Devon Hike: A Peaceful Escape

Nine people came out to hike the Devon trails.

The starting point was the North Saskatchewan River, which continues to rush like it’s spring. The river seems a long way from freezing up, even though it is now January. (Go North Saskatchewan River!)

Walking through the steep forested ravine is an experience that always makes us feel small—the side slopes and the trees are gigantic. The ravine also gives us a feeling of peacefulness and sanctuary—as if we have dipped into a crack in the earth to escape the noise and distraction of urban life and everyday concerns.


The town’s trail at the north end, above the golf course, is now a Trans Canada Trail. It’s well used and frequented by squirrels and birds. This squirrel, holding a hazelnut in its mouth, stayed put while we snapped picture after picture.

There are more photos on Flickr.

Nature Up Close: Shirley Jackson Photography collection

Shirley Jackson, a long time member, board member, hiker, and photographer, has just donated 151 photos of close-up nature photos for our archive. The Shirley Jackson Photography album is a unique collection of macro and zoomed-in photography, that includes over 100 photos of wildflowers and almost 50 photos of butterflies, other insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals.

Until recently, Shirley was a frequent participant on our hikes and she always took photos. Her contribution to the Waskahegan photography collection is immense and goes back to 2007, when we first started archiving our photos online. Her annual DVD compilations, “A Year in Hiking”, were also popular and are fun to watch at any time of year.

Since retiring from the working world, Shirley is spending more time on world travel. Nevertheless, she took time to curate a collection of her nature close-ups taken on the Waskahegan Trail, and to organize, research and label the photos. She has passed these photos on to us, and we put them on Flickr.

Thank you, Shirley, for your gift of the photo collection and for your donation of field guides for future hiking.

Snow Valley Hike

The weather was bleak and blizzardy, but our minds were made up. As we discovered at the coffee shop, the four of us had the same goal—to get out of the house and work off the Christmas eating and excesses.

For we were familiar with the rewards of hiking Edmonton’s Snow Valley trail: after you have passed through the parking lot, you are walking in the quiet shelter of Whitemud Ravine’s stately old spruce forest.

At the look-out point, we stopped and sprinkled bird seed on the railing. Sure enough, on the way back, we saw that a small crowd of chickadees had settled in for the treat.

Our lunch was at the Alfred Savage Centre. After that, we pressed on to John Janzen Nature Centre—adding 5 more kilometers to the day’s distance.

On our way back, the sun came out and warmed our faces. The other delight was running into David Mutch, who had planned to join us but got a late start. Better late than never. For the record, we’re giving David credit in our hike statistics.

Many thanks to John Scotvold for leading the hike. You can see all the photos on Flickr.