Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30

Thread: Elk Island National Park

  1. #1

    Elk Island National Park

    I spent Thanksgiving in Elk Island National Park in central Alberta. A place I had never been before, although I am not sure why. Well not entirely true, I know I did at least once drive on the portion of the Trans Canada Highway that bisects the park into 2 fenced in parts. And too many times to count, I drove on another highway that would have taken me within 10 km of one of the park entrances. But I never bothered to stop, something I now regret.

    But back to yesterday, I didn't really want to go. Things have been not so great lately and the last thing I wanted to do was get drug out somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But was eventually persuaded and gave in.

    Since I was not all that enthused about going in the first place and nobody I went with had been there before either, I went with no expectations whatsoever. Given the time of year, I was expecting the park to be devoid of flowers, animals, and people and to be disappointed.

    Not so. What we found was an absolute gem of a park. I believe it is probably among the smallest national parks in Canada but we saw more wildlife in 4 hours there than in any of the other 6 national parks I have visited since July. The park is home to about 1000 free roaming bison and 1100 elk plus has large populations of coyotes, beavers, moose, and almost 300 different bird species at different times of the year. A perimeter fence keeps out natural predators such as bears and cougars, so the park animals really do have the run of the place.

    The bison, while wild, are used to people and were literally everywhere. I was surprised to find a beautiful sandy beach in the main recreation area--complete with a couple of buffalo strolling down to drink from the lake and even few taking a break to have a siesta on the sun and sand. A few also wandered curiously among the picnic tables, oblivious to the sensation they caused. We also found them relaxing beside the parkway road that runs through the north part of the park road and causing traffic jams. They traveled in small herds of 5-10 and could be very indecisive about which side of the road they wanted to hang out on, it usually took a good 5 minutes of them standing in the middle of the road for them all the decide which side. The elk were far more elusive but we managed to catch the rare glimpse of them in the trees from the road. On the trail around the lake we were treated to several coyote sightings as they ran in front of us from the lake shore up to the trees. But like the elk (and unlike the bison), they were quick to hide if they saw people.

    There wasn't much green left but the trees were beautiful. The picture below with all the leaves on the ground is actually of a beautiful paved walking path that wound around the lake shore. Another trail had a boardwalk that went right over top of the water.

    As always (I sound like a broken record with this) but it was a bittersweet trip. I can't help but think about the past and have regrets for the future when I go out to places like this. But I think I needed this, despite my initial reluctance at the outing. I have been feeling really weighed down by things and the complete change of scenery and the beauty of the place did me a world of good.

    A few pictures. The light had been spectacular but went very flat very quickly towards the middle of the afternoon and so some shots didn't turn out all that good (a sign winter is coming ). These few were taken with a Blackberry. There are some better ones taken with a real camera that I will post when we get them downloaded.
    Last edited by orangejello; 10-14-2008 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #2
    can't really tell from the shot but the beaver dam was huge
    Last edited by orangejello; 10-14-2008 at 06:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    last house on the left
    Posts
    9,791
    Wow! What a gorgeous area. I have never seen a bison in person, although I would love to. The fall colors are just lovely, and the picture of the leave strewn path is glorius. So glad you went OJ!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    7,178
    Reminds me of home. I can almost smell the forest air. Thanks for posting this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Hampshire, England.
    Posts
    5,004
    It looks gorgeous OJ and once again criss crossed with wheel-able paths.

    If you don't mind I'm going to copy some of your path pictures and send them to our Dept. of the Environment who are responsible for our national parks.

    I bet I don't even get a reply but it's got to be worth a try!

  6. #6
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    silver state
    Posts
    3,491
    Very Cool Pics OJ, I can't wait to see the ones with snow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    connecticut
    Posts
    8,272
    I love the pictures. Hits home how far ahead of us your weather is. Our trees are about at peak foliage this week.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  8. #8
    Wow, I really need to get up there someday. So beautiful!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mona~on~wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cleburne, Texas, USA
    Posts
    5,664
    Beautiful OJ! I love the pics. Looks so peaceful & quiet.
    I'm glad you went. I bet fall in the air smelled great.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by orangejello

    As always (I sound like a broken record with this) but it was a bittersweet trip. I can't help but think about the past and have regrets for the future when I go out to places like this. But I think I needed this, despite my initial reluctance at the outing. I have been feeling really weighed down by things and the complete change of scenery and the beauty of the place did me a world of good.
    I hear you regarding this entire quote.

Similar Threads

  1. Berkeley man ordered not to harass park users
    By Max in forum Spinal Cord Injury News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-22-2007, 11:24 PM
  2. 2007 Huntsman Cup
    By carl in forum Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-07-2007, 11:17 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-10-2003, 01:29 PM
  4. Rehab center to build park
    By Max in forum Life
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-13-2002, 10:47 AM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-15-2002, 11:02 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •