It’s that time of the year again that our kids always look forward to when weather gets warmer in Manitoba.
We had our first camping for this season on the second week of May. We saw a live bear on the mountaneous side of the road and made new friends.
For the previous years, we usually struggle accommodating in the car every single thing we needed to set up a tent. This time, we didn’t have to pack the big tent, inflatable beds and tenting pegs.
Harold and Rose introduced us to a whole new way of camping through oTENTik at the Riding Mountain National Park in Wasagaming (also known as Clear Lake).
Riding Mountain is the only designated federally owned / national park in Manitoba with over 400 km of trails with surfaces ranging from being grassy to gravelled.
oTENTik: A roof in the head and a floor beneath
The Dads in the group were relieved from the hustle and bustle of setting up and putting down tents as we stayed in oTENTik.
Parks Canada describes oTENTik as an A-frame cabin and a tent in one mounted on a raised wooden floor.
Permanent, comfortable and clean, they do not require any set-up at all.
We felt safer sleeping inside OTENTik as compared to being in a regular tent in case wild animals like a coyote or a bear attack. Haha!
There were sleeping mattresses which were big enough to accommodate six people.
Nestled in between trees and shrubs, it was great feeling to wake up to sounds of chirping birds.
Each rented spot has its own barbeque grill. And since we camped at the time when it was less busy, we were able to use the whole part of our camp site for our grilling, bonfire and as play area for kids. We were also able to use another wooden cabin for cooking and dinner for free.
It was mothers’ day weekend but no coincidence that the Dads did most of the cooking and the running around. Thank God for hands-on Dads (and for salad master).
During the two evenings, kids enjoyed hotdog and marshamallow roasting which are a must in any campings.
In the morning ,we had Zumba with Mommy Wena.
On our second day, we took along the kids for a hike down the trail to go around the town of Wasagaming. They were excited to spot some deers along the way.
The forested park and grasslands are perfect for nature lovers, hikers, kids ball game, running or a short walk. Being open all year round, the place is also popular for winter adventures like snow shoeing, skating and cross country skiing.
Park also boasts of trails perfect for cycling which the FWS boys enjoyed a lot (and one best reason why they chose this place to camp out).
Many people flock to Clear Lake during summer to fish, swim, canoe or kayak.
The sight and feel of the lake and the stroll along the board walk relaxed our tired mind away from the noise of regular city life.
Walking around Wasagaming town is also fun as we checked commercial places like clothing stores and restaurants.
After the hike, we treated the kids with freshly baked cinnamon buns in one of the popular go-to-places in the area for tourists- the White House Bakery. We had a try of gelato from Board Walk that kids just loved.
How to go to Riding Mountain
Riding Mountain National Park is three hours drive from Winnipeg and is accessible by car and bus from two towns— Dauphin lies 13 kilometres to the north and Brandon lies to the 95 kilometres south, connected by Higway 10 with Wasagaming.
During the summer season, the park is a very popular tourist destination has seen well over 300,000 visitors in a season in the past. Aside from a full service campground, it also has 525 private cabins and 254 private cottages.
There is always a different excitement putting up and sleeping on a tradional tent but this oTENTik experience is something we would like to do again. It blends the best of stress free camping while enjoying the beauty and feel of the wilderness.
The three-day stay was made extra fun with the warmth of the company we had. Thank you Gimo, Harold and Ronald and your wives for tagging us along. We had a lot of fun with your families. And thank you for spoiling us. Special thanks to Mommy Wena for the mouthwatering barbecues.
Until our next road trip!