shelters along the Beauchemin Loop. Photo courtesy Owen Jones

If you’re cruising through the 204 (Whiteshell area code), take a trip ’round the 773. Whiteshell, Manitoba, has an extensive array of paths to ride, including Trail 773 (known by the locals as the Beauchemin Loop).

Bruce Prozyk is the newly elected president of the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club. He and his wife have been sledding since the late ’80s. They’re based at Brereton Lake which is the central part of the Whiteshell. Prozyk is a big fan of the Whiteshell’s lengthy passages. “My favourite ride is the loop on Trail 773 from Brereton Lake back into the wilderness,” he said. “It goes back into Beauchman Lake, which is pretty much only accessible by sled or floatplane.” You’ll be arriving by sled, unless your ride gets airborne, then you might call it a floatplane. Here’s what’s in store for you on your journey through the Whiteshell’s Trail 773.

What’s there to see?

If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of wolves on the lake from time to time. Don’t pet them, or you may become their dinner. Speaking of food, you can cook some up at the Beauchemin Lake warm-up shelter, or you could hold off and keep going along 773 until you end up at the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club’s newest warm-up shelter at Swamp Lake. Keep yourself going by eating at the shelter, but if you didn’t bring snackies, eat at White Lake Resort when you connect back on Trail 66. Steph and David Giasson are the new owners of the resort and will set you up with food, fuel and drinks. Once you get back on track on Trail 66 you’ll get a great view of Jessica Lake. Across from Jessica Lake you’ll do some bush riding down to Red Rock Lake, which includes another warm-up shelter. From there it’s a leisurely ride to Brereton Lake Resort. This may be the coziest of the pit stops. “You can stop at the resort for fuel, food and beverages by the fireplace in the lounge,” said Prozyk. “Kim and Greg Ftoma are the owners. They’re great hosts.”

Highlights

The loop is approximately 85 kilometres; it takes you across numerous lakes, into some back country, and up and over the Canadian Shield. The Whiteshell Lake Resort describes the Canadian Shield as “an extensive area of Precambrian rock that forms the geological core of the North American continent. This Precambrian rock is over two billion years old, and became exposed due to glacial activity during the last ice age.”

The club has three warm-up shelters along the way and as well there are two resorts to get fuel if you need.

How to access it

When you enter Whiteshell Provincial Park from Highway 44, you turn north onto Highway 307. After about six kilometres there is a staging area. Trail 773 is located there.

The next staging area is about two kilometers farther down 307 just before the Brereton Lake Resort.

You can also access Trail 773 from another staging area about 10 kilometres past the Brereton Lake Resort on Highway 307 at Red Rock Lake.

Swamp Lake Shelter is the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club’s newest warm-up shelter.
Swamp Lake Shelter is the Whiteshell Snowmobile Club’s newest warm-up shelter. Photo courtesy Kris Mucher

The main event: Poker Derby

Date: March 2017; exact date TBA

Location: Beauchemin Loop (Trail 773)

The Poker Derby spans the Beauchemin Loop (Trail 773) described above. It’s $15 for members, $25 for non-members. The club provides a hot lunch along the way at one of the shelters. Last year the club sold 235 poker hands. Will they top that amount this year? Perhaps they will if you show up.

Click the link to see the Whiteshell trail map.

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