Hastings Lake and Allen Nature Trail

On a pleasant Sunday afternoon, fourteen people came out to hike out to hike the Hastings Lake Trail. We started at the north end of the trail section, which took us in and out of woods and around a small lake.

Crossing the train tracks and then Wye Road, we made our way to St. Margaret’s Church where we met up with the Allens and three others for a hike on the Allen Nature Trail.

The Nature Trail has had some unusual wildlife activity this past year. From the trail you can peer into the woods and see the skeleton of a moose that had died this winter. Also, a fisher was spotted three times on camera. Fishers are in the same family as wolverines. They are elusive but abundant in Alberta, according to the Wilder Institute.

From the edge of peaceful Allen Cove, you can see water birds with binoculars. If you look closely in this photo, you’ll see three swimming birds in a row.

Two mallards and a Franklin gull

Flowers and blossoms seen on this hike include sandworts, lungworts, blue-eyed grass, silverweed, bracted honeysuckle, gooseberries, wild currants, saskatoons, chokecherries, pincherries, and the blossoming heads of baneberry.

Thanks to Anita for scouting and leading the hike, the Allens for hosting and leading us on their trail, Trail Maintenance, and the other landowners for their continuing permission. You can see all the photos on Flickr.

Where we’re hiking next.

Ministik Hike from Spilstead South

Twenty-three people came out to hike the trail in Ministik Bird Sanctuary from Spilstead Road south to Currie Pasture. For this hike, we were delighted to be joined by another avid hiking group, the Red Deer Ramblers. For most of them, it was a 2 hour drive. They hike every second week, often in David Thompson Country or beyond.

We had fine weather the whole day. The sun sparkling on the lakes made the views exceptionally interesting.

This was a hike we hadn’t done since 2016, so for almost everyone, it was a new event. We observed the rows of caragana trees while we were still in the sanctuary, evidence of an old homestead. Of course, we spent a lot of time at the old Marsh Mitchell cabin.

Another sign of homesteading is this simple mailbox–a can nailed to a tree.

Next to the trail we found a nearly-intact deer skeleton, and next to it were pieces of hide in “winter coat” (i.e. thick and heavy) condition.

The flowers are just taking off. We saw early blue violets, Canada violets, saskatoons and chokecherries in bloom, and one bluebell.

Lunch was on the slope of the hill in Currie Pasture, overlooking the lake.

Thanks to Helen and Johanna for scouting and leading the hike, to our fellow hikers, Red Deer Ramblers, for coming out with us, to Trail Maintenance for the fine work, and to the landowners for their permissions. You can see all the photos on Flickr.

Where we’re hiking next.