Winter is here again, and like last year, we will be giving you some ideas to get out there and embrace it. This past weekend, I went and stayed in Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park. All national parks are free entry for 2017, so I was glad to finally take advantage of that with weeks to spare.
Leading up to the weekend, I was next door at Island Lakes Dental rescheduling some appointments, and chatting with Diane at the front desk about where I was going for the weekend and where I would be staying (at The Lakehouse, which used to be McTavish’s). She told me that she’d stayed there in the summer and had a gift certificate for a free night’s stay, and the next day she gave it to me to use that weekend, as it expired on December 22nd. That act of generosity really got me into the Christmas spirit.
On Saturday, we went to the ‘Friends of Clear Lake’ and rented some fat bikes ($10 an hour, $25 for four hours, they also have snowshoes for rent for $5/day) and we biked across Clear Lake to Camp Wasaga; a family camp our family spent many summers at. Don’t worry, the ice was a foot and a half thick. It was my first time on a fat bike, and it was a really cool experience. Just don’t try turning or braking while you’re on sheer ice like I did, you’ll wipe out for sure.
After being outside for a few hours on the bikes, and walking around Wasaga, we took advantage of the massive outdoor hot tub. The next day, we decided to try skating on the lake even though there was a bit of snow on it. The patches of snow actually made it more fun; we’d have to skate around on the patches of clear ice and find paths through the snow.
After skating for an hour, we drove to Lake Audy to check out the Bison Enclosure. We were informed that we should go north on Highway 10 and then across to Lake Audy, but we had to go get gas in Onanole first, so we took the southern route. Luckily we did, because the northern entry point was closed.
After we spent some time checking out the bison, we left the range. As we were leaving, we had a great sighting of a coyote who chilled on the road for a few minutes looking at us.
I would definitely recommend checking out Clear Lake in the winter time. We had a great time, and the skiing trails weren’t even open yet. In the winter, the two places to stay are the Lakehouse and the Elkhorn; everything else is shut down for the season. Now that we have some fresh snow here in Winnipeg, hopefully Windsor Park Nordic Centre will be opening soon for the ski season. We will keep you posted if it does!
-Dr. Derek Page