Today’s post comes from Megan and Cora, two of Halfway Lake Provincial Park’s discovery guides.
As discovery guides, part of our job is to inspire, encourage and motivate visitors to explore and discover nature everywhere.
What better way to motivate others than to be an explorer yourself and share your experiences.
Halfway Lake Provincial Park is home to four beautiful trails; Moose Ridge, Hawks Ridge, Osprey Heights and Echo Pond!
We decided to go out for a few hours to explore, observe and discover our Echo Pond Trail.
The alphabet challenge
We started by using one of the prompts offered in our Discovery Hike Drop-in: “The Alphabet Challenge.” The message says “Look around you. From here to the next stop, how far can you go in the alphabet if you find things in nature that start with each letter?
We had a lot of fun with this one; some lyrics are difficult, so we had to be inventive. Some of our distant examples were “U” for umbrella trees, “Z” for zigzagging over rocks on the trail, and “H” because we are in Halfway Lake Provincial Park.
This activity inspired exploration by motivating us to take a closer look at nature, while laughing a few times along the way.
Try it yourself!
Cora and one of her discoveries
Once we were done (the only letter we couldn’t find was X), we continued looking for new discoveries.
We put on our explorer glasses and watched for snakes we found along the way.
As we got closer, they moved away. It’s not always easy to identify animals when they’re in the wild, so we took some photos to compare with our field guides in the office. As we watched the snakes slither across the rocks, we asked ourselves, “How exactly does a snake move?”
Maybe they pushed objects to move, but then we saw the snake move without many objects around it and then we asked ourselves, “How would a snake move on a flat surface?”
With a little research, we discovered that we were right: snakes DO use objects to propel themselves. actually they have four Different ways to move!
Can you find the garter snake?
There is the serpentine method (what we originally came up with), using objects to propel yourself forward.
He concertina method, where, in confined spaces, the snake squeezes its back muscles and moves forward slowly, like a kind of worm.
Side windingwhere the snake throws its head forward, taking advantage of the momentum to move.
There is also the rectilinear method, where the snake uses its scales to propel itself forward.
Do your research!
Along the trail, we also noticed tons of small red berries and strange bright blue berries everywhere.
Usually when you see wild berries, you automatically think they are poisonous, and so do we!
We decided to follow our curiosity and dig a little deeper and identify what type of berries they were.
The red berries were Bunchberries, a favorite berry among many hungry birds, especially grouse!
The blue berries were blue bead lilies and are quite toxic. We noticed they grow in the same areas as blueberries, so from one curious explorer to another, leave the berries for the wildlife!
Look around you and see how many different colors you see in nature!
Places to sit
One of our goals when embarking on the hike was to find a place to sit.
A sitting spot is a place in nature where you can connect with the natural world around you. They are unique to each person, depending on the needs they have and the place that resonates with them.
Cora enjoying her sitting spot
Sometimes a place to sit can be in the bush, next to a waterfall, or sometimes it can be as simple as a swing set in your own backyard. The purpose of a place to sit is to slow things down and be free of distractions.
We found a few places to sit along the trail and were able to sit and listen to the many sounds of nature (many more than we noticed while walking and talking along the trail). We take time to think about how we are connected to them and how we feel in those moments.
Do you have a place to sit?
Join park staff for a Discovery Drop-in during the months of July and August!
Bring your Discovery activity book with you (or pick one up at the Drop-in) and use the equipment and materials provided to explore the park, observe plants and animals, and discover the wonders of nature.
Be sure to share your observations with park staff, take the Discovery Ranger Pledge and receive your own Discover Ranger button!
For more information, keep an eye on the weekly calendar of events posted throughout the park.
We hope that all of you have the opportunity to find your own places in nature, go on a discovery walk and explore, observe and discover the world around you.