With the huge volume of rain we’ve had, we knew that it wouldn’t be possible to take our usual route from the south end of the trail up to the hoodoos where opuntia cactus bloom. Even in drier years, we’re usually picking our way around sloughs and bogs.
This year, 14 hikers started at the north end at the Stoney Creek Center, formerly the Camrose Ski Clubhouse. We passed the formal stands of blue-purple salvia and tall, showy lupines, and the landscaped backyards of elegant homes…and almost seamlessly we found ourselves on the gravel and dirt trail that took us through the broad Stoney Creek valley.
Left and right, we discovered one wildflower after another. Between Jerry and Elizabeth’s scouting a few days earlier, and the hike today, Jerry counted over 30 different species.
Highlights included two large patches of milkweed, the favourite food of the monarch butterfly. Also spotted were wild licorice, Richardson’s alumroot, gallardia (blanket flower), scarlet mallow, and majestic yellow evening-primrose.
Thanks to Jerry and Elizabeth for scouting the hike and to Elizabeth for leading. You can find more photos on Flickr.