I was asked recently by the Alberta Hiking Association what my favourite hike was along the Waskahegan Trail. There are many enjoyable hikes that are diverse in nature and experience, so of course choosing just one is difficult to discern. For me personally, I am always humored when the features of private farm lands meet wetlands or uplands. This is evidenced by the frequently found cows looking on curiously.
One of the most significant hikes along the greater Waskahegan Trail, without a doubt, would be the Cloverlawn Hike. This takes the adventurer along to Alberta’s “great divide” where we also find Stan’s Bench.
The journey starts at a farmer’s field then quickly moves into an upland woodland area.
By the way, Waskahegan Trail volunteers work hard and have a lot of fun. If interested, you may read more about their efforts and perhaps join one of their work parties.
This would be the first of two wooded trail areas, interspersed with upland areas, that would eventually take the wanderer to views of Mud Lake.
Fields of wheat, thistles, and goldenrod lead the way, as do the many saskatoon berries.
At the top of a hill is the vast overlook of Gwynne Valley. To the northeast is Mud Lake, which is the starting point of Blackmud Creek. These waters will travel north through Edmonton, merging with Whitemud Creek before winding even more north to eventually form part of the North Saskatchewan then flowing onwards to North Battleford.
To the south of Stan’s Bench is the north end of Coal Lake, a source of Battle River, which flows south and east to also merge into the North Saskatchewan at North Battleford.
Thus, Stan’s Bench is the great divide or starting point of two watery flowing journeys, one running north and the other south, each moving in its own way towards Saskatchewan.