Rainbow Valley Road?

Beaver and/or Muscrat

Beaver and/or Muscrat

It’s so nice to just walk out the door right now. It’s beautiful, warm, and I try to wear as little as possible. You know, within reason.

Walked through Westbrook into the ravine, and then all the way to snow valley. (And back, of course.) The creek by by Rainbow Valley road is completely dammed. Not in a satanic way, but in a beaver damn way. I’m not sure where the dam is. Probably around the curve. And by the way, I didn’t know that road or that area is called Rainbow Valley until this very moment. It begs the question, why isn’t the Snow Valley Ski Hill called the Rainbow Valley Ski Hill? Anywho, the creek was much higher and quieter than any other area in Whitemud Ravine. Thanks beavers.

I even saw a beaver, or a muscrat. Hard to see the tail, he was swimming at the time. I was walking

Grumpy Duck

Grumpy Duck

through a mostly overgrown monkey path to get a better view of a goldeneye duck, but I saw the beaver instead. I don’t think beavers are that active midday, so it was probably a muscrat. Nice to see it, whatever it was.

Fantastic, two-hour walk. Smelly and hot. Summery. The whole shebang.

1:00 to 3:00/24C

LUSH

Lush wild rose

Other than walks from the University to downtown last week, no big walks since last weekend. And about that university walk, the worms have moved in. I don’t recall the leaf roller caterpillars on the trails below the university before, just along Saskatchewan Drive. But when I was mindlessly hiking along the trail toward the LRT bridge, I almost ran into a grove of dangling worm. I had to walk back and find a worm-free path onto ‘dragonfly’ alley – the self-named gravel path that leads to the train bridge. Which I did. As long as I stay further west, the trail seems free of ash trees and their disgusting caterpillar freeloaders. Ah well, June is almost over. People are probably looking at the pale and deadish swaths of trees in the river valley and thinking it’s due to drought, but it’s the worms. The green leaves come back, but once again, they’ve left the trees looking like shit.

Lush powerline

Whitemud Ravine, however, remains gloriously free of ash trees (I think) and caterpillars of the green, wormy, hangy-down variety. It rained last night, but even if it hadn’t, the ravine is lush. I particularly love the area just past the bridge along the power line, where the grass is high and full of flowers and bushes of wild roses. Maggie used to leap through the grass into the creek, but that is out of the question now. No hills for her. No leaping. As of two days ago, she’s on new arthritis pain medication, so I’m happy to say that we were able to walk around the block this morning. Who knows, maybe she will be able to go for longer walks at some point.

Lush sky

Lush green

1:45 to 3:15PM/19C

Assorted Greens

Whitemud Leaves

Warm, bright and buzzy 90 minute walk. Other observations: Lots of poplar fuzz. Whitemud Creek is very, very low. We really need rain. Days of it. The grass is crunchy. Tried to take a picture of a beetle but it beetled away. Took three photos of a baby chickadee. At least I think it’s a baby. Seemed a little stunned and disheveled. There was a constant hum of bees as I walked. And birds. Some I recognized, others I didn’t. So. Much. Green.

Bad feather day

Bad feather day

More puffies...

More puffies…

Kinda gross, so I thought I should snap a photo

Kinda gross, so I thought I should snap a photo

I. Am. So. Thirsty.

I. Am. So. Thirsty.

That’s all.

2:30 to 4:00PM/22C

So Much Lovely

Whitemud butterfly

Winter’s great, but it’s so nice to throw on a pair of running shoes and just go. No planning. No worrying about ice. A thousand photo opportunities. Not that winter isn’t beautiful, because it most certainly is, especially the wide landscape shots, but there’s just more to see in late spring and summer. Everything is humming and shimmering. So many shades of green. No photo (of mine) ever captures how truly immersive the ravine is – the beautiful sounds and smells in the woods. All the beautiful little things. All the beautiful big things. Today especially, I missed at least three or four bird shots because the birds were too fast, too far away, or my photo wasn’t in focus. Ultimately, It doesn’t matter. The point is to be in the woods. The photos are just the cherries. But boy, when I get a good cherry…

Whitemud wild rose

I missed a yellow warbler, who was like a flash of sunshine in the fluttering poplar leaves. I also missed a hairy or downy woodpecker (not sure which), that landed on the little viewpoint above the wooden stairs and boardwalk in Whitemud Ravine south (near the third bridge). I was taking pictures of the chipmunks, who seem to be everywhere at the moment, and this checkerboard appeared in front of my camera. He did land, but flew away before I could take a good shot. And then some sort of small black bird in the tree above, with a lovely voice. So much lovely. Everywhere.

Mallard cooling his duck feet

Mallard cooling his duck feet

Nicely hot, but not humid. Great walking weather.

Whitemud dragonfly

Whitemud Blackbird 1

Some sort of…black…bird….

Whitemud fuzzies

Whitemud fuzzies

Whitemud Chipmunk

11:15AM to 1:10PM/22C

Ho and Hum

A very cropped photo of a Whitemud Creek trail

A very cropped photo of a Whitemud Creek trail

A shortish walk from the power line entrance to the Aspen Gardens exit, mostly to facilitate the stealing/removal of some lilacs. It’s a warm and windy, gorgeously scented day. But otherwise, unremarkable. I’m sad about my camera. It’s kind of taken some of the fun out of my walks. I need to get it fixed and/or replaced right away.

1:30 to 2:30/22C

Rose Curculio

O dandelions, how can they not love you?

O dandelions, how can they not love you?

A mid-morning walk in a humid Mill Creek Ravine. It’s not actually humid outside, but miraculously we had rain on Saturday and Sunday, and this morning (Monday) the ravine was still misty and wet. Beautiful, yes. Lush. Gorgeous. All the usual late May words. I mean, June.

Mill Creek Ravine (without the black bars)

Mill Creek Ravine (without the black bars)

My camera is on the fritz. The aperture doesn’t fully open or close anymore, so there are black bars on the photos unless I extend the lens. I think it’s time to trade up anyway. It’s always frustrating when I can’t get a clear or sharp focus. The positive about a good point and shoot is that it’s very portable. And it has given me some excellent photos over the last four or five years. But…I take a lot of photos, and if I have to buy a new camera, it might as well be a good one. Until then, narrow cropped photos.

A rose by any other name would probably be unpronounceable

A rose by any other name would probably be unpronounceable

At the end of the walk I toured the rose garden at Louise McKinney. Only a few roses are open, but they were exceptionally beautiful. Turns out I captured a Rose Curculio, or rose weevil, in one of the shots. Very happy about this. I love weevils, although this guy is something of a pest. And if I had a better camera, maybe the weevil would have been in focus. Hopefully it’s not operator error, although that’s always a possibility.

The mighty Rose Weevil

The mighty Rose Weevil

Rose opened

Some other bug…

White Rose 1 White Rose 2

10:15 to 12:07/18C