Wanisan Lake Loop Hike

A group of 8 and a group of 7 came out to hike starting at the trail head of the Wanisan Lake trail section. We took the detour leg, a lovely segment that’s not walked very often, and entered the Blackfoot Recreation Area at the Detour and Wanisan trail junction.

Stopping alongside a lake, we watched birds dive-bombing the water. They were as graceful and swift as swallows, only much larger. From these magnified images, we believe they are breeding black terns, for their bodies and bills were all black and their wings long and grey. But if you know your birds, perhaps you can confirm in the comments.

Leaving Meadow Shelter we headed south to exit the park, joining the Waskahegan Trail again on the section that we usually hike. As we came out of the woods, we were rewarded by a large landscape of beaver ponds that stretch out in both directions.

We turned right and headed down to the boardwalks that run behind the beaver dams, which put us at eye level with the beaver pond’s waterline.

While marvelling at the beavers’ feats of engineering, we scrambled to get the best photos of water callas that are just coming into bloom.

Then it was into the forest again with a quick stop at the Wanisan Stopover.

And that was our loop.

Flora seen today include bluebells (Mertensis), Water Calla, False Solomon Seal, and fruit plants in bloom–strawberry, bunchberry, chokecherry, highbush cranberry, and gooseberry.

Thanks to Trail Maintenance for the work on this trail last Wednesday and to Lee for scouting and leading the hike. You can find more photos on Flicker.

Devon’s river trails hike

Fifteen people came out to hike the Devon Trails. It will be January before the North Saskatchewan River freezes over, so at this time of year you can still enjoy the contrast of the “ice flowers” floating in the frigid blue water.

The Voyageur Park area has a section of trail that is part of the Trans Canada Trail System. From the moment you leave the boat launch area, the paths are wide and easy along the river’s edge.

Here’s a sight that stopped us in our tracks.

It could be mistaken for an art installation, but it’s actually an effort to stop erosion. These tree segments (possibly willows?) have been planted into the ground, directly in front a culvert outlet. Eventually these sticks will take root and grow into bushes.

Then the trail turns toward the slope, where we encountered the “Stairs of Fire”. We all took the challenge, and quickly discovered our personal fitness levels.

From there, it was up and down the wooded trails.

As we got closer to the golf course, we found ourselves on trails set with cross-country ski tracks, and we had to walk carefully to not mess them up.

At Lions Campground, everything had been “put away” for winter, such as these meticulously-stacked benches. The pavilion shelter, however, was left open and we took advantage of that for our lunch.

Then it was back up to the top of the hill and we returned via a leisurely walk along the woods’ edge.

Thanks to Lee for scouting this hike and to the town and people of Devon for the well-maintained trails. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Goldbar and Tiger Goldstick Park Hike

It was one of our finer days of mid-autumn. Thirteen people came out to hike the trails at the Goldbar and Tiger Goldstick Parks on the east side of Edmonton.

We did the cross country ski loop in the morning and then did a loop over to Rundle Park, then west along Ada Blvd and then back on the 50 Street Bridge to Gold Bar Park.

Under a deep blue October sky, the sun lit up a landscape of golden grasses, leaf-covered paths, unshaded woods, and rust-coloured footbridges.

Here’s a spot to sit and browse a book from a little lending library.

Thanks to everyone who came out and to Michele for the photos. You can see all the photos on our Flickr album.