We woke up in Manitoba, to a weird situation: we had been informed the night before that our host couldn’t make us breakfast at our Bed and Breakfast because she had to look after her grand-kids due to an emergency. But she left us some farm eggs to microwave and she left us scones and muffins with homemade jams. The scones were fantastic as were the muffins, which sort of tasted like carrot cake. One of the jams was really excellent. We were not sure if she made them.
We had also been informed that the power would be cut off by Manitoba Hydro at 9. And so it was, as the power went off while Jenn was in the shower. Fortunately, the water wasn’t affected by the power.
Until it was. I guess when you live out in the country, you use an electronic pump or something as the water cut out on me mid shower. (I was showering with the bathroom door open in order to do so in this windowless bathroom.)
But despite the issues, the baked goods were so good, and the experience of the farm so unique for someone like me (born in Canada’s largest city) that we really didn’t care.
We then headed to our next destination, Riding Mountain National Park, much earlier than we had departed for Manitoba the day before.
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It took us maybe 30 minutes to get there. Riding Mountain is very much a typical National Park – it has a village much like a smaller version of the ones you find in the parks in the Rockies, like Jasper and Banff. The whole thing feels very much like the platonic ideal of a Canadian national park and we decided we wanted to come back before we really did anything,
First, we went to the Arrowhead Trail, a short loop that was extremely buggy.
We reapplied bug spray and went on a slightly longer hike to a remote lake, combining a couple different trails so we could be back in the village of Wasagaming for lunch. I wanted to do something more ambitious but, given that we had a lunch date, that it was hot and buggy, and that we were heading back to Saskatchewan later, these hikes were likely the right decision. I will go on some more ambitious hikes when I return.
Just an FYI: we got our National Parks pass in the mail during the winter, but entry to the park was free for everyone anyway and the ticket booth was basically closed. So even if you didn’t get the 150th birthday pass from the government, you should be fine to drive to a park and visit for the day without one.
We went back to Wasagaming and got lost looking for a cabin where we were to meet Jenn’s family friend. We got lost because the Cabin is located in the south part of the north section, instead of being located in the south section.
When we finally found the cabin we learned the interesting history of the area, which was a converted campground that, through institutional creep, eventually became essentially a freehold cabin area within the park. Some people have had cabins in this area for decades, and campsites for longer.
After a drink at the cabin, we headed to a bakery for cinnamon buns and then left the park (barely) to have wood oven pizza. (Yes, it’s that kind of place.)
After lunch, Jenn decided we should swim in the likely very cold lake. My age has turned me into a wuss and I wasn’t completely down for it. Fortunately, I agreed and we went to a secluded beach on Clear Lake called Deep Bay. There we went in the water and Jenn outlasted me by at least 5 minutes. It was freezing but not quite take-your-breath-away freezing. But it was the kind of cold that invigorates you and relaxes you at the same time. If you’ve never jumped in a freezing lake on a hot day, well, you should.
We took the long way out of the park so we could have a scenic drive and realized the scope of it (nearly 3,000 square km). Though it is not anywhere near one of the largest national parks, it is quite sizable. It also really reminds me of Ontario. I highly recommend going there if you ever find yourself in western Manitoba.
Once we got out of the park we headed west, eventually stopping in Roblin for ice cream. We would return. (Foreshadowing!)
When we got back to Yorkton, we ate at a sports bar so I could watch the first part of the basketball game. The remaining park of the basketball game gave us a good excuse to go back to the farm instead of the casino.