The summer is definitely over, overnight temperatures are almost always freezing. The sun is setting a lot sooner, rising later and I’m hearing rumors the snow is about to fly. As the summer camping season was coming to a close I learned about glamping. Glamping, or comfort camping, is viewed by some as more of a hotel stay than a camping experience. Some campers believe if your not sleeping on the ground and cooking over an open fire it’s not really camping. I disagree. As soon as I learned about these little safari like tents, I absolutely wanted us to sleep in one. Glamping is a different outdoor experience, you get to sleep in a queen size bed, with a heater and a fridge but your still sleeping out in nature! We Found it’s a great way for travelers to have a night camping, we don’t haul all of our outdoor gear as we travel and you don’t have to when glamping. All you need is provided right at your site.
We visited Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the middle of Southern Alberta’s vast Badlands. The park is enormous, almost 20000 acres, making it remote. Without a tent or a trailer it is a long way to find a place to stay for the night. Taking advantage of the comfort camping tents set up in the park is a great way to stay, camp and enjoy all the park has to offer.
We booked one night and one day comfort camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park. It was raining and cool when we arrived at the park but it made no difference to us. We were awestruck by our first look at the vast alien landscape. When we checked in we were told of extra blankets in our tent and staff seemed concerned we might be cold. We purchased some firewood and made our way to the site. The tents are made from a heavy canvas, spacious with all the comforts of home, there was no way we could be cold glamping. We ditched our stuff, flipped on our little heater and hit The Trail of the Fossil Hunters before the sun went down.
Walking to the trail we could see the sites are private but close enough to see your neighbors when sitting around the fire. There is a kids park and access to hiking trails really close by as well. When we checked in we were told about many tours you can book or self guided hikes to enjoy on your own. With the rain a lot of the guided tours were cancelled but self guided hikes were recommended by the park staff. We didn’t hesitate, the rain had just stopped so we set out on our first trail, anticipating seeing some dino bones! We were the only ones on the trail, it felt like visiting another planet. So peaceful, the air was filled with the smell of sage brush. The sun was setting so our hearing and sense of smell got sharper. Rob scoped out some great photo opportunities for the sunrise.
After our hike we headed back to the site to prepare dinner. With a gas barbecue, small fridge, cooking utensils and table ware we had all we needed to cook and enjoy a delicious meal. We threw some Alberta beef steaks and fresh potatoes on the barbecue and opened a nice bottle of wine. We devoured our dinner and talked about where would hike and the fossils we hoped to see the next day. After dinner, clean up was easy with a sink with hot water close by and the fridge to store the left overs.
We lit a fire and sat listening to an owl hoot near by. Other campers could be seen enjoying the evening outside, some stopping by to say hello. We finished our wine by the fire and watched the man in the moon peek out from behind the clouds. The day was cloudy but tomorrow promised to be clear and sunny so we turned in anticipating an awesome sunrise and great weather to hunt for dinosaur bones. The tent was nice and warm, no surprise to us. We fell asleep to the sound of crickets and slept so well. Rob and I were both up before sunrise, in fact Rob was already on a trail preparing for some perfect sunrise shots before I even opened my eyes!
We want to thank Alberta Parks for their amazing hospitality! The team at the park are all so friendly and knowledgeable. If you are interested in booking a night comfort camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park visit their website here www.AlbertaParks.ca