Coal Lake Straight Through

Point Cooperation

A “straight-through” hike is one where you start at one end and finish at the other, as opposed to our usual “there-and-back” where you retrace your steps. A straight-through hike can feel mentally daunting. When you hike 5 km and turn around, the going-back seems faster, and you see nothing new, except for the different perspective. A straight-through hike, however, feels like two hikes in one day. You go 5 km, have lunch, and then go another 5 km. At every turn, you see something new.

On top of that, Middle Coal Lake, has a physically challenging—but fun—section between Point Cooperation to Kjorlein Corner. Good thing we had just had our lunch and were energized for it.

Nineteen people came out for this hike—the highest turnout this year. Either it was a particularly fine day, or so many of us love challenges.

And what a day for natural beauty. We saw pelicans, loons, a patch of shooting stars, the rare wild clematis, loads of bluebells.

The storm clouds rolled in, rain poured down for about 30 minutes, then it was back to sunny and clear blue skies. The old comment about Alberta was demonstrated again: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 30 minutes.”

Thanks to Anita for leading the hike and to Lee for coordinating the drivers. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Wanisan Lake Saturday Night

The sky was still hazy from the smoke of the forest fires that were raging in Northern Alberta. Nevertheless, fifteen people came out to enjoy our third annual Wanisan Lake Saturday Night.

End-of-day hikes are always special—you are bound to see something unusual. And there it was—as we walked up the path to the Wanisan Stopover, we saw large beetles everywhere scurrying for cover under the leaf litter. We even saw a robin’s egg shell.

After we dropped our lawn chairs and food at the stopover, we ventured out for our hike over the boardwalks and into the Blackfoot Recreation Area. Walking up and down hills for 5 km, we worked up quite an appetite by the time we got back to the Stopover.

We didn’t think that we would be able to have a campfire, but it turned out there was no ban here. Thanks to the Trail Maintenance work party who chopped the wood, and to Svetlana who carefully tended the fire, we were able to roast our dinners the old-fashioned way, and have roasted marshmallows for dessert.

Eventually the sky cleared.

 

Thanks to Lee for scouting and leading the hike. You can find more pictures on Flickr.

 

Saunders Lake Hike

The Saunders Lake trail is one of our traditional outings for bird watching. This year, 17 people came out on a warm sunny day to hike the south end.
It was noted that the eagles have returned again to nest across the lake. But hatchlings are not the only young ones. Here, the calves have gathered together and are watched over by a few cows.

Thanks to Stella for organizing this hike. You can see more photos on Flickr.