Hike: A57 to Schnee Hill

Battle RiverSeventeen hikers came out on this beautiful sunny day for the hike along the west part of Battle River. The air was brisk when we started, but soon we were shedding layers as the weather warmed up.

Early in the hike, we stopped to view the remnants of Low’s Bridge, a Waskahegan landmark structure put up by volunteers with donated materials (power poles, rail ties, and steel cable). For the last few years, the bridge was too dangerous to use…it seemed ready to fall in. Last week, trail maintenance and the landowner worked together to take the bridge out.

We stopped at the remnants, which will be removed next week. Then we walked further down to the riverbank to the spot where the bridge had existed for over 30 years. It is a relief to have the bridge removed, but we will still miss it.

You can view the photo albums of our bridge building and bridge repair adventures from the early 80s to 1993.

After some challenging slopes, we arrived on the plateau of Schnee Hill. We dropped our packs and nestled in on the soft, clean grasses to rest and eat our lunch.

Among the early fall colours, we found high bush cranberries, chokecherries, and an elderberry. We also spotted white-tailed deer and on the way back, a bald eagle soared above our heads.

Total distance was 12.5 km.

View more pictures on Flickr

North Coal Lake Hike

North Coal Lake HikeSixteen people arrived at the boat launch to begin our trek on the particularly sunny morning. The stillness of the air made the lake look like glass. The rain from the previous day had filled the dips in the trail, but it barely slowed us down as we stepped around, aiming our boots for the lush grasses.

The saskatoons here are still ripening on some bushes. Clearly, it’s not too late to enjoy this year’s abundance.

As we approached the final section of our trail, we were more than a little apprehensive when we saw a (gorgeous) herd of brown and white cows blocking our stile. As we were plotting our strategy (stay together–look big), the cows reacted first and collected themselves away and towards the centre of the valley.

 

Cows

 

Prominent flowers included the richly purple smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) and the many-flowered aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides). We saw some pelicans and several instances of wolf spiders’ traps on the ground, as the heavy dew on their webs really made them stand out.

Oh!–and Vadim Bulitko managed to capture a porcupine.

Wolf Spider
Wolf Spider

Check out our photos on Flickr.

Miquelon Lake Hike

Miquelon Lake Hikers on the path between tall grasses

It was everything you could want in a middle-of-the-summer hike–sun, refreshing breezes, a glistening lake, toads, butterflies, and a flurry of dragonflies that kept the mosquitoes in check.

 

Twenty-three people followed the path out of the park and onto the Waskahegan trail for a 10.5 km hike. We stretched out single file as we walked through the tall-grass meadows and the “islands” of forest that dotted the fields.

 

St. Francis Xavier High School monumentAt the highest point was the St. FX monument, put in by the St. Francis Xavier High School biology students who cleared the trail in 1970.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For lunch, we decided to sit down in the grassy field where we could take advantage of the breeze.

Plants of note were the Indian Pipestem (Monotropa), distinctive for its lack of chorophyll, and a few Indian Paintbrush.

Monotropa
Monotropa
Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush
Painted Lady butterfly
Painted Lady butterfly

We want to give a big thank-you to Trail Maintenance, who made this trail extremely walkable. Also a big shout-out to Brad, who returned to the trail afterwards and cleared a huge spruce tree that had fallen on the path.

You can see more pictures on Flickr.
Miquelon Lake