Whitemud Ravine – Snow Valley Hike

Edmonton’s winter had only recently arrived when twelve hearty souls ventured into the Edmonton River Valley to hike Snow Valley to John Janzen Nature Centre.

Winter has arrived in Whitemud Ravine

To our delight, we ran into Edmonton nature photographer, Wayne Oakes. Wayne was our guest at the 2022 Annual General Meeting, where he gave a fascinating slide show presentation on the remarkable animals and plants in the Whitemud Ravine. So far he has logged over 10,000 hours there. That’s 10,000 hours of opportunities to shoot amazing photos in just one area.

Wayne advised us to be on the lookout for “snow snakes”, which sounds rather alarming. However, we learned they are not literally snakes—just a snow phenomenon, so we proceeded with calm.

Wayne Oakes, Whitemud Ravine

We also saw a variety birds, including a large pilated woodpecker.

The wind prevented us from taking many photos. Fortunately, we were able to have our lunch indoors at the Nature Center and to use the space to warm up. On the return, there was less wind, and so the walking was less difficult.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the hike, and to the City of Edmonton for maintaining these trails and the Nature Centre. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Snow Valley Hikers

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Middle Battle River Hike

For the nine of us who hiked the Middle Battle River section west from Hwy 21, it was a fun day.

Those who drove from Edmonton saw tundra swans and snow geese—as well as ducks and Canada geese. Those from Camrose saw tundra swans driving back.

Participants arrived early, so we got off to a prompt start. The weather was cold to start with, but by afternoon it turned  beautiful and sunshiny.

Along the trail, we saw an abandoned campsite, a cabin complete with biffy, and a nice pond formed by a gravel pit.

Middle Battle River pond at the former gravel pit
Pond at the former gravel pit

We saw green plants and green moss on the ground, but the yellow trail diamonds were sometimes difficult to see amongst the yellow leaves on the trees. 

Here is the work of the beavers.

Sherry at leaning tree that is almost falling due to beaver's work
The beavers’ work

This happened to be grouse day. Those at the front of the line got to see a grouse on a log, and later, a grouse flying. Sherry, who was at the back of the line, wondered if she was hearing a motor. We also saw two other grouse, one of which was landing on the high branch on a tree.

For our lunch we stopped at the Troutman campsite, which is lovingly maintained by the Troutman family. The outdoor toilet is a thing of beauty and there is a new fancy set of targets.

Half the group went on to Fidler’s monument. Along the way, we met a neighbour boy of the Troutmans, who was delivering a birthday cake on his motorcycle. He apologized for the noise of it.

On the way back, we had a rest break at the nice pond.

Thanks to everyone who came out to hike, to Trail Maintenance for their fine work maintaining the trail, and to the landowners for their continuing permission. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Middle Battle River hiking group at fancy targets

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