Rain!

Mill Creek overflowing

More than 80+mm of rain over the last few days. So needed. All the grass was yellow, the creeks in Whitemud and Mill Creek Ravines were almost dry. Now, everything is beautiful and green.

Green grass

Tom and I walked in Mill Creek Ravine this afternoon. It’s been solid rain for three days but there was a brief reprieve around 1:00 so we laced our running shoes and headed out into the woods. As soon as I got out of my car, it was spectacular. Birds were singing, I was surrounded by a canopy of green. Good for the soul.

A full frog bog in Mill Creek Ravine

A full frog bog in Mill Creek Ravine

Oh and the frog bog was full of water and frogs. They stopped when we approached, but we could hear the frogs singing far down the path. Again, good for the soul.

Mill Creek wood

Godzilla of Mill Creek Ravine

Godzilla of Mill Creek Ravine

1:30-3:30/8C

Geese…with a chaser of Ducks

Walked from Glenora, or should I say, drove from Glenora to Ravine Drive and then walked down the trail to Hawrelak. As I expected the park was full of geese, ducks, and happily, a good number of goslings. I always like to pay my respects. It was much cooler today, and hellaciously windy. A good, bird-filled walk.

Goslings

Goose and gosling

Wigeon

A wittle Wigeon

Ducks

A Common Goldeneye, Redhead and Mallard walk into a bar…

3:00-5:00/18C

Late Spring in Early May

White Blossoms

I would say, on a blossom per capita basis, we are a good two weeks ahead of schedule, spring-wise. Even with the lack of rain, the city has exploded with colour. We may even be just slightly past peak blossom. Dark red blossoms, pink blossoms, white blossoms, yellow dandelions, purple lilacs and lots of green. Fat bees. Grasshoppers. It feels like it happened overnight. One minute I was in my winter boots, the next – my sandals. May is usually quite brown up until the last couple of weeks. Not sure who to thank…El Nino or Global Warming.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s BEAUTIFUL out there. And today, warm. The air and the ground is full of poplar seed.

Poplar fuzz

On the way home from my walk, I picked and/or stole some lilacs.

Now the house smells like purple.

It was unusually peopleless for the first part of the walk through the powerline and into Whitemud Ravine, but filled out toward the northern edge of the ravine. The creek is either low and slow-moving or still and stagnant. Even if Maggie was able to walk with me, she wouldn’t be able to take in a dip in the water. It’s too full of beaverish murk.

Chipmunk

Walked up to the third bridge and then turned around and exited through Aspen Gardens. By that point I was very hot but filled with the scent of life in renewal.

Pink blossoms

How low can ya go....

How low can ya go….

11:30-1:30/24C

Love-sick frog songs & tree holes

Squirrel 2

A BEAUTIFUL day! It’s like the end of May. Warm, fragrant and green. Early green. But still green. We went a-froggin’ in Whitemud Ravine. I noticed that last year at this time I took a bunch of photos of frogs in one of the bogs. Last week, there was neither water nor frogs (that I could hear) in Mill Creek Ravine, and today in Whitemud, the first bog was too dry, but the second one closer to Rainbow Valley Road had lots of frogs. We couldn’t get close enough to see them, but their love-sick frog songs were lovely.

Later, I spotted a squirrel in the tree-hole, the place of strange offerings and treasures. The hole was full of seed and the squirrel was shoveling as much as possible into its mouth, turning around to get the seed, and then eating it in front of us. When he left, I placed a few peanuts in the hole. Seemed like the right thing to do. Party on squirrel.

The sounds and smells in the woods today were magnificent.

Squirrel 3

Squirrel 1

3:30-5:00/22C

Of Bridges and Robins

Bridge 1

It was a very cold Saturday, but Tom and I braved the wind to join a human chain of Cloverdale Footbridge supporters in yet another effort to show our love for a part of the river valley that will soon be torn asunder once the Valley Line LRT is underway. It was a great. It was cold. It was weird, or at least the guy carrying around a plush sturgeon was weird. I asked him about it, and he began a type of diatribe one might expect of a man carrying a stuffed sturgeon. Once he started talking about blowing stuff up, we moved on. Strangely, there were other people with sturgeon emblazoned placards. I know they have a point about disturbed fish and wildlife populations, but it struck me as odd.

Wonderful Kristine Kowalchuk addresses the crowds

Wonderful Kristine Kowalchuk addresses the crowds

Prior to the bridge protest, we walked from 99th through Mill Creek Ravine and the Muttart. There were a lot of puffed up robins bracing themselves against the wind, but they were still singing. The ravine is surprisingly green and the creek (not so surprisingly) is very, very low. I remember past springs when the creek flooded its banks and it was impassable in some areas. It rained later in the afternoon yesterday and then all evening. That will help.

A robin serenading us, in spite of the wind

A robin serenading us, in spite of the wind

On the way home, we ran into a trail blockage by the low level bridge. The funicular. Managed to get through the first gate, but not the second. Scrambled up the hill and then walked along the west trail behind Scona Road to Route 99 for a late snack.

In spite of the cold, it was a great walk, and I was glad to pay my respects to our beloved bridge and see friends from the Save the Footbridge advocacy group. They are true stewards of the river valley.

4C/12:45 to 3:00

A Study in Geese

Buena Vista Park footbridge

Buena Vista Park footbridge

A magnificent walk today. It’s April 17th, and it felt like summer. Dogs swimming in the river, people – hundreds of people – in shorts and tank tops, bikers, birds. Green. Blue sky. Heat. And geese. So many geese in Hawrelak. It felt great.

View over the Hawrelak/Laurier footbridge. Dogs everywhere

View over the Hawrelak/Laurier footbridge. Dogs everywhere

We drove through beautiful Glenora over to Buena Vista Park and into McKenzie Ravine. We walked down a hill and then along the river to the bridge that spans Hawrelak Park and Buena Vista/Laurier off-leash. We spent a long time on the bridge, looking down into river, watching dogs play around in the water. Talking. It was great.

Goose in Hawrelak

Goose in Hawrelak

Back towards the car, we followed a boardwalk to a steep set of stairs. Back into the car and then a winding road through Glenora.

Great.

Hawrelak Lake

Goosetail

A coupla hours/20C