Ministik and NCC Ball Berg Hike

A small but enthusiastic group of five people met at the Berg –Triple B Section A89a trail head on Sunday where they hiked 9.23 km led by Delaney Schlemko from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). The leaves on the trees and shrubs were starting to change to beautiful yellow, orange, and red colours. We could not have asked for better fall weather – the perfect hiking weather where there are no bugs, and it is not too hot or too cold! Throughout the hike, Delaney shared her biology knowledge and discussed how the NCC does their conservation work in the area.  

We hiked through the Ministik Game Bird Sanctuary up and down the “Beaver Hills” and around stunning wetlands. Partway along the trail on the side of a hill, there was an excellent view of a large wetland and the fall foliage. We also found signs of recent beaver activity along this section of the trail with recently cut trees.  

Eventually we made our way to the NCC’s Ball Berg conservation property where we ventured off the Waskahegan Trail to explore the trail system on the NCC’s property. We stopped for lunch along one of the larger wetlands on NCC’s Ball Berg property shaded by birch trees and enjoyed each other’s company. Afterwards, we looped back to the Waskahegan Trail along the shore of another wetland where there were several beaver runs created by the local beaver family. Before leaving the Ball Berg property, we checked out the Berg Stopover. 

On our hike back to the A89a trail head, we were spooked by a large flock of ducks taking off a wetland in the Ministik Bird Sanctuary. It was difficult to tell what species they were because they no longer had their colourful breeding plumage (feathers). However, they must have stopped in for a break as they continued their migration south. 

Stella captured great photos of our hike and they can be found here: Flickr. Lastly, a big thank you goes to Trail Maintenance for maintaining this trail back in May – we were able to get in two hikes this year on this section of the Waskahegan Trail! 

Fort Ethier and Bigstone Creek Hike

Sunday’s weather was lovely and warm, which only added to the enjoyment of the seven hikers who clambered along the Bigstone Creek.

This trail offers some of the most picturesque scenery anywhere on the Waskahegan Trail. As it has the most rope-assisted uphill segments, it also qualifies as one of the most challenging trail sections. The efforts to maintain these parts—which are intensive—were all done by Brad. Accordingly, we noted and appreciated this work, as we really needed all the assistance we could get, especially with each successive climb!

At the end of the hike, while we cooled down from the heat of the trip, the landowner Mrs. Lucas gave an intriguing and educational talk about the origins of the fort and her husband’s family’s involvement with it. What a pleasure it was to learn about the fort first-hand from people related to the original family.

Thanks to John for scouting and leading the hike, to Trail Maintenance for clearing the trail, and to all the landowners of this trail section for their continuing permission. You can find more photos on Flickr.

Find out where we’re going next.