Miquelon Park to St. FX Lookout

Fifteen people came out to hike the Miquelon Lake area going northward. We started at the visitor centre parking lot and walked through the group sites until we reached the open trail in full view of the lake.

Earlier in the week, Trail Maintenance had cleared a wide path, which made it very easy to walk.

Sow thistle and Western dock (brown spikes in the background)

As we alternated between the meadows and the woods, we saw numerous mid-summer beauties: soapberries (Sheperdia), the ghostly white Indian-pipe (Monotropa), wild strawberries still in fruit, many-flowered asters and purple asters, fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia), vetches, fragrant white sweet-clover, Western dock, grass-of-parnassus (Parnassia), Canada thistle, gooseberries, goldenrod, and sow thistle.

We reached the top of the hill of St. FX Lookout with its famous engraved post. The post was installed in 1973 to commemorate Vi Sunohara’s Biology 30 class at St. Francis Xavier High School, who cleared the trail in this area that year.

St. FX Lookout marker

We continued on the path until we reached the next woods, where we had lunch in the cool shade. Total distance hiked was 9-3/4 km.

Thanks to John for scouting and leading the hike. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Chickakoo Lake Summer Hike

If you want to hike close to Edmonton on trails that aren’t wet, like they are in most places, Chickakoo Lake is the place to go. The recreation area is about 40 km west of Edmonton, where the country is starting to get hilly.

Nine hikers came out on a warm sunny Sunday to enjoy this popular park.

The wide trails took us through shaded woodlands and up and down slopes as we passed from lake to lake.

We noticed that the spring flowers are now turning into fruits.

This is an area that we usually visit only in winter, so it was nice surprise for most of us—especially the discovery of a large secluded lawn area, where we had our lunch.

Thanks to Johanna and Helen for scouting and to Johanna for leading the hike. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Miquelon Provincial Park: Home of Frogs

Our hike began with the amphibian walk led by Kayleen, the park interpreter.

At the start, Kayleen explained that because amphibians breathe through their skin, the health of their population is a good indicator of the health of the environment.

So, what would we find out about the health of this particular section of Beaver Hills Country?

To ensure our chances of seeing anything, Kayleen led the fourteen Waskehagen hikers and several families to the Holdsworth Trail. It’s a more secluded and lesser used trail compared to other trails in the park.

Among the many good reasons to hike with children, there’s this: they are great at catching frogs. Here are some of the special moments where we could not have done without them.

The results: We counted 206 wood frogs, 3 boreal chorus frogs, and a garter snake.

After lunch near the visitor’s centre, we set out on Miquelon’s other trails starting with the Chickadee Loop. We stopped looking for frogs, but we did see a large red-sided garter snake before it slithered into the bushes.

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