SE Sask Winter Day Trip
After having a blast at the Candle Light Ski last weekend we wanted to plan a whole day adventure at Moose Mountain Provincial Park to take in a variety of activities in the daylight. Thankfully the sun came out after a few days of fog and the crazy windstorm and we had a brilliantly mild January day that resulted in 8 hours of fun.
Kenosee Lake is only 1.5 hours from where we reside in Estevan and is a great locale for anyone in South East Saskatchewan who is looking to get away for a day and get outdoors. The Kenosee Inn also rents rooms and cabins so we'd like to stay a weekend sometime this winter as well.
To start our day we headed to Fish Creek Campground for some Cross Country Skiing. We all have our own skis so we brought those but you're able to rent from the park as well. Mid week our entire province was hit with a massive windstorm (reaching 140 km/hour in places) and understandably there was a lot of clean up required. Due to this most of the back country trails at Moose Mountain were closed as they had to clean up downed trees and then groom but they were able to get the campground trails groomed quickly and ready for the weekend. They were glorious!
We don't have groomed trails in our city (hopefully soon) and so my kids have never been on groomed trails before. They haven't been super keen to ski at home but they LOVED skiing on the groomed trails. It's far easier to stay upright and you can look around and enjoy your scenery a lot more as you're not focussed on following the trail of the person in front of you or trying to look out for obstacles. If you have reluctant skiers I definitely recommend trying groomed trails.
After we worked up an appetite we built a fire in one of the campground fire pits and had a wiener roast for lunch. We were able to grab some logs but we also just foraged deadfall scattered about (which there was a lot of due to the recent storm).
We build a lot of fires in the winter whenever we head out so we always have the following in our truck:
- Fire starters (toilet paper rolls filled with dryer lint or pressed sawdust/wax)
- a lighter
- a hatchet
- a frisbee to fan the flame ( lol )
- (often but not always) a few pieces of dry wood and kindling to get started
Our friend Marianne has a cabin at Kenosee and was such a fabulous host. She knows all the best areas and scouted around to make sure we could all get to where we wanted to go and have parking etc. After lunch we headed to the cleared off ice for some skating.
The park keeps a nice ice surface on one of the bays with hay bales to sit on to get your skates on and off. The ice was smooth and we all enjoyed our skate. My kids especially enjoyed learning to spin and do quick transitions to backwards skating. Having good friends who are also retired teachers is a bonus for my kids and they're super lucky to have so many great people investing in them.
Between activities we grabbed snacks from the bin we kept in the truck and also swapped out any sweaty clothes. When we're active we work up a sweat and you can easily catch a chill if you stop for too long and are wet. We always bring along an extra set of clothes/socks for everyone, multiple outdoor layers and then more socks lol. We strip layers when we're really active like skiing and skating and add layers when we're slower like playing crokicurl or having lunch. Also... bring extra mitts. Kids will always end up with sopping wet mitts and having extras prolongs your adventure.
We weren't done having fun yet so we decided to check out the sledding hill "for just a few runs". It was too much fun for the kids to limit to just a few even though the trek up was LONG. Ha. If you haven't been there before (like us) the sledding hill is just past the Artist's Colony.
Near the parking lot for the sled hill they have a crokicurl ice surface made with a big drum fire pit beside it. Crokinole was a game we often played growing up at family gatherings and we have our own board as well so getting to play the hybrid of crokinole and curling was super fun. They have rules posted near the ice and the curling rocks were stored in a wood box. We enjoyed throwing rocks and warming up by the fire (the park also had logs stocked so you could keep the fire going).
Seeing as my kids are older we allowed them to keep sledding while we played and we could keep an eye on them through the trees where we were.
Washrooms: There were several outhouses (with automatic lights) open throughout the park for day visitors that had hand sanitizer on the outside. We also always bring a big jug of hot water, soap and a towel for washing hands. By the end of the day the hot water is cold but not frozen.
The days are still short so 6pm meant that our last ski was a moonlit one. We did want to get one more ski in for the day so we headed back to the campground and did a quick loop. There are street lights in the campground to provide light but some sections were definitely darker than others. The sky was clear and the stars were out in full force - so beautiful!
On the way home we grabbed all our sandwich making supplies from the cooler in the back and everyone constructed their own supper for the drive home. Rather than make sandwiches beforehand (its time consuming and they can get soggy after a full day) we just bring all the supplies and make them when we want to eat them. We do this when we hike in the mountains as well and it always works well for us.
Everyone was played out from our adventure and with full hearts we headed home. We're so thankful for this gem of a park tucked away in the SE corner and can't wait to head out again to ski some of the longer trails. It was also nice that they have more snow than us which made for a ton of fun. Let me know if you head out for a day trip and what your favourite activity was!
Also... this was what we fit into our 8 hour day but there's still more to experience at the park if you're equipped for it! We saw loads of people ice fishing in their shacks and the snowmobilers were out in full force as well. It was great to see people out and enjoying the gorgeous day and all the park amenities.