Enchanted Forests

  • Published on Oct 17 2017 |
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By Julie Walker, 
Hiking Guide CPAWS Southern Alberta

Our experiential interpretive hikes take place in the beautiful forests of our region. Forests are filled with natural teaching moments. Aspen trees are the Facebook of the forest, where animals (particularly grizzly bears) leave messages for other individuals. Many forests are made up of our provincial tree, the lodgepole pine. Lodgepole pines share important historical lessons, as they have always been an important resource this region.

One of the great rewards of being a hiking guide for CPAWS education programs, is the “magic moments” that occur with the students during our forest walks.  As the Aspen leaves were starting their transformation towards leaving the trees, I was hiking a Grade 5/6 group up to the Yamnuska Bluffs.  Just before we took the “school trail” out to the viewpoint, I asked them to enter into a “Dome of silence” as we walked between two Aspen trees, growing on either side of the trail.

To my surprise, once we sat down on the rocks at the viewpoint, the students continued the silence, while taking in the stunning view of the forests below in the Bow Valley for five more minutes! I was the one to interrupt the silence. When the second class approached, behind us, talking loudly, the students commented, “They are ruining our peace!” Will wonders never cease?

Our forests are truly enchanted, as are the lessons we can all learn by walking through their trails.