Devon Trails Hike: And Suddenly It’s Winter

On today’s hike, nine of us descended on the bank of the North Saskatchewan river to take in the walk from the boat launch to the Lions Campground. It was a good test of our winter gear. Some of us determined that we will have to get mittens over gloves, better footwear, and thicker socks before the real winter comes.



Much of the trail was a wonderland. Snow piled on leaves that were still attached to the trees made for fun game I call “Let’s Make a Blizzard.”

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At the campground, the residents were preparing for a Thanksgiving event. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, they allowed us to come in and warm up around the magnificent fire.


The lively topic at lunch was Where is the best place to buy bread?

Here are some of our suggestions:
Bon Ton Bakery
B&A Bakery
Cobs Bread



We took a lot of pictures. You can find the rest of them here
2016-10-09 Hike: Devon Voyager Park to Lions Campground

Schnee Hill Hike: Golden Hues and Heady Scents

Yesterday we had serial downpours. Today’s hike was the complete opposite.

The thirteen of us were treated to a strong sun in a cloudless sky. It may have been only 10 degrees in Edmonton, but it felt like 20 degrees on the trail.
Battle River Valley

Now that at least half the leaves have fallen from the trees, we were able to take in more than usual of the Battle River valley vistas.



We know autumn for its colours, but what about its scent? For us it was the leaves and grasses that have matured and dried out. For instance, we walked through narrow meadows, sheltered behind the ridge. As the sun beat down, pockets of warm air raised to our faces the heady and pleasant aroma of sages.



New boardwalk

This year’s hike was the best in recent memory, in large part due to the extensive trail maintenance. Here we are on the newly-repaired and neatly-shingled boardwalk.






Be sure to check out more photos on Flickr.
2016-10-02:A60 to Schnee Hill



Trappers Lake to Oster Lake

For the first time, in all the years of our collective hiking, the ten of us on this day saw Trappers Lake as an actual “lake.” Yes, the trail guidebook clearly shows a big lake on the map, but all we ever saw was a field of grasses—up to now. We have had so much rain this year that the body of water has risen high enough to reveal its shining self.

The 11.5 km hike began with a walk through the lush pasture. A herd of cows in the distance ahead of us stopped their grazing and looked up. Suddenly they rushed toward us, bellowing. It was alarming, even nerve-wracking, but Anita assured us that they were just very friendly. We slipped through the large crowd of gorgeous red-brown beasts, thankful we were not causing them to stampede.

Friendly cows

Farther on, two woodpeckers swooped down and landed on some trees in front of us. One was a majestic Pileated Woodpecker, the other was a smaller version, possibly a Hairy Woodpecker. They bounced around the tree trunk, knock-knocking here and there, then took off as quickly as they came.

It was supposed to be our first cold day, just 10 degrees after a long warm summer. But the air was dry and still, and the walking kept us feeling warm even though the sky was mostly cloudy. The mosquitoes seem to be finished.

The Park put up a new high fence and built a new ladder for us. It’s even higher than the old ladder.

New ladder

The trail inside the park was rich with varieties of fungus. We took pictures of nearly every kind. The flowers at this moment in the season are mainly asters and goldenrod. The only sighting of a bison was by Michele, from the top of that high ladder.

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Lunch was on the vast lawn at Oster Lake. Our conversation was punctuated by the honking of the geese as they flew back and forth above us.

See the rest of our pictures on Flickr