Riding Mountain National Park

We had heard really good things about Riding Mountain NP in Manitoba (about 90 kms north of Brandon) so decided to pay a visit. As we approached, the weather forecast was mixed with several tornado warnings in the area. We drove into the town of Wasagaming, which is located right in the National Park on the banks of Clear Lake and basically serves as the service base for exploring the area.

We checked in and got a non-serviced campsite ($27.50), then walked into town so the Bear could have a swim. Weather was cooperating so far.

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There are paved bike paths all around the townsite and the park has numerous hiking trails including a 17 km route to Grey Owl’s cabin [In 1931, ‘Grey Owl’ aka Archibald Belaney, his wife Anahareo, and their two pet beavers, Rawhide and Jellyroll, lived at Beaver Lodge Lake where Grey Owl’s cabin is located. For more details, watch the movie…]. As you’d expect, there’s loads of wildlife in the park including moose, black bear, elk and about 40 bison – none of which we saw. Apparently, a bear was about 30 feet from our RV while we were down at the lake but we didn’t see it either.

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Wasagaming is essentially a quaint little resort town with lots of shopping and restaurants, similar to a (mini) Banff, without the mountains. There are also hundreds of cottage properties in and around the town, which is an interesting co-existence within the national park structure. It all seems to work.

One place that we were excited to visit was the Whitehouse Bakery, famous for their cinnamon buns. Papa Bear hiked over one morning to get some breakfast fare and had a hard time choosing… Our lesbian friends (see earlier post), who both bake and critique cinnamon buns, wouldn’t have been disappointed.

We spent two nights at Riding Mountain and met some terrific people while exploring the area (including Joel and Laura – thanks for all the great Winnipeg tips, except for recommending Busters BBQ in Ontario – we’ll talk about that one later…). Unfortunately, the storm finally arrived on our third day – sideways wind and rain – so we moved on without hiking into Grey Owl’s cabin. We checked out the wishing well and drove through Hwy 19 to the eastern gate (through more wild weather). There’s lots to do in Riding Mountain NP and we only scratched the surface. Oh well, we crossed some important things (cinnamon buns) off our list.

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