Riding Mountain National Park is a place that feels like home away from home for me and I always feel wrapped in the warmth of Mother Nature’s arms. I seek good vibes and I do a lot of work to cultivate it around me. My self-care sometimes calls for a little soul-reviving action and that is why I solo hike. I went to Riding Mountain on the second weekend of March.
Solo hiking offers me the ultimate experience for freedom and independence. It’s just me, myself, and I with the natural world and it brings my heart and mind so much peace. The forest floor, whether gentle or rocky is a comforting feeling.
“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” – Lovelle Drachman
I started Bead Lake at a faster pace than I usually hike. I was excited to be on the trail and after driving three hours, I was in the mood to just cruise. The hard part was that I have been really inactive this winter and a mere 5 minutes into my hike, I had to stop. My feet felt like bricks, my breathing was heavy, and I could feel my anxiety starting to spiral because I was over exerting myself. I sipped some water, took off a layer, and moved at a slower pace, touching the trees and saying hello as I walked by. A slower hiking pace is more my style and I don’t know why I was in such a rush to begin with.
After finishing Bead Lakes, I drove about 20 minutes to Brûlé Trail. Kinosao Lake Trail is adjacent to Brûlé and both lead to Lake Kinosao. I usually hike on the Kinosao side but saw that it was groomed for cross-country skiing. Lake Kinosao was my end goal, regardless of which path I took. My husband proposed to me on the shores of Lake Kinosao so it is a must-hike every time I am in the park. He and I were chatting a few days before I left and I thanked him for encouraging me to go. He knows what it takes for me to feel alive and he is always by my side and supportive about it.
I felt so calm walking though the forest and I expressed gratitude for the gorgeous, clear sky and warm air. I also thanked myself for having made the time to take a solo weekend trip.
There is not much open in Wasagaming during the winter and I think even less is open right now due to Covid. I stayed at Arrowhead Resort and just down the road is Lakehouse. I picked up a latte and spent the rest of the day in my hotel room reading, journaling, and watching HGTV. I later saw pictures of the Aurora vibrantly dancing but I had fallen asleep early, with the TV still going, and missed them.
I have a friend that I met through the hiking community a couple of years ago and lives near Riding Mountain. I reached out to her to join me for a hike before I headed home. While we were chatting on Saturday night about our Sunday morning plans, I reminded her that it was day lights savings time. Well, guess who was late because her phone did not automatically switch over?! I have a Google Pixel phone and they were hit with a bug and didn’t update to reflect the changes where clocks are supposed to go forward by one hour.
Our plan was to hike Bald Hill but when we arrived to the trail head, the gates were locked. We saw footsteps beyond the gate so people had obviously hiked in from the highway. We were not interested in doing that and the other trail head parking spot to Bald Hill is primarily an uphill, get your heart pumping, sweat pouring kind of hike. We were not interested in that either. We just wanted a leisurely hike and an opportunity to catch up and chat.
We decided to check out Oak Ridge and Scott’s Creek since we were already on the east side of the park. As it turned out, the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing. The trail is wide enough that we were able to walk beside the tracks to not disturb them and there were a number of bare spots on Oak Ridge due to melting so cross-country ski season was slowly wrapping up.
I was quite excited to have the opportunity to hike to Scott’s Creek campsite. It’s been on my list of backpacking sites for a couple of years and I would like to go back in the summer for a quick overnight.
On my drive home, with the music blaring, and the sun coming in bright through the windshield, I felt fulfilled on so many levels. It truly was a beautiful, soul-reviving weekend and my mental health is still feeling strong a few weeks later. Note to self: keep solo hiking!