Remembering Stan Skirrow

On Saturday, December 8, our beloved Stan Skirrow passed away.

Stan was more than a longstanding member…he devoted his passion and energy into making the Waskahegan Trail and its organization what it is today.

We have long wondered how to properly honour Stan and let the world know of his accomplishments. In 2017 we nominated him for a prestigious volunteer award given by the Province (even though we knew he wouldn’t attend the awards dinner in Banff—a mandatory condition of the award). This is what we told the award committee.

For the presentation portion of the AGM that year, we invited other longstanding members to talk about their volunteer experiences with the Association. Stan was in the hospital, but members who had visited him that day brought comments on his behalf.

One way we will remember Stan is with The Waskahegan Trail Guidebook. All the trail descriptions (over 45 trail sections) is Stan’s original writing, except where we’ve had to update the directions and contact information. Open the book to any trail description and he’ll tell you the story in his warm, entertaining style.

And then there is Stan’s Bench (above), situated on a ridge overlooking the Mud Lake area valley towards Coal Lake. It is said that it was his favourite view. We surprised him with it in 2006. Plans are in the works to have a special celebration there in the spring.

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Many former and current Waskahegan members will be at Stan’s Memorial Service at 1 p.m. this Sunday, at Foster McGarvey (10011 – 114 Street) in Edmonton.

Many thanks to Karen Bell for providing the photos.

Winter arrives at Blackfoot Lake

At 8 a.m., we were wondering who would show up for the hike. The snow had been coming down for hours, and it would continue doing so for the rest of the day. It was just the sort of weather that can make you think I’m staying in today.

But ten people did come out to hike at the Blackfoot Lake end of Blackfoot Recreation Area.

It was fine weather for a winter walk in the woods—not too cold, only a few inches of snow, and the continuous falling of snowflakes that a creates beauty and silence that you get to enjoy only a few times a year.

Highlights of the hike include seeing this coyote on the lake, and then later, listening to a chorus of coyotes yipping and howling not too far away.

Thanks to Anita for leading the hike. You can see more pictures on Flickr.


Chickakoo Lake Area Hike

Forty-five kilometers west of Edmonton is the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area, one of the more scenic woodlands for day hiking in the region.

Thirteen hikers came out on the sunny Sunday and walked from hilltop to hilltop, passing by and overlooking the frozen lakes.

Over the week, the warmer temperatures and the foot traffic had turned the snow-covered paths to ice, especially on the south-facing slopes. Those of us who had grips for their boots, or used poles, were glad they had thought to bring them. Stella, however, found the easiest way to descend one of the steeper hills—by sliding down on her down-filled jacket.

We had our lunch under the gazebo, and finished the day with a short hike around Dog Leg pond.

Thanks to Johanna for scouting and leading this hike. You can view more pictures on Flickr.

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