FKT: Aaron Webb - Mantario Trail (MB, Canada) - 2023-05-16

Route variation
Standard Out-Back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
21h 28m 8s

An improvement in my time on the same route from a year previous.  The trail is in better shape this year since water levels are normal.  I had previously cleared the trail of small-medium deadfall on 2 separate days in April, but there are dozens of larger downed trees that need to be climbed over or under.

I had near perfect weather - overnight low was about 12 C and the high was 23 C with no precipitation.  The trail remains wet and marshy in the lower sections, and having wet feet for the entire length of the trail is usually a foregone conclusion.  I developed some sizeable blisters on my midsoles by the end of the day from wet feet and running on slanted granite for so many miles, but otherwise had no serious mishaps or injuries.  Biggest challenge was the army of ticks that are inevitably out in the spring.  I probably spent at least an hour throughout the day picking hundreds of them off of me before they attached securely.

Wildlife was exceptional on this trip.  I spooked a large porcupine on the trail, and it was gracious enough to get out of my way rather than defend itself.  Ran across a lynx bedded down just off of the trail in the middle of the night.  Saw a curious black bear just after dawn that scampered away after looking me over.  Lots of bald eagles scooping spawning fish out of the shallow streams feeding the lakes.

I came across a group of campers at Marion Lake on the return leg but otherwise had the whole trail to myself all day.  It's a beautiful and rugged trail through some pristine Canadian Shield.  Highly recommended after some mandatory research and significant preparation.  Remember, there are no access points between the north and south trailheads, which are 63 km apart.