The Grasslands in Fall – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: November 9, 2019 2:51 am
by: Doug Smith
One of our favorite hikes in any season is a route through the middle grasslands on the west side of Long Lake in Lac du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park. There is a user-trail at the start by the small pullout/trailhead which we start on, but we usually pick our own route to pass kettle ponds, glacial features like erratics, kames, eskers, and moraine ridges, and up to viewpoints. On this day I hiked past Island Lake to the Grasslands Esker, then angled up to the top of the ridge overlooking Long Lake, then looped back through the grasslands to the start, a 6.5 km route.
In the bowl-shaped area near Island Lake are a number of kettles where glacial ice was left in low spots as the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age. In wet areas, reeds and various shoreline shrubs have established roots.
The Grasslands Esker is a sinuous ridge, a glacial deposit from the Last Ice Ages. The direction of the flow of the glaciers in this area was down the slopes of Opax Hill toward Long Lake. The under-ice glacial stream carried silts, gravels, and debris down the slope. When the ice had retreated, a 2 km esker was left standing.
We often snowshoe this route in winter, descending the esker toward the lake.
The top of a small hill on the ridge is a good place for lunch or a thermos of hot tea on this loop route. The slopes of Hadley Hill (the north end of the Batchelor Range) reach right down to the lake on the east side.
From the viewpoint the return route for this day was across the grasslands back to the trailhead, a 2 hour hike.