Lush, green and extraordinary: the North Hastings Hike

Early in the morning, the rain was pounding hard on the roads. For about two seconds we wondered would anyone show up? Well of course they will! Rainy days can have the best hiking conditions: not too hot, always refreshing, and you never know what you’re going to see.Into the woods...

We started on the trail with eight hikers, and were soon joined by a ninth, and after lunch, a tenth. The trail was lush and green, and the path was easy to walk, having been cleared and mown just three days ago.

While we were still in the woods, our guest, Anita, was quick to spot a white tailed deer–just meters away from us, on the other side of the fence.Around the slough

We came out and rounded the slough. Suddenly a chorus of sharp yipping, bright and sassy, rose up in the near distance. Birds? “A coyote family,” said Anita. “Babies greeting their mother.”

A few minutes later, I was leading us through the mown path of reeds. Suddenly I jumped. “A snake!” cried Anita, who was immediately behind me. “You almost stepped on a snake.” Sure enough, a garter snake was lying in the middle of path, absolutely still. We all agreed it was the longest snake we had ever seen in the wild.

Common garter snake

I told Anita she gets the award for being the day’s best animal spotter.

Our hike continued through the Allen Nature Trail. We ate our lunch in the yard of St. Margaret’s church. As we nibbled on our sandwiches, we looked up and watched as majestic white pelicans flew overhead.

After lunch we walked down to North Hastings Lake to investigate. No pelicans here, just plenty of ducks and an unusual flock of waterfowl we couldn’t identify.

Not a long walk by Waskahegan standards (only 8 km), but a day full of surprises.North Hastings hikers

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Maintenance: Hastings Lake

Repairing trail markers on the Allen Nature Trail

This Wednesday June 22 we worked on a section of Hastings Lake A97 to A95 & Allen Nature Trail – A successful trip for the 8 of us done in less than 3 hours, partly because it is a shorter hike and there is some road.

We had the predator brush cutter out for the first time this season and it was marvelous even in the damp grass and brush (Geoff F. had replaced the battery).

We replaced a board and added some shingles to boardwalks, added support to a post of a stile as well as the regular trail clearing of mowing, chain sawing, clipping, signing and clearing debris.

It was great to be done earlier with such humidity and too many mosquitoes!

We ended with lunch at St. Margaret’s church.

Lunch on the lawn at St. Margaret's church

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Maintaining Battle River trail

Maintenance crew (1)

We were out with the new trailer for the first time on June 15th, finishing the work started June 8th on the Battle River section from A62 to A61. Most of the trail clearing was done June 8th except for some mowing as you can see in this picture. We built and fixed many boardwalks. More pictures on the Waskahegan Photo Gallery.

boardwalk stained A61 John on the mower

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