Elk Island National Park

July 23 , 2008

This is Elk Island in Astatin Lake in Elk Island National Park. On Wednesday after Rod's session on Tuesday, we decided to take the day to visit Elk Island National Park about 50 km east of Edmonton. The Park, established in 1906, preserves an area of glacially formed hills out in the otherwise flat plains. It is an Aspen forest with several nice lakes and lots of ponds and marshy areas. The ponds were dotted with beaver dams and the whole area was very reminiscent of southern Alaska.

The park is a wildlife refuge for elk and bison.

As we drove into the park, we encountered this outstanding example of a bison, standing with a background of aspen trees, two things this park is noted for protecting.

There were lots of ponds, and in nearly every one was a beaver lodge. There were luxurious stands of cattails in the attractive marshland.

Driving north to Astatin Lake, the namesake lake for Elk Island, we had a nice breakfast at the golf course beside the lake. We walked along the lake and on a boardwalk tour along the wetlands.

We saw a couple of lone male bison on the drive northward through the park, and a couple more later ... maybe the same ones .. but we were never able to find the herd. We took a couple of loops around the dirt road through their usual grazing range, but found only a friendly prairie dog colony.

We saw several loons and heard the plaintive cry of the loon. Rod enjoyed seeing mother loons teaching their babies how to fish. We drove the road a couple of times and visited Lake, the other lake that was accessible without a long hike. We went back to the golf course for lunch and t hen headed back to Edmonton.

Walking along the North Saskatchewan River

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