In a season of transition like October in Manitoba, you’ll see and smell fall as a distinct season. Whether it’s highbush cranberries, or nanny berries, or rose hips, the yellow and gold typical of the aspen parkland comes alive. Corporate retreats, small group hikes, and guided experiences in nature are ways that corporate teams, groups, leadership teams (youth and adult) can experience Riding Mountain National Park. An easy way to do this is to check out places to stay like The Lakehouse in downtown Wasagaming, the Elkhorn Resort & Solstice Spa in Onanole, or Honeycomb Bed & Breakfast in Onanole.

As a transition season, the sights and smells are different. But, for many organizations, boards, businesses and community groups, this transition season is an important one to reset budgets, to re-boot ideas for organizational change, or to celebrate a good year. For all these reasons, the Earth Rhythms team, based in Onanole, Manitoba (beside the national park) is a starting point to ask questions about how they might help you to customize your own retreat or business getaway.

Our certified guides and facilitators create imaginative and deep training. They are experienced in a number of outdoor skills and love taking visitors to new places in the park in all seasons. Next season is winter – when snowshoeing and snow tracking in day or night become a great new way to experience the outdoors together.

Perhaps some of these images will inspire you to think about bringing your group or team to the Riding Mountains.

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Travel writers to walk lightly in Riding Mountain

Dragonfly at sunset, Lake Audy, Riding Mountain National ParkWe are honoured to be able to offer the Wild Serenity (#RMwild) itinerary (Manitoba’s only itinerary for GoMedia) for a group of Canadian and international travel writers from September 14 – 18, 2011. With the assistance of Travel Manitoba, our provincial tourism agency, we are looking forward to introducing a number of pre-qualified writers – writers who have chosen to come here – to the Riding Mountains. This is about “experiential travel” (where travellers learn by doing), in the fall, in Manitoba, Canada.

What is GoMedia? GoMedia Canada Is a Canadian marketplace where  Canadian travel organizations get together to tell Canadian and international journalists about some of Canada’s best travel stories. And, just so you know, these stories are not always the ones that are in the news, or at the top of a mountain, or in a famous hotel.

So, what do we have planned? They will taste local foods (regional Riding Mountain cuisine), meet local folks who live here and are part of our local culture or arts scene, go for a walk in the woods, learn what “elk bugling” sounds like, provide opportunities for them to photograph the park and area. They will be off-the-beaten path on side roads, off-trail on animal trails, and perhaps doing some things that they have never done before.

We are pleased that many of our local partners will be providing them with unique experiences. The Elkhorn Resort and Solstice Spa is their base. Riding Mountain National Park is providing a number of unique experiences. Dauphin Tourism, Fort Dauphin and local partners will take us into the heart of local cultural traditions. Jeff Bettle at the Old Church Pottery & Gift in Minnedosa will introduce us to some of his unique pottery with a new experience called Fire & Earth. A signature fall meal will be provided by Siesta Cafe‘s Vaughn Barkman. Clear Lake Golf Course will take them on a behind-the-scenes insight what makes the golf course such a leader in green golf course management. Earth Rhythms will be the primary hosts here in Riding Mountain. We are a boutique tourism operator, creating customized itineraries for small groups year-round. We welcome these travel writers here!

Where The Fields End And The Forest Begins

The first thing I think about Riding Mountain is the ability to connect with nature, wildlife, and authentic Manitoba hospitality.  We were not disappointed.

We arrived after a long flight and coach ride through the wide open prairie spaces, and a climb over the mountain ridge to enter the forests of Riding Mountain National Park.  Greeted by friendly staff at the rustic Elkhorn Resort, we entered a great Canadian lodge nestled in the forests and  settled into our comfortable accommodations. We were wowed by a large fireplace. Our first night we enjoyed a relaxing dinner in front of a roaring fireplace of Manitoba Pickerel , a delicious white fish with a sinful mystery sauce.  The outdoor hot tub was the perfect ending for a long day …

Snowshoeing Riding Mountain National Park

We awoke to a beautiful warm sunny winter day with a hearty breakfast before leaving for our snow shoe adventure at Moon Lake.

  • Sheer beauty.
  • Tranquility.
  • Stimulated all senses.
  • The sounds of the wind blowing through the aspens.
  • The white of the snow. Untouched, except for animal tracks.

Usually snow is an annoyance, a make-work project.  Today, we embraced the snow and  connected to nature.  Following a stream naturally funneled us to our discovery of Dale, a Parks Canada employee, in a Quinzee hut while observing moose tracks and other wildlife.  We shared  a Manitoba  blend of tea.

We learned new technologies used by Parks Canada to capture wildlife activities as they occur in Riding Mountain including a motion-sensor camera. Parks Canada staff have a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm which they are happy to share.  Another “creature” discovered on our journey was Dean Gunnarson, World Famous Escape  Artist , now living in Riding Mountain.

