Blue Jay and I spent the weekend together on a little holiday in Riding Mountain National Park. The park has gorgeous hiking and a charming little town. Our trip was a sweet way to wrap up the summer before heading into fall routines.
We arrived in Wasagaming on Friday in the late afternoon and went to Ominnik Marsh and the Wishing Well after an early dinner.
The Wishing Well
We spent the rest of the evening lazing around our campsite enjoying Chicago Mix popcorn and sipping hot tea while reading, talking, sketching, and writing. I brought stickers for my journal along with me and I sat in my comfy camping chair with a cozy blanket and decorated the pages of my journal with free-spirit quotes, polka dots, and star constellations.
Rain poured overnight and it continued into the early morning. I cozied up next to the cooler with a pot of coffee and my journal in the back of my SUV. I left the hatch open and watched the rain come down. The sound of the rain was very therapeutic. Blue Jay hung out in the back seat with a bowl of oatmeal, apple cinnamon tea, and her tablet with downloaded TV shows.
Later on in the morning, we drove to the east side of the park and hiked Bald Hill. The trail is rated as difficult and has amazing views. I can only imagine what the fall colours will look like in a few weeks.
I wrote in my journal while we had lunch on top of Bald Hill and Blue Jay read a book. We chatted a little bit but we primarily ate lunch in silence while doing our own thing and taking in the view.
We went into town for well-deserved ice cream after dinner.
A rainstorm, along with thunder and lightning graced us overnight. The air was cold and I woke many times throughout the night. Despite not sleeping well, I still felt rested and refreshed. It must have been all the fresh air!
The morning greeted us with sunshine and a blue sky, quite the difference from the day prior. It was still chilly so we warmed up with coffee and steamed milk with a shot of vanilla during our first hike of the day.
We hiked to Lake Kinosao via Kinosao Trail and returned via Brûlé Trail.
We heard a lot of yelling on the trail just as we returned to the trail head and were getting settled. Blue Jay was quite concerned and wanted us to help. I explained that people had likely seen a bear and that they were making noise so that the bear would go on their way. This of course made her even more concerned for their safety. I further explained black bear safety and assured her that the people are most likely fine. Black bears generally want nothing to do with people.
After hiking Lake Kinosao, we popped across the road to Arrowhead Trail.
On the final stretch back to the trail head, Blue Jay asked if she could try trail running. She has been running in races for a couple of years now and can run 5 km without stopping. Off she went with instructions to wait for me at the trail head sign. It would be nice to get her onto a trail where I can follow along on my bike. I would only slow her down and hinder her performance if I attempted to run with her. She would be poking me with a stick and wondering if she needed to send an SOS.
After our morning hikes, we returned to our campsite for a couple of hours before heading into town for shopping, dinner, and a game of mini golf.
Sunday night was chillier than the previous nights and the cool temperatures continued into Monday morning.
Burls and Bittersweet Trail
The final hike of our trip was on Burls and Bittersweet. It starts at the same trail head as Bald Hill and meanders alongside Dead Ox Creek.
Riding Mountain National Park, a three hour drive from Winnipeg feels like a home away from home for me. I feel comfort when I arrive at the gate. There is a peacefulness that envelops me. I have a special fondness in my heart and soul for the park and it means more to me than words can describe.
As always, when we go to Riding Mountain, we stop in Gladstone for a fun picture. Happy Rock has been around since I was a kid, and likely longer!