Echo Valley Provincial Park- Winter Edition

All winter I have been eyeing the weather, and availability for a yurt at Echo Valley.

It finally happened, one night available. *Sold*

One night was all that we wanted as this truly was an experiment. This was as “winter camping” as it gets for us. We honestly had no idea what to expect with regards to how warm or cold we would be. I had called the park inquiring about the heater situation and was informed that there were 2 radiant space heaters. We were still worried, worse case scenario we freeze – or pack up and go home.

Fun fact – our family of 5 only had 2 sleeping bags. Maybe we weren’t ready for this?

I swear I tried to be minimal (as the truck is packed full).

Here’s what we packed:

  • Sleds
  • Skates
  • Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows
  • Winter gear
  • Clothing
  • Food for supper night one
  • Food for breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Kettle for instant coffee
  • Dishes/ cutlery

After a big dump of snow Thursday, it was still snowing Friday – the perfect time for winter camping – a snow storm. Upon arrival the park was pretty quiet ( ie we were the only ones there).

We set up our beds in the yurt and Ty started the fire for our gourmet hotdog and brown beans supper.

The kids were being not their best selves. It was bad, and really dragging us down. We contemplated going home. Privileges were lost (marshmallows, movie before bed, tv for the week). My six year old told me he was never going to talk to me again, even when he is an adult.

It turns out everyone was HANGRY. I swear as soon as we ate a switch was flipped and we were back to having the best time ever. Hanger can truly gets the best of us.

After supper (it was a later supper). We decided to skate the park. Selfishly I really wanted to see it all lit up. Upon arrival (it was dark) , P was scared of wild animals, specifically – wolves.

We made it one lap, I didn’t even put on my skates (just so much effort). P was so scared, the kids started to get cold, was everyone crying? Maybe?

This is the point of our weekend where we realized we would have a flat tire in the morning. Thank goodness for tire sensors am I right? Not sure how, or when, but it was something we (Ty) would worry about in the morning. Spoiler alert – at some point we drove over a screw. Cool, cool.

As we listened to the sound of popcorn popping and fire crackling, you could hear the sweet sweet sounds of a toddler yelling “Mom!” “Dad” echoing through the trees. Nature, so zen.

We ended the night with a popcorn (and a popcorn meltdown). S wanted more popcorn and there was no popcorn and the ultimate solution as a 2 year old is to yell “popcorn” at the top of your lungs, so we obviously bribed her silence with chips. Also, now just realizing no one brushed their teeth.

I lied. We ended the night with a diaper blow out. Pooping in a diaper seemed better than a 2 year old and a pit toilet at 9 o’clock at night, the blow out was a bonus. The only reason we had extra pyjamas for her was to use as a fleece layer under winter gear.

Everyone had a sleeping bag and blanket, the children slept wonderfully. Sweet little S was the last one standing around 11pm. Bless her. Ty and I slept as comfortable as you could as millennials in a camping cot (our backs). We had moments where we felt cool in the night, but never uncomfortable.

Rise and shine! We woke up around 7am and had a gourmet breakfast of muffins, cantelope, and yogurt juice. Ty and I enjoyed some instant camping coffee mochas. Ty also enjoyed changing the flat tire.

The kids played on the snowbanks while I packed up. Why are sleeping bags so hard to put back in the bag? Why?!

To end our 24 hour adventure I really wanted to try something new, I then changed my mind, but Ty persisted. Snowshoeing. Rentals are available at the park office for $10 a day, $5 for children. We took advantage of the rentals for less than 1% of the day.

We tried to follow an existing trail to a look out, and carved a little bit of our own path as well. The kids really enjoyed getting to the look out. The kids did not enjoy having to snowshoe back. P cried hysterically the whole path back. I’d also like to make in known that we were snowshoeing for less than 30 minutes. M had a good attitude and let me know at the end that he was just thinking about what he would order for lunch.

