Hiking Elk Island National Park’s Wood Bison Trail

On Sunday, August 20, sixteen WTA members were joined by eleven new hikers from our Hike the Waskahegan Trail Meetup group to hike the 16 km Wood Bison Trail in Elk Island National Park. This lovely trail is less visited than other Elk Island trails because it is a single long loop located by itself on the south side of the Yellowhead Highway.

This part of the park is where the Wood Bison are kept separate from the Plains Bison to avoid interbreeding. The wood bison, as their name suggests, preferred the more wooded norther parts of the province, while the smaller plains bison preferred the open grasslands.

A day with a high temperature of 20 degrees and no rain made for very pleasant hiking with few mosquitoes. We divided up this long hike with two refreshment breaks, one at 5 km and one at 11 km. By prearrangement, one of our 27 hikers turned back at the 5 km point and the rest of us carried on to the end of the 16 km loop. We finished the hike in four and one-half hours, including rest stops, averaging 4.2 km per hour while walking.

We saw some bison, flora and fauna and lots of natural beauty. All-in-all, it was another great day out with fine people, as you can see from the following pictures….

Happy hikers!

 

Bison in the distance.

 

Edible?

 

Still lots of wild flowers.

 

Getting a closer look.

 

Busy bee.

View more pictures on Flickr.

Hiking Gwynne and the Chickadee Trail

On May 13, Waskahegan veteran Oscar Z. led hikers along two of his favourite sections of the Trail. A steady drizzle did not deter 16 hikers, and they were rewarded when the drizzle stopped just as the hike began.

The Gwynne hike runs along the tableland for much of its length, offering fine views of Pipestone Creek below, the Battle River Valley to the east, and frequent glimpses of Coal Lake to the north.

John S., who helped maintain this trail just days before, enjoys the fruits of his labour.
Horses as curious as we were.
Who says central Alberta is flat?

Four of the hikers also chose to hike the Chickadee Trail. Down in the valley alongside a tributary of Pipestone Creek, it offers intimate views of the creek and the rail line on the shore opposite.

Gail G., hike leader Oscar Z., and Ben N. alongside a tributary of Pipestone Creek.

It was a great pleasure to have two new WTA members and six other guests join in on this wonderful day.

View our photos on Flickr