Elk Island Wood Bison Trail

At 16 km, the Wood Bison Trail is one of the longer hikes on our schedule—and there are no shortcuts. Thirteen people came out on this fine Sunday morning to take up the challenge and to observe the woodlands waking up for spring.

As we approached the lake, noisy Franklin’s Gulls circled over our heads. We knew the Wood Bison were with their new calves, so we expected them to stay out of sight. So, we were delighted when we spotted a group high up on the crest of a hill. They paused to stare at us while we stared back at them, and then they moved on.

We also encountered an aggressive grouse (apparently well-known to hikers) and saw what was probably a muskrat in the water.

Flowers in bloom include violets and wild strawberries.

Thanks go to the following people:

  • John from the Friends of Elk Island Society who joined us on the hike and talked about the Park’s activities and their methods of studying the ungulates and other wild creatures.
  • Terry for guidance on planning for the hike.
  • Lee Stickles for scouting the hike and his relative Lee Hecker for detailed information on the Wood Bison.

You can see more photos on Flickr.

Hastings East to Mottet Hill: Horses and Bluebirds

Thirteen people came out to hike the trails from A91 to Mottet Hill. The landowners themselves are responsible for several of the well-groomed paths, because this is where they ride their horses. And this really is horse country.

At one point, a flock of cranes flew overhead. And then while walking along the fence in a horse pastures, we were met with bluebirds. What a striking sight!

We had our lunch at the top of Mottet Hill, with a view of the wooded countryside. The day had started out with overcast skies, but by lunch, it was turning blue and filling with popcorn clouds. After lunch, we decided not to turn back, but to keep going ahead so that we could view Hastings Lake from Wye Road.

As we returned the trail head near the end of the hike, we were greeted by the friendliest and most curious horses.

Many thanks to everyone who came out and made the day so enjoyable. See all the photos on Flickr.

East Battle River to Rest and Be Thankful Hill

After the previous day’s blast of snow that hit half the province, people who live on the west side of Highway 2 were wondering if today’s trail was going to be covered in white. We had nothing to worry about—the snow barely made it to the area.

Fourteen people came out to enjoy the first hike of the summer season. The day started with clear sunny skies. We walked past patches of opuntia cactus and climbed up to the plateau where the prairie crocus was in bloom. At one point, a white-tailed deer was spotted on a bluff.

The footing was good all the way, as the land was quite dry.

Rest and Be Thankful Hill

We continued on to the top of Rest and Be Thankful Hill where we had our lunch. By the time we headed back down, the clouds were rolling in. When we reached the Battle River, we stopped to watch the tree swallows darting back and forth above the water.

We were almost at our cars when the tiny snow pellets hit. What a day of dramatic weather in a unique and dramatic landscape.

Thanks to Elizabeth for leading this hike. You can find more photos on Flickr.

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