Lunch – we planned our final meal to be from the Echo Ridge Golf Course stationed at the visitors centre. Ty and I both got the cue bowls (pulled beef or pork, mac and cheese, coleslaw). M went with mac n cheese, P went with nacho Doritos (the snowshoe was hard on him- anything goes). S was able to take anything from anyone. We tried eating outside, but it didn’t last long. We saw/ heard the signs and packed up to head home.

The kids slept soundly on the drive home, we played a new game that I had started on the way there. Anyone who falls asleep on the drive gets a prize. Everybody wins, it is my new favourite game.

Final thoughts – The snow fell magically all weekend, it was beautiful. We really enjoyed our one night in the woods. There was chaos followed by calm and despite our challenges (behaviour, hanger, meltdowns) we would do it again, and even for 2 nights (weather depending).

You don’t know if you don’t try – so we try.

Keep on sasking [in the snow] ❄️

2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Super excited to present my 2021 gift guide! This list is genuine; these are all items that we actually use (or gifting this year). I consulted some friends (thank you – you know who you are) and they gave me some really great ideas.

Drum roll pleeeeeease!

1. The Great Saskatchewan Bucket List – Robin and Arlene Karpan

Ok – I actually bought this book at Coles in 2010 – is Coles even still open? It honestly was kind of tucked away until covid when we really got into “adventuring”. Now I bring this baby on every trip. I look to see what is featured in the area, and mark the dates that we visit that bucket list place. It’s been fun. $25

2. Glow Sticks

Great stocking stuffer! I know glow sticks seem simple (cause they are). We love them for camping, and any sort of outdoor evening activity – especially in the fall/winter when it gets dark out real quick! @busytoddler also throws these in the bath! ~ $2

3. Yeti Tumbler

Who likes their coffee hot?! Ok actually I don’t, but it’s great for people who do! Yeti is magic and keeps hot beverages hot, and cold beverage cold. Available in a variety of sizes and colours. ~ $40

4. O2 Cool Mist’N’Sip

A friend had one of these this summer at the soccer field. It was so hot that day and a water bottle with a built in mister seemed genius. ~ $20

5. Catch’N’Fish

Got this at the dollarama! It’s a card game that practices addition and subtraction. You can also adapt to just practice numbers. We will keep ours in the camper for the summer. ~$3

6. East Coast Lifestyle Adjustable Dad Hat

Just launched – I love the look of these vintage washed hats. Available in 4 colours. Will likely buy myself one.

7. LED Toque

I first saw these last year from @bowsandbentos. I think they would be perfect for outdoor play in Sask winters. Also would have come in handy for fall camping… and spring camping?! The LED light is USB rechargeable and the toques come in a variety of colours! ~$20

8. Bush Pie Maker

Friend recommendation, turned into stocking stuffer. Give me one good reason why a delicious sandwich cooked over the campfire wouldn’t be magical. Pizza sandwiches, grilled cheese, fancy sammys. The bush pie maker has no limits – I just looked for recipes ideas on Pinterest. I repeat there are no limits. ~$20+

9. Kids Shakespeare Spincast Kit

We were gifted one of these a few birthdays ago, but really got our use out of it (and bought another one) this summer. It was great way for the boys to practice their casting and pretend to be fishing. Also a great distraction when we had lake-side camping sites. ~$20

10. Windriver Women’s HD1 Long Puffer Jacket

This jacket is available at Marks, and I have 2 of them from previous seasons. It’s so lightweight, but also so warm. Covers the bum, and has a 2 way zipper. There’s 4 colours to choose from and I want brown. I looked back and bought it on sale for $40. I HIGHLY recommend when on sale. ~ $120

11. Camping Journal For Kids

This was a gift (thank you friend!). 3-4 pages are dedicated to each trip with prompts, places to draw and add in any memories (tickets, photos, a leaf). We have the one pictured, but there are lots of options out there. ~ $12

* Included with this gift was a scavenger hunt game. There’s tons of games and books for outdoor scavenger hunts available.

