Miquelon Lake Hike

Miquelon Lake Hikers on the path between tall grasses

It was everything you could want in a middle-of-the-summer hike–sun, refreshing breezes, a glistening lake, toads, butterflies, and a flurry of dragonflies that kept the mosquitoes in check.

 

Twenty-three people followed the path out of the park and onto the Waskahegan trail for a 10.5 km hike. We stretched out single file as we walked through the tall-grass meadows and the “islands” of forest that dotted the fields.

 

St. Francis Xavier High School monumentAt the highest point was the St. FX monument, put in by the St. Francis Xavier High School biology students who cleared the trail in 1970.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lunch, we decided to sit down in the grassy field where we could take advantage of the breeze.

Plants of note were the Indian Pipestem (Monotropa), distinctive for its lack of chorophyll, and a few Indian Paintbrush.

Monotropa
Monotropa
Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush
Painted Lady butterfly
Painted Lady butterfly

We want to give a big thank-you to Trail Maintenance, who made this trail extremely walkable. Also a big shout-out to Brad, who returned to the trail afterwards and cleared a huge spruce tree that had fallen on the path.

You can see more pictures on Flickr.
Miquelon Lake

Saunders “Saunter” left us speechless.

It was an extraordinary day…and we have pictures that say it all.

The hike was the north section of the trail along Saunders Lake. The cold and rain probably scared many people out of even thinking of coming out. But for the eight of us who braved the weather, it was worth every minute.

The abundance of saskatoons was incredible. And the flowers in bloom are just as varied as ever.

We saw warblers, a ruddy duck, an owl, pelicans…and the remains of a nest.

 

The highlight was watching a fawn on the path lope (saunter?) toward us. As quietly as we could, and making as little motion as possible, we snapped photos. Eventually, the fawn stopped coming further. It turned around and disappeared into the woods. We let it get far ahead before we resumed the hike.

 

 

 

 

 

And then on our return after lunch, a few of us stopped at a clearing to examine a plant. For some reason, we all looked up at the same time…and saw a porcupine asleep in a tree.

After those two encounters, there’s nothing left to say…except check out the photos on Flickr. There are 71 of them.

South Coal Lake Hike: Lush and long

Highbush cranberry blossomsSouth Coal Lake is especially lush at the moment. The foliage is fresh and green from the recent rains. The trees continue to bloom—now we have highbush cranberry in addition to saskatoons and chokecherries. And the bluebells (Mertensis), the wild strawberries, and white Canada violets are just getting started.

The air buzzes with columns of fish flies (Chironomids) while flocks of black-faced Franklin gulls circle above.

The Coal Lake area is also grand. The lake is wide and long, the banks are high, and the trees tower above the trail.

Talking about Gwynne Valley at Hughston Stopover

In this setting, 22 hikers set out on Sunday like a marching row of ants. We brushed through the narrow path over meadows, through woods, and up and down hills—some of which featured ropes and stairs. We watched pelicans on the water and a hawk overhead. And Helen shared the the story of the geological origins and features of the Gwynne valley.

At the end, we said a big thank-you to the trail maintenance crew who put in extra long hours on Saturday to make this Sunday hike perfect.

You can find more photos on Flickr.

South Coal Lake