Gwynne Valley and Chickadee Trail Hike

It was a fine day for a walk in the country last Sunday for the fifteen of us who came out to hike. The views are among the finest on the Waskahegan Trail. From the high tableland on the Gwynne section of the trail you can look out on grain fields to the west and south, the Battle River valley to the east, the Gwynne valley—where the tiny community is nestled—to the north, and beyond that, the shimmering blue waters of Coal Lake in its own valley.

Descending from the tableland we landed in a small meadow where horses once roamed. As the guidebook says,

“In the valley, you may meet some horses. Be polite—it is their pasture. If they come up to you, they just want a stroke and a chat. They are Morgans and that is the way with that friendly breed.”

The horses are long gone, but the memory of them is immortalized in Stan Skirrow’s helpful description.


After lunch at the ski hill and our return in the warming weather, we jumped into our vehicles and headed to the Chickadee Trail. This trail, which is on private land, is visited frequently by people bringing birdseed for the resident chickadees. The birds are so tame and accustomed to handouts that they flew up us, looking for treats.

Next visit, we told them.

You can find more pictures on Flickr.

Pipestone to Bigstone Creek

Until just days before, we didn’t know what kind of hike we were going to have on Thanksgiving Sunday. The forecast was for snow. The slopes of the trail from Fort Ethier along Bigstone Creek, while picturesque, are best taken in dry weather. Besides, the Fort Ethier/Bigstone Creek hike had already been cancelled in mid-September, due to the infamous early dump of snow that made the slopes unusable for weeks.

So, for this hike, we changed the route to start at the easier slopes—along Pipestone Creek going west.

For the four people who came out, it was a beautiful autumn day.

There are more photos on Flickr.

Bigstone Creek

Ministik-Berg Triple B Ponds Autumn Colours

Twelve people came out for a fall hike in the Ministik Bird Sanctuary and the Berg-Triple B Ponds trail. You could tell it was early fall. A kaleidoscope of yellow and orange foliage clung to the bushes, while freshly-fallen aspen leaves carpeted the ground.

Days earlier, a trail maintenance crew had just spent the longest workday this year clearing the trail of deadfall like this.


On the road to the Triple B Ponds, we passed a pond with ducks, including buffleheads.

On the way back from lunch, the sun suddenly broke out, producing a brilliant reflection on one of Ministik’s larger beaver ponds. We stopped to watch as three industrious muskrats paddled silently in the water, creating smooth ripples that intersected like chemtrails in the sky.

The total hike was just under 10 km.

For more photos, see our Flickr page.

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