West Battle Hike to Schnee Hill via A58

Seven hikers enjoyed a hike that began on the heights overlooking the Gwynne Valley above Pipestone Creek, led down to the banks of the Battle River and then up again, to the heights overlooking the Battle River.

Battle River Valley

early blue violets
Early Blue Violets

We were accompanied by blue skies and a fairly constant wind that kept mosquitoes and other small flying creatures at bay. We passed spring flowers in bloom, including buffalo beans, crocus, and violets.

We were lucky to see an eagle circling overhead. One of the hikers recalled that eagles were spotted in the same area last year.

On the way back, the crashing of undergrowth alerted us to spot the back of a deer disappearing into the woods.

A thank you to the maintenance crew that prepared the trail last Wednesday and to the landowners who graciously allow us to walk on and share in the beauty of their land.

Photos by Irene Malcolm. You can view them all on Flickr.

Waskahegan Hikers

What to do about ticks

Now that we’ve learned that ticks are going to be a problem this year, what do we do now?

Carissa Wasyliw, a Natural Area Manager at Nature Conservancy of Canada (and Waskahegan director-at-large) gives us her recommendations about preventing ticks:

Rabbit with ticks

It is recommended that a person covers up when they are in areas such as long grass, bush, and other areas where ticks thrive. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep your skin protected from ticks. Throw on a hat (make sure to tuck your hair under it), and wear high boots-tucking your pants into your socks or boots may provide extra protection.

Use insect repellent on areas of your body and clothing that may come in contact with grass and brush. Deet products have proven to be highly effective in repelling ticks. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any natural repellents on the market, but I know they are being researched and developed. Finally, check your clothes and body for ticks after being outdoors. They like to be in warm and dark places, such as the waste-band of your pants, or in your hair, etc.

If you do find a tick, remove it!

Gently grasp the tick’s head and mouth parts with tweezers. Slowly pull the tick straight up off the skin – do not squeeze, jerk or twist it. Clean the bite area with soap and water or antiseptic. Save the tick in a clean, empty container. Add a small piece of tissue or cotton ball, lightly moistened with water, into the container. You can submit the tick in for testing to find out if it is a carrier of lyme disease.

Don’t apply matches, cigarettes or petroleum jelly to the tick, or squash it.

Caution: ticks

Waskahegan member Ron Robertson posted this warning on our Facebook Group:

***ATTENTION HIKERS AND DOG OWNERS***

I was out for a walk today along middle Coal Lake which is just east of Leduc. I saw a couple of young rabbits and was able to get some photo’s of the two of them. When I got home and looked at the photo’s the two rabbits are covered with Ticks!

If you’re a land owner or if you are in any public areas along the lake and are walking your dogs, check them over really well for ticks before you bring them into the house.

If you’re out for a walk or hike, check your clothing so that you don’t bring these nasty little bugs home with you!

Thanks, Ron for posting this warning.