In February after recent snowfalls we put on our snowshoes and tramped over the hill and then down to the Tranquiile River. From Pine Park we continued upstream to the dam. In a number of spots the ice had collapsed into the river but we could walk on the snow on the riverbanks up to the narrows.
The Mara Hills were blanketed in snow, but it is one of the first areas to clear. South-facing and treeless, lower elevation slopes melt first. We expect to be hiking there by the end of February.
Mt. Mara stands over the Mara Hills shaped like the prow of a battleship over the grasslands.
There were many signs of beaver activity along one section of the river.
Castellated bluffs overlook the river on both slopes.
Farther upstream are a number of ragged cliffs overlooking the river valley.
We have hiked down to these cliffs from the Tranquille – Criss Creek Road for the views into the canyon.
There are no riverbanks at the narrows. The river squeezes through a 4m channel. Any progress upstream would have to be on the snow-over the ice-over the river. We could feel the ice giving way at some points so we chose not to take a chance. We could probably go farther upstream in the cold weather in January but by mid-February the ice is breaking away to leave open water.
We followed our own snowshoe tracks back to where we had parked.
The rugged slopes above Tranquille Creek offer many days of off-trail exploration ovber the year. By March we will be going up the ridges and over hills to enjoy spring hiking on the edges of Lac du Bois Protected Area.
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