Wheels to ’43 – Backcountry Bicycle Adventure

There is nothing I love more than a mother who wants to make sure all of her family members are taken care of, during a summer vacation. Particularly, moms who also enjoy exposing her children to the wonders of nature through requesting and arranging for programs, customized specifically for their family.

Family bicycle adventure_Riding Mountain National Park

Today, I had the privilege of taking a family of five (mom and her husband and two kids, and mom’s sister) out on a very special trip that we (Earth Rhythms) have been guiding for over 15 years. Wheels to ’43 is a trip into the heart of the intriguing history of a Prisoner of War Camp (PoW) for German soldiers, that was located in the wilderness of Riding Mountain National Park from 1943 – 45.

This is a good summer physical activity – 11.2 km (7 miles) one way or 22.4 km return; it combines an all-day guided nature trip (identifying wildlife tracks; bird calls; animal scats), with a peek into a cultural and historical event that was very unique in Canada – German prisoner of war camp (PoW), and the opportunity for some unique photography. It helped that we were able to take advantage of the archaeological research that is ongoing in this location.  

We use a variety of interactive tools to help turn this backcountry adventure trip into a memorable experience: Reading stories from historical documents, newspapers, and personal anecdotes from previous prisoners; locating the different buildings that existed onsite from photographs and digital elevation maps; being detectives in “20 questions” to figure out some unique treasures; and walking around the site to discover various archaeological middens, and old wooden canoes carved by the prisoners.

Everyone returned home, feeling the spirit of elk, prisoners of war, and carrying new insights about this unique backcountry historical site. 22 km by bike on a day that was in excess of 27C, and a high Humidex was a great achievement for all who took part in this adventure trip.

Earth Rhythms provides fall backcountry bicycle adventures for families and small groups to photograph wildlife, experience the wilderness, and look for evidence of moose, elk, coyotes and other wild species. Call us at 1.888.301.0030 to book your small group guided day trip into Riding Mountain’s wilderness and experience a fall wildlife immersion!

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