12. Thermacell

I’ve contemplated a Thermacell for a few years now. As soon as @chasingkennedys recommended I ran to the store. We have the “Halo” and from my experience it works. This year Ty might be getting the portable repeller from Santa. I think this would be great for hikes, and well anywhere the mosquitos are – sports field, yard work, camping. etc. Also if you don’t know what a Thermacell is – it is a no spray, no scent, deet free mosquito repellent. ~$35+

13. Female Urination Device

@marinas_and_mountains made me do it. Once Lindsay recommended I was on board. Adds to cart > puts in stocking. I’ll keep you posted. ~$20

14. Waboba Bouncing Ball

When we were at Kenosee Lake my brother-in-law had one of these and it was perfect for the kids to play with in the lake. Once I found out he bought it at Allison’s (the store in the provincial park) I followed suit. ~$15

15. Woods LED Light

My dad has this light and we took it camping when we were in New Brunswick. We then purchased for our fall camping when our light sources were limited. Perfect lantern for night time cards, reading your camper manual when trying to figure out the furnace, or trips to the washroom. It is LED rechargeable and the brightness is adjustable. ~$40

16. Outdoor School – Hiking and Camping

Outdoor School has a few books that look great for outdoor adventuring. We have the one pictured on the guide and my oldest (6) just looks at all the pictures. A lot of great information in an easy to read format. ~ $20

17. Kids Ski Goggles

Santa got these for the boys last year, they have been awesome for snow days, outdoor play, and sliding. ~ $30+

18. Bumkins Snack Bags

We have been using these for a few years now. They are perfect for all the snacks – fruits and veggies, crackers, cereal. Easy to open, and easy to clean. They come in a snack size 2 pack, and a sandwich size. I found them in the baby section at Superstore. ~$12+

Ok! That’s all I got! If you have any questions please send a message

I hope you have found this helpful this holiday season.

Lastly – don’t underestimate the power of stickers, bubbles, and popcorn twists.

Bend in the River Berries

Just south of Moose Jaw you’ll find Bend in the River Berries. I recommend using the location coordinates on their website, we definitely went down a few of the wrong roads. Hot tip – if you go past 15 wing you have gone too far.

Ty gets credit for this adventure- I think I’m rubbing off on him!

Bend in the River offers all the berries listed below. We were there for the Saskatoons (that have another 7-10 days left of prime time).

  • Saskatoons
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Haskaps
  • Plums
  • Gooseberries
  • Rhubarb

When you arrive you receive a bucket and bag to wear for your picking. Picking the berries was very easy, since the berry bushes grow quite high the adults got the top of the bush and the kids picked the bottom.

M ate more than he picked I’m sure. S was grabbing anything she could. She didn’t realize you could eat the berries until supper that evening.

To fill our 5 lb bucket it took 30-40 minutes. They bag your berries before you leave and weigh what you picked (pay what you pick).

We seem to never deny ice cream, so we ordered some treats from the Urban Escape Café. They mostly feature sweet treats, and vanilla soft serve. The fresh berries used in our order were delicious. There were picnic tables outside for us to sit at (bonus – they had umbrellas for shade).

We checked out the chickens and roosters before again before we left. They also offer 2 seasonal cabins { Orchard View Bed and Breakfast }.

Check out their website and Facebook page for more info and up to date berry reports. This is definitely a Moose Jaw gem.

Adventure Local – 10 things to do in and around Lake Diefenbaker this summer!

<In no particular order>

The cool thing about Lake Diefenbaker is that it is so big (225 km!) and is an easy day trip for Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current and surrounding areas. The Lake Diefenbaker Instagram account is a fantastic resource for upcoming events, local businesses, and things to do!

1. Sask Landing Provincial Park – We had so much fun at this park this year. The rolling hills, and lake views are stunning. There’s lots of things to do – hike, beach, fish, golf, play. Read my post on our camping experience here.

2. Douglas Provincial Park – Another park we love! And newly paved roads in the campground (exciting!). Lovely beach, sand dunes, nature trails. Check our day trip to Douglas here, or camping at Douglas here.

