2009-04-12

MTM: Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park, is located about an hours drive west of Edmonton and it is well worth the trip. The park encompasses three large lakes and several small lakes, there are camping sites, picnic areas & boat launches. You can swim, bird watch, hike, cross-country ski, or pretty much anything else you can think of there. It is also a Dark Sky Preserve.





One thing you must do though is look for bison!












They will hurry to get out of your way, sometimes.






Unfortunately this early in spring the paddock isn't open, so you can't drive right beside them and have them ignore you as they graze.












However, from the paddock, you can almost reach out from your truck and touch them - not that I would in any way recommend that you try.









This is Astotin Lake, still covered in snow and ice on April 6th!














But the trees were showing encouraging signs of spring!











There are a couple of islands in Astotin Lake.














At the top of the paved trail at Sandy Beach, they had a fire going, just in case we were cold. Or had been doing something silly like exerting ourselves and wanted to rest ;)














Kalon didn't need the fire, just to get his feet off the pavement (and out of the bison droppings)!












They seem to have cleared the snow off of the beach, no idea why, maybe so that they don't lose too much sand in the melt?













Astotin Lake again, from beach side.












At Astotin Lake, near the parking lot and picnic areas, is the Ukrainian Pioneer Home.











In the middle of a smaller body of water, you might see a beaver lodge - then again, that may not be one in the photo. (it just doesn't quite look right)









This trip would be the first time I have ever been to Elk Island Park and have seen an Elk (or two).











That is really at the end of the range of my camera, but the closest one is very young by the looks of him/her.














This is Tawayik Lake, the second of the large lakes on the north side of the hwy that divides the park. It is apparently better for viewing waterfowl that Astotin Lake.









As we were heading home, these fellows decided to stand by the fence along the hwy for us.















He was just being a bit anti-social.












All in all it was a glorious day and I didn't get the camera wet when the snow gave out under my feet, just the knees of my pants.









Hopefully we will get back a few more times over the summer and I can give you a better idea of how beautiful it is. The third lake is on the other side of Hwy 16 and I am pretty sure it is not accessible by vehicle, you would have to hike, or exert yourself in some manner to get there ;)

This is a map of the park and here, is a map of where in Alberta you can find the park.

This was My Town Monday - hosted by the multi-talented Travis Erwin, click over to learn more about other towns and places around the globe.

Have a good day all.

25 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Having never seen a bison up close I'd probably run the dang car off the road. My wife and I are in Maine now and I'm sure a similar thing is going to happen with the moose crossing signs I see.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have now become a bison fan.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Yes, you have a good day too, and what a series of pics! Snowy ground or not, its easy to see how lovely and broght the landscape is, and how pretty it is.

debra said...

I've never seen elk, although did see a bison once---from a distance at a bison farm). I love the fact that Elk Island preserves darkness.

the Bag Lady said...

Great tour of the park, sis! I actually get to see elk and bison quite often - there are farms of both kinds close to where I live! But it's very cool that you can get out of the city and see them. An hours' drive isn't much at all!

Leah J. Utas said...

Lovely trip to the park, cousin. Good to see the buffalo roam.
I'm not sure about the beaver lodge either. Maybe the builder just wanted something different?

Travis Erwin said...

Nice looking place. I love to get pout and about in nature, with or without a rifle in my hand.

Reb said...

David, they are huge and fascinating! So are moose - I hope you get to see one, but not too close! I'm sure you'll stay on the road.

Patti, they are wonderful - and pretty good eating too!

Gary, thanks, it is a great place in the summer.

Debra, it is an interesting concept and I wish it would take hold in more places. People are afraid of the dark though, so it won't be happening in the city.

Thanks Sis. It is nice to have it so close and it is big enough to absorb a lot of people so it doesn't feel overcrowded.

Thanks Leah. Maybe the FLW of beavers?

You'd love it there Travis. You could bring your fishing pole!

yellowdog granny said...

wow...all that and bison too...that's a great place to live...thanks for stopping by and saying howdy..jackie

Reb said...

Yellowdog Granny, it is a great place to go. Thanks for stopping by.

Lana Gramlich said...

Very cool--thanks for sharing! I used to live in Canada, too (Niagara Region of Ont.) I sure don't miss all of that snow, dark & cold!

ARCHAVIST said...

Those are fine pics and what a stunning series of landscapes.

Barrie said...

Gorgeous pictures! And that's the first time I've heard of a Dark Sky Preserve. Very cool!

lyzzydee said...

This is a whole new world for me!!!

Jay said...

Very cool.

A few years ago we were driving through one of those wild animal parks in Texas and this great big Buffalo came strolling up to the car and I had to stop. For a second I thought he was going to climb up on the hood. Instead he walked around the car and pressed his face up against the window and went eyeball-to-eyeball with my mother. I thought it was hilarious but she disagreed. haha

Clare2e said...

Big, Beautiful Bison, Reb! Great photos.

Driving a couple hundred miles south to New York from New Hampshire yesterday, we were looking out for that magic moment traveling south when the tree buds were actually open.

Somewhere in southern Connecticut.

Hilary said...

What a great tour with fantastic photos. Those are some cool critters.

Reb said...

Lana, thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed. The Niagara region is beautiful!

Archivist, thank you. Nice of you to drop by.

Thanks Barrie, that's the first I'd heard of the Dark Sky Preserve to, it is a great idea though.

Lyzzydee, yes, I imagine it would be at that :)

Jay, I have to side with your mother on that one!

Thanks Clare, they really are stunning. We have at least a few weeks to wait yet, most of the snow is gone, but today's rain is supposed to turn to snow overnight.

Hilary, thanks, they are really amazing!

A. K. said...

Sounds fun.. The pictures looks amazing... Am also a die hard outdoor enthusiasts

Reb said...

Thanks AK it is great there. Nice of you to drop by.

kcinnova said...

I see buds!!!!! Hooray!!
It looks like a lovely place to visit. I enjoy your MTMs. :)

Reb said...

Thanks Kcinnova...yes, there are buds out there!

Barbara Martin said...

Reb, the lodge in the pond looks like it belongs to a muskrat.

It's been ages since I was at Elk Island Park. I remember seeing loose bison on Highway 16 in the median and the ditches grazing in the summer.

Wonderful memories from childhood...thanks, Reb.

Reb said...

Barbara, thanks, I didn't know muskrats built lodges like beaver do, that could be why it looks a bit off.

Adam Wise said...

Ummm just so everyone is aware the park is located EAST of Edmonton and is only about 20-25 minutes away from the city.