East Battle River Hike

A dozen hardy hikers drove through the fog to check out the new route on the section of the Waskahegan trail from the Battle River valley near Duhamel to the top of the valley at the famous Rest and Be Thankful hill. It took until noon for the fog to lift, the sun to come out and the hikers to shed a layer of clothing,

The hike crosses six river lots before climbing out of the hill. River lots are narrow, surveyed pieces of land stretching from the river and extending back from the river to give the farmers access to good land, wooded area and water. The area was settled in the late 1880s before Alberta was a province and the prairies were divided into its more common quarter sections.

In the last few years many of the river lots on the north side of the river have changed hands. Houses have built and fences have been erected. Luckily for us, the new land owners have happily let us continue hiking over their fields and pastures with a few minor changes. In September two stiles were built over the new fences and a new route was built to hike from the river valley to the top of the hill. This section of trail now has five stiles to climb over.

It was on this Rest and Be Thankful hill we ate our lunch in the sun and enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather. On our hike we saw plenty of geese flying overhead and saw evidence of a beaver, or beavers, building a resort along the river.

Thanks to Trail Maintenance for building the stiles and to the landowners for their continuing permission. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Battle River Gwynne Hike

Fifteen hikers got to see the prettiest part of the Waskahegan Trail, according to hike leader Oscar Zawalsky. Oscar has led Waskahegan Trail hikes for 50 years and on his final time as hike leader, Oscar chose what he believes is the prettiest hike on the trail system, from south of Gwynne to the Gwynne Ski Hill.

Oscar pointed out a million dollar view, a piece of land that was listed at $1 million with views of Coal Lake and the Battle River Valley. Hikers also walked along an area where the local landowner was a recycler and fence posts were held up with old grader blades and old power line insulator holders topped the fence.

We walked past an area of the original ski lift and continued on to the present ski hill where we had lunch.

On the way home we looked over what Oscar called a $100,000 view, a nice view, but not as dramatic as the million dollar view.

A herd of llamas raced across the field for a visit, but didn’t think much of us.

After the hike, some members drove to Chickadee Trail to walk part of that trail and feed the chickadees.

Thanks to Oscar for scouting and leading the hike and to Trail Maintenance for clearing the trail. You can find more photos on Flickr.