Saunders Lake Berry Hike

This hike was designed for the berry season, but it seemed fall in the middle, between saskatoons and chokecherries. Nevertheless, elderberries are in full swing and highbush cranberries are not far behind.

Five people came out to enjoy this trail that runs alongside the lake, alternating between meadow and woodlands. Below is the prize we’ve been waiting to see all summer—a spectacular giant puffball.

 

Thanks to Stella for leading this hike and to trail maintenance for clearing the trail. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Blackfoot Recreation Area: A98 to Meadow Shelter

Fifteen people came out to hike Blackfoot Lake in the middle of summer. The growth was more lush than we had seen in the past, because of all the rain we’ve been having this summer. The views, of course, were spectacular.

Below is a photo of Tapioca Slime Mold, Brefeldia maxima, a common mold that we are seeing a lot of this year. It’s not a fungus, but a single-celled creature with many nuclei. And it moves—although too slowly to notice it—as it searches for decaying matter to consume.

Many thanks to Irene and Scott for leading this hike. You can find more photos on Flickr.

North Coal Lake afternoon hike

North Coal Lake is one of our top places for late afternoon hiking. The trail runs through wide open country on one side and the forest edge on the other. The view of the lake is non-stop until it ends half-way, and then it’s lush pasture all the way up to our lunch point on the hill. As the heat of the day dissipates, the birds become more active and all of nature is glowing in the angled sunlight.

Twelve people came out to finish their weekend in fresh air and camaraderie on this 10 km hike.

Lots of new flowers were discovered, including huge patches of one of our favourite herbs—Wild Bergamot (Monarda, not to be confused with the ingredient in Earl Grey tea, which is a the tropical Citrus aurantium). They have been used as a potherb (like oregano) and to make delicious tea.
This picture was taken back at the boat launch. If you blow it up, you will see that the white floating thing is a pelican. We didn’t know that they would get so close to people!

Thanks to Johanna for leading this hike and to the trail maintenance crew for their work on the trail—especially on repairing the bridge.

You can find more photos on Flickr.

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