The Grasslands in Fall – Kamloops Trails
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.
From the parking lot a trail winds past two BC Parks kiosks into the hills.
At this time of year, golden-colored bunchgrass, thread-and-needle grass, and rough fescue covered the hillsides.
Rabbitbrush and a few junipers have taken a hold in some areas but the grasslands stretch for 4 km north to Clapperton Hill.
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.
Island Lake is all one narrow lake in the spring, but it is a series of ponds by the fall, surrounded by reeds.
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 winding esker goes right down to Long Lake, but I hiked down it for a while, the traversed across the slopes to the top of the slopebreak overlooking the lake.
On this day the fall sun was peering through the thin clouds casting a reddish light over the golden fields.
From the top of the ridge Long Lake (1.5 km in length) was below. The isthmus into the lake is another small esker.
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.
Doug writes for Kamloops Trails, a not-for-profit (and ad free) website, offering information on trails, waterways, routes, featured spots, viewpoints, and explorations in the outdoors in the Kamloops area (and beyond).
Doug started exploring this area in 1976 and continues to follow tracks and routes wherever they lead, with the aid of map, compass, GPSr and camera. After many dead-ends, but also many discoveries, he chose to share this information.
The Kamloops Trails website has a massive number of interesting posts and would be of interest to anyone in Kamloops who enjoys the outdoors. Visit the Kamloops Trails website at: http://www.kamloopstrails.net/My Blog Posts