Ross Creek: obstacle hike

Even before we  got to the trail head, we were challenged. Hwy 16 had construction and after pulling off to make a pit stop at a gas station, we were blocked at every entry to the highway! Eventually we circled around following other lost souls and return to our route only to miss the turnoff!

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The forecast uncertain us eight hikers endured the rain and the winds! We thought we were prepared. The first surprise was a recently plowed field crossing where we trudged around and through huge muddy lumps to get to the second stile. At first the trail seemed not too bad just a bit overgrown as maintenance was done last month. Then we got to the open grassy sections where the path disappeared and the long wet grass pulled at our pant legs with every step. Finally deciding that we needed to make this an even shorter hike, we arrived at our recently built bridge only to find we had to swim 20 feet to get to it!

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Our return trip was a little easier on the trampled trail.

We frightened  two grouse and a duck, irritated a hawk protecting it’s nest and enjoyed a peak or two of the sun.

We lunched at the cars, then returned to Edmonton where we warmed ourselves with coffee and laughed about our hike.

Maintenance at Coal Lake: the building continues…

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Maintenance crews have been working A45 Kjorlein corner to the Water Plant the last two weeks. May 25 a crew of 11 were out; with muggy conditions after all the rain. We built a 2 section boardwalk at the Hughston stopover and did maintenance from the stopover south to the pump house.  We managed to haul the makings for a 4 section boardwalk in two trips over many hills and slanted footing with the lake begging for a plunge 1.5km to the site. At one point the tilt and weight of the cart on one wheel blew out the clip holding the wheel and they had to fix it with a nail!  We went for refreshments at the Red Barn in Millet.

IMG_4342June 1st, 9 workers split into 3 groups. At the stopover John, Gary & Brad took a cart loaded with tools south to build the 4 section boardwalk. Linda, David & Darlene went north of the stopover to work on new stairs and improved the existing ones. The others cleared trail: Oscar chain sawed, Terry mowed and I was clipping and signing from A45 to the stopover and back. Then we moved to the pump house road and Oscar chain sawed, Terry clipped and signed and I drove to the Water Plant where I got permission to use their road so I could pick them up. Hot cinnamon buns and coffee at Ivy’s in Millet finished off our day!

So this section of Coal Lake has had a major upgrade in the infrastructure along with the trail clearing. Thanks to all the volunteers!

Thanks also to landowners Jay and Laurie Cridland for giving us access to their road down to the stopover on both Wednesdays.