3. Danielson Provincial Park – We haven’t been here yet, but there’s a beach! Check out Sask Aquatic Adventures, Gardiner Dam (and the interpretive centre), or the nature trails.

4. Camp Wolf Willow / Wolf Willow Winery – WINE. That’s all you need to know. Check out the restaurant /canteen. Camp Wolf Willow also offers campsites, the cutest A-Frames, luxury tents (and more). While you’re there check out the river access, and nature trails. No shortage of outdoor activities here.

5. Town of Outlook – Visit Outlook & District Regional Park (currently featuring a story book trail) , the community pool (that looks amazing), Outlook Heritage Museum, and walk the Trans Canada Trails.

6. Prairie Lake Regional Park

7. Palliser Regional Park

8. Town of Elbow – Go to The Peace Tower ( a sculpture by Joe Farfard), The Mistaseni Cairn, Lakeside Marina, The Elbow Museum, and trails . You’ll love what this cute little town has to offer.

9. Hike The Great Trail / Chief Whitecap Waterway – The Elbow Trail, Piping Plover Trail, as well as the trails that go through both Danielson and Douglas Provincial Park. The waterway is also a part of The Great Trail. You can paddle all the way from Saskatoon to Gardiner dam (with rest stops along the way).

10. Geocaching! I saw this on the Lake Diefenbaker Tourism website. Download the Geocaching app, and find the geocaches around the lake. This is a great activity to keep children engaged and interested in exploring!

Bonus *coming soonish* The Riverhurst Wetland Project – a 2 year project that started in the spring of 2021. A former wetland is being rejuvenated. There will be interactive signage, boardwalks, bridges, and viewing platforms. I’m excited to check it out once the project is completed.

Excited to see you Adventure Local in and around Lake Diefenbaker!

Adventure Local – 10 things to do [outside] in Saskatoon this summer!

<In no particular order>

  1. Wanuskewin Heritage Park – This National Historic Site park provides so much. There are indoor exhibits, walking trails, a very cool playground, bison herd, and more. Take the opportunity to explore and learn indigenous heritage, history, art when you visit .

“Our story began with a dream and desire to tell the story of the land and its first people and to share this collective narrative that is part of a larger national identity. “

Taken from

2. Restoring 71 – On private land just located just outside the city Restoring 71 is conserving and restoring 71 acres of former crop land, it includes 4 km of trail path. Check out their facebook page for booking information, and the most beautiful wildlife photography. Read about the entire project on this previous blog post.

3. Check out Saskatoon’s many outdoor pools and spray parks. The city offers a Summer Play Program (running later this summer), more information is linked with the spray park and pool locations below.

4.  Saskatoon Forestry Farm & Zoo – We love animals! Enjoy the one-way path around the zoo (as many times as you like!), have a break and play at the playground too!

5. Venture out to a new park or playground! For a complete list of parks in Saskatoon (and their amenities) click here.

6. The Meewasin Trail – Ok – SO many options here! I’ve listed some family favourites below. Did you know that Wanuskewin, Poplar Bluffs and River Landing are all a part of Meewasin? Check out the Meeswasin trail map to see ALL trails and locations.

  • Beaver Creek Conservation Area
  • Cranberry Flats
  • Meewasin map is linked here!

7. Vaughn Wyant Motor Speedway – Get out to the stock car races! We try to visit the speedway yearly, there’s a playground for kids, and all the snacks offered at the concessions! ( and racing! We love choosing our favourite cars each race and guessing who will win!)

9. Valley Road – The Saskatchewander recently highlighted Valley Road; some places to check out in the area are the Berry Barn, Crickle Creek, and Poplar Bluffs Conservation Area.

10. Visit the Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen Park, don’t forget to walk the Saskatoon Public Library’s StoryWalk, they are featuring 3 different stories this summer! The Nutrien Wonderhub is also just across the street (indoors).

As a bonus – Don’t forget to stop in at one (or more) of Saskatoon’s locally owned restaurants, food trucks, cafés, and breweries!