North Coal Lake afternoon hike

North Coal Lake is one of our top places for late afternoon hiking. The trail runs through wide open country on one side and the forest edge on the other. The view of the lake is non-stop until it ends half-way, and then it’s lush pasture all the way up to our lunch point on the hill. As the heat of the day dissipates, the birds become more active and all of nature is glowing in the angled sunlight.

Twelve people came out to finish their weekend in fresh air and camaraderie on this 10 km hike.

Lots of new flowers were discovered, including huge patches of one of our favourite herbs—Wild Bergamot (Monarda, not to be confused with the ingredient in Earl Grey tea, which is a the tropical Citrus aurantium). They have been used as a potherb (like oregano) and to make delicious tea.
This picture was taken back at the boat launch. If you blow it up, you will see that the white floating thing is a pelican. We didn’t know that they would get so close to people!

Thanks to Johanna for leading this hike and to the trail maintenance crew for their work on the trail—especially on repairing the bridge.

You can find more photos on Flickr.

Coal Lake from Kjorlein Corner South

Twelve people came out to hike Coal Lake under a clear blue sky. Starting at Kjorlein Corner, the group walked south on the freshly groomed trail along the lake and through sections of lush forest and meadows.

The day was probably the hottest we’ve had all summer. As we approached lunchtime, we decided not to push ourselves to go the extra kilometer to our targeted spot. Instead, we stopped at a pleasant breezy setting overlooking the lake and its bobbing pelicans.

So nice to be in the country for a day.

Many thanks to Lee for leading the hike and to trail maintenance for getting the trail in shape. You can see more photos on Flickr.

Stoney Creek Flower Show (hike)

We have a standing item in our calendar to ensure we hike Stoney Creek every mid-July. That’s when the prickly pear cactus is in bloom. This species is normally confined to southern Alberta, but it finds a perfect home on the slopes of the hoodoos in the McGhee Basin.

This year, we were provided with an extra amount of rain which created a showy abundance of many other kinds of wildflowers, some rarely seen. Nineteen people came out to step around the puddles, explore the field and hillsides, and enjoy great conversation and camaraderie.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Gerry for leading the hike and providing so much fascinating detail on the flowers. You can see more photos on Flickr.