I respectfully acknowledge that the land in and around Elk Island National Park is located within the Treaty 6 Territory, the ancestral and traditional territories of the Niitsítpiis-stahkoii ᖹᐟᒧᐧᐨᑯᐧ ᓴᐦᖾᐟ (Blackfoot / Niitsítapi ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ), ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐊᐢᑭᕀ Nêhiyaw-Askiy (Plains Cree), Michif Piyii (Métis), Cree people.

Over the course of the year, I headed to Elk Island National Park quite a number of times. I posted about my earlier trips here so I figured that I will share the latest photos as well! Elk Island is one of my favourite spots to enjoy nature at any time of the year – it is super close to Edmonton, and each visit is always a different experience.

This particular morning, we headed out just to see the sunrise (I had a vacation day on this particular day, but I wanted to see if there was time for even just a little adventure before work – and there totally is!) We arrived before the sun started peaking above the horizon and were at Astotin lake as the pink hues started lighting up the sky. The shore was full of birds (until our presence scared most of them away)

It was amazing arriving at the lake with the water so still (aside from the waterfowl splashing about), the crisp air slowly warming, and the night sky turning into day. I was so fixated on trying to capture photos of birds on the water and I turned around to look towards the sunrise and was blown away. The sky was vivid and looked like it was on fire. The colours were so rich. I was left speechless – this is what waking up early is all about!

I spent some time just gazing off onto the calm waters, this would have been a perfect morning for a paddle (I am hoping to get a kayak next year, so I can experience these early morning calm waters from a different perspective.

Our next trip involved heading out on Thanksgiving day. We were finally going to be hiking the Shoreline trail – the other two attempts were failed from being the end of winter and way too wet and melty, and the second being ridiculously hot. After not seeing much wildlife on our last visit, this trip was full of wildlife!

I was watching an American Bittern on the shores of the lake for quite some time, it was amazing at how camouflage they are!

Our next trip was a bit different, we went biking down the Hayburger trail. I have never biked on a nature trail before (always either paved trails or gravel roads) so this was a bit challenging. Needless to say, we didn’t quite make it as far as we wanted (we were racing against daylight) but I would love to come back to this when the days are longer and make a day out of this.

We saw a number of ruffed grouse on the trail, it was definitely an accomplishment to have gotten so close to this one as we were cruising down the trails making a bunch of noise (This photo is taken with a 200mm lens, and cropped – I was probably 10 feet away from it)

Our most recent trip involved heading out at 10:00 PM to catch the Geminids Meteor Shower! (I am pretty sure this is the first time in my life that I went out to a dark sky preserve to watch one – and it was STELLAR!) The amount of stars you could see was unbelievable! And of course the meteors were amazing! (I didn’t keep track of how many we saw in the time we were out, but it had to have been around 30) I brought my camera (obviously!) to try to take some photos of the meteors, but unfortunately none ended up in my frame. It’s been a while since I’ve last tried my hand at night and astrophotography so I was definitely spending the time experimenting. (Just means I have to go out at night more to do photography!)

Photos were taken over the course of four different outings to Elk Island National Park (September 28th, October 7th, October 18th, and December 13 2018)

Until next time, chase the stoke!
– Tracey

Chase the Stoke Mountains


  • You will need a Parks Canada Pass or daily admission to enter into Elk Island National Park.
  • More park information can be found on the Elk Island National Parks page on the Parks Canada website.
  • When photographing wildlife, please keep your distance. Parks Canada recommends 30 meters from large animals and 100 meters from bears. Never bait, call, crowd, chase, or capture an animal to take a photo.

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