Our year of travel ended at the beginning of December with a trip to Prince Albert National Park (PANP), in Saskatchewan. We were lucky although there was an abundance of snow the weather co-operated and we were able to do more cross country skiing over the few days we were there than we had in the last several years. That’s probably why those 3-4 kms trails turned into 11 kms. We were tired at the end but so worth it. PANP has a number of excellent groomed trails, snowshoe trails and of course hiking trails.
Over the next four days we enjoyed skiing and photography along the lake shore lines as well as doing a lot of hiking on the many trails right from the back door of our camper. Evenings we spent around the campfire but the days were short and getting cold so we ended up reading and getting some early nights. As early risers we were able to enjoy the sunrises over the frozen lake out our camper window with a coffee in hand. We camped at Paignton Beach, one of the several areas they allow tent camping in the winter. As our home was on the back of our truck we were allowed to camp there as well. We only take up the space of a regular truck in the parking lot and leave no footprint. If you have a large unit that will not fit into a regular parking spot I would check first as I do not think they would give you a camp permit. A camper van would probably work but nothing larger, check with the office first. The one thing I like about national parks is they have rules and actually enforce them, making it fair for all.
I personally have been camping in the PANP since 1998, yes I am that old. The one thing I appreciate is the way the park has been managed. Other than a few upgradesd roads, boat launches and park facilities much of the wilderness area has remained unchanged. Sure the town site and campgrounds have changed. I’m not sure for the better but changed any , it’s called progress for those who require comfort and all the amenities of home. I appreciate the enforcement of rules that have kept the wilderness areas pristine and not destroyed as we humans have a habit of doing. Our grandchildren can enjoy the wilderness if we can get them off the phone and take the time to look around. We have to teach our children to appreciate nature and its’ fragile nature when we change it. Nature can teach us a lot about life and our place in it if we take time to observe. Nature does well without human meddling and changes, let’s preserve that for future generations.
Our biggest problem with winter camping, only because we want more comfort at our ages and the fact that we spent a fortune on a four-season camper, is power. Solar is pretty much useless in winter due to the sun curve is low on the horizon and very few hours in the day. We have two 6V batteries for 200 amp hours but in -20 that is only really 100 amp hours. That 100 amp is actually only 50 usable amps on lead-acid batteries. Our fridge is propane so the only power use is LED lights and our furnace fan. This trip I made some mistakes trying to conserve power and not have to run the generator. I used a Buddy style propane heater and filled the camper with moisture we had never seen before. OK so I scrapped that and went back to our furnace which is the best heat source as it heats our tanks below the floor and keeps the floor warm as well. This drains the batteries over several days. We were shutting the furnace off when we were out for most of the day and cranking it up in the evening to save power. This saved power but increased moisture in the camper as well with the heating and cooling of the air. We have two Dry Z pellet de-humidifiers which we like but they were not enough. We ended up finding areas away from all others to run the generator and charge our batteries during the day. If someone has made the effort to set up a tent or get away from the city in winter, the last thing I am going to do is ruin their peace and quiet to run my generator. I would go home before doing that. I appreciate the quiet in nature and winter is especially quiet so I would never ruin others experience to enjoy that. I also had made some reflective bubble insulation to fit over the windows, we also scrapped that idea on our main window as we wanted the view and the ones we covered appeared to have even more moisture.
We are new to cold weather camping -20 Celsius and lower so have made a few mistakes but thanks to some forums and experience we are learning fast as winter is too long to stay home. I will do a separate article on lessons learned and how we have outfitted our Northern Lite truck camper and some moisture areas to look for.
Until then enjoy the images I would like to share of the beauty of winter in PANP in the article and gallery. I am enjoying sharing my images and our experiences with you, take them with a grain of salt as I do have definite opinions that I have to own. If you like please subscribe to be emailed our updates and if you have questions or comments please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org We would be honoured if you share our site with a friend who may be interested.
I am attempting to share thoughts and images on simple living, cabin life and RV travel every week and depending on internet every second week. Next article our camper and winterized camping lessons.
Gerry & Charlotte and see you “down the road”.