A cross-country ski excursion allowed us to discover more of the Park for 15 minutes, before someone injured themselves. The Elkhorn hot tub and a Fort Garry Pale Ale was the perfect medicine to ease the pain of body and pride.

Riding Mountain is a place where we could reconnect with nature and replenish our soul. We left  of our fields of everyday life and monotony and embraced the rejuvenation of the forest.

Blog post by Calvin D’Entremont and Maegan Power-Noble,

Participants on the Nova Scotia Best Practices Mission to Manitoba, February 2010

Stories in the snow by Debbie McKeown (Travel writer)

As you may remember, Debbie McKeown (an adventure travel writer), at the invitation of Travel Manitoba, came to Riding Mountain National Park to experience snowshoeing in early February.  Staying at the Elkhorn Resort & Solstice Spa, Debbie took part in a number of unique experiences coordinated with Earth Rhythms and national park staff, dined at the Elkhorn Resort and Prairie Seasons Bakery & Café in Onanole, and soaked their snowshoe-strained muscles at the Solstice Spa.  Debbie was writing a feature article for a well-established online magazine called Snowshoe Magazine to feature the park, Earth Rhythms’ snowshoe packages, and snowshoeing as an adventure and learning experience in Manitoba.

Read her delightful article Stories In the Snow-Riding Mountain National Park and see some of her husband Jack’s photos of their time at Riding Mountain National Park.  While there are many who go south as Canadian snowbirds, it is positively delightful to see that Debbie and Jack have an audience at Snowshoe Magazine who are looking for the northern boreal experience.

Riding Mountain Infusions and hoarfrost

Jenn and her partner Joel were given a wonderful Christmas gift in December, 2008.  A getaway to the Elkhorn Resort for a weekend and experience an Earth Rhythms Riding Mountain Infusions winter escape.  This two night getaway package provides travelers with the opportunity to stay at the 4-star Elkhorn Resort, soaks in the mineral pools, and an outdoor snowshoe experience into Riding Mountain National Park with Earth Rhythms’ adventure guides.  

Riding Mountain Infusions winter couples getaway  - discovering ice & snow stories in the park

Riding Mountain Infusions couples getaway - ice & snow stories in the park

When we headed out this morning to go snowshoeing on our “Ice Escapades in the Weeping Forest”, the boreal forests were a-glitter with fresh morning hoarfrost, mammal tracks and the quiet and slightly muffled sounds of raven wings overhead.  What we discovered was the beautiful textures of fresh ice from a creek that was flowing into the lake.  

Riding Mountain National Park is an oasis of wildlife.  The stories etched in snow and ice offer intrigue and a world of discovery for anyone wanting to re-connect to each other and to nature.  And, winter is a perfect time to do that…when the people pressures are less, and you are more likely to discover wildlife moving around.

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone special?  Earth Rhythms provides customized gift certificates for personalized guided experiences for individuals and couples.  These include very unique opportunities to meet craftspeople, artists, musicians, guides, naturalists, and many others “behind the scenes” and do things with them that the ordinary traveler would not have access to.

Meet Leslie Reid at the Elkhorn Resort


Leslie Reid, Front Desk Manager, Elkhorn Resort and Solstice Spa. Manitoba. Canada

Leslie Reid, Front Desk Manager, Elkhorn Resort and Solstice Spa. Manitoba. Canada


One of our most important tourism business partners here at Riding Mountain National Park is the Elkhorn Resort.   In today’s competitive world of travel and tourism, we are finding that some of the most successful destination operators are the ones that have learned to follow the business maxim…”Do what you do best.  Partner to do the rest.”  The relationship that Earth Rhythms has had with Elkhorn Resort goes back 13 years to 1996.  We feel that it is quite a special relationship. 

Carefully and systematically, we have developed a unique collaboration that allows us to serve corporate clients, leisure travelers, conference groups, time share travelers, and specialty groups with customized experiences and adventures, as value-added components to the many other services that makes the Elkhorn Resort & Solstice Spa experience a stand-out resort offering in Manitoba today.  

What makes this special is that Earth Rhythms is able to work seamlessly back and forth with all members of the Elkhorn team (front desk, house-keeping and guest services, food and beverage, sales and marketing, and the GM).  One of these people is Leslie Reid, who has recently assumed responsibilities and leadership of the front-desk team at the Elkhorn.  Leslie is originally from Minnedosa, is very service-oriented, and has a great perspective on the importance of collaboration within a rural business context.

Earth Rhythms and Elkhorn Resort have developed an award-winning style in offering learning adventures, corporate retreats, conference programs, team-building initiatives, and customized itineraries for guests.  It is, in large part, due to the great team at the Elkhorn Resort.  Say hello to Leslie when you next check-in to the Elkhorn Resort.