We began our stay in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba by checking out our campsite and then visiting the hub of Wasagaming on the shores of Clear Lake. It was a picturesque little town, relatively empty because of the time of year. Less than 4 hours from Winnipeg, you could tell that it was normally busy in the height of summer. It was filled with everything you would need for camping or a small retreat: B&B’s, gift shops, general and candy stores, a gas station, and the park visitor centre. We wandered the beach before buying some wood and retreating to our site for a relaxing evening.
The next morning we were excited to begin a hike of one of the countless trails throughout the park. After some advice from a park worker, we chose the Bald Hill Trail. The northern escarpment was a longer and more monotonous hike we were told, but the payoff at the lookout (our final destination) was one of the biggest in the park. We were hooked.
We saw a coyote on our way to the trail, but it was too fast to snap a photo of.
The highway that runs through the park (Highway 10) is a very smooth and pretty drive. Once you turn off onto the side roads for the hiking trails and other lakes, it becomes gravel. While there were on occasion encounters with crazy transport drivers and park rangers doing clearly well above the limit (dust clouds billowing behind their cars) they were very fun drives and instilled a sense of ruggedness and adventure.
We also ran into some friendly park rangers performing maintenance on the trails at the beginning of our hike, more than happy to share a minute of conversation.
As you can see, the first few kilometres were marked by lakes, rivers, and an easy path.
The crazy thing was we were descending the entire hike! But we were finally treated to our first view and ate our lunch of wraps and greek salad.
After another 30 minutes we came to a crossroads of multiple trails. We assumed the unmarked one heading in the direction of the cliff face was our lookout. It was a long detour, but well worth it. After a climb up a massive hill of shale stone we made it. The view was probably one of the best we have seen so far, autumn colours making it all the more memorable.
I just had to include these amazing shots of the view from all angles. A panorama wasn’t good enough.
The next day we decided to see the Bison Reserve before heading heading out to Regina. We were extremely happy to see them right on the side of the road, totally ignoring us in this safari-like experience. To our amusement, one of them even started rolling!
After our visit we had an amazing drive north through the park to Dauphin. It had the rolling hills just as the north of Superior drive. When you head out of the park you go down this huge downhill on a very straight road. One last view and a lasting impression of what’s to come.
As we drove we stopped a few times for photos – the classic prairies starting to show through.
We ended up catching up to a train and passing it.
Stopping at the crossing of the Lake of the Prairies, the sun was starting to set and made for some very cool lighting.
Right after was the border crossing.
Another province down, and more to come later on. Adios!