Paddle Boards on the North Saskatchewan River

Paddle boards!!

Paddle boards!!

Beautiful walk on Sunday along the Fort Edmonton Park trail, which begins at the river where Whitemud Ravine trail ends. The icing on the cake to that trail, which is nice but relatively unvaried, is the fantastic Fort Edmonton pedestrian bridge, the only suspension bridge in the city. It crosses the river at the far west end of the trail, and is unusually funky…for Edmonton.

Fort Edmonton pedestrian bridge

Fort Edmonton pedestrian bridge

In Edmonton?

In Edmonton?

We parked at the top of the stairs and then ambled for about an hour along the trail, ending on the other side of the bridge where there is a short but lovely path and a set of hellish stairs which I think leads to Riverbend. Lots of people oot and aboot enjoying a warm summer day on foot, bike, canoe, those sea-doo thingies, and most impressively, paddle boards.

Over the bridge, on the other side of the river

Over the bridge, on the other side of the river

Fort Edm speed

I’ve never seen paddle boards on the river before! People standing on boards and paddling down the river. Never. It seems like a lake activity, or something you do in the tropics. The river is super low right now, so maybe that makes it easier. Anyway, it was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the day in every way possible.

I know I did.

Fort Edmonton daisies

1:00 to 3:30ish/23C

 

Seagull (and one tiny sandpiper) Island

Seagull Island on the North Saskatchewan River

Seagull Island on the North Saskatchewan River

Most of my walks are solitary, but occasionally, someone will accompany me. Today, it was Tom – a fellow river valley enthusiast, and in every possible way, great company. We walked from Skunk Hollow to Louise McKinney, ending in Mill Creek Ravine. It was a cloudy day, but by the end, hot and sunny. A perfect day for a walk.

We walked east of the footbridge for awhile, to get a better look at the detritus on Seagull Island, which appeared to be a couple of Red Things. That island is usually only visible a few weeks each summer, as the river level drops. This year, for the first time that I can recall, the island has been up long enough to turn green. That’s a bit worrying. We’ve had so little rain this summer. Good for the seagulls, I suppose. As we got closer to the island (which has no official name – just the obvious one…), the Red Things turned out to be nothing spectacular, just a traffic barrier and some metal garbage that either washed up on the ‘shore’, or was brought over. Among the garbage and the seagulls, I saw a tiny bird wading in the water near the edge of the island. Turns out it’s a spotted sandpiper. Not sure I’ve seen one of these guys before. I didn’t get a great photo, but enough for identification.

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

More Spotted Sandpiper

More Spotted Sandpiper

The river has its turquoise trousers on, so typical of August. Mill Creek is a sliver of its usual self, also typical of August. Everything still green and lush in the summer heat. These are the last true days of summer. They require appreciation.

Turquoise river from Skunk Hollow

Turquoise river from Skunk Hollow

11:00 to 1:10/27C

Autumnal Suggestions

Whitemud Ravine red

Long time since I posted. I’ve spent a large chunk of the last two weeks being sick. Strep throat, or some variation thereof. It really knocked me out, in the sense that I couldn’t eat, my mouth was incredibly sore, and I had no energy. It arrived on the heels of a very mild cold, so really, I’ve been out of commission for most of August.

Whitemud Ravine on a cloudy day

Whitemud Ravine on a cloudy day

It was also heat-wavey hot, until yesterday, which was very cool, and a bit rainy. Today, it was also cool and overcast, but I went for a walk anyway. No sense waiting for the sun, which popped out of the gloom by the time I emerged from Whitemud Ravine around 3:30PM. It might have been the coolish weather, but it did feel a little autumnal in the woods. Not too many spots of yellow, but the late summer berries are out full-force, especially the mountain ash.

berries

My walk was short – about 70 minutes. Or at least, short for me. Walked down Westbrook and then back to the powerline. Lots of people on the trail, who seemed rather overdressed for the weather. I wore a tank top (it was 14C), but most were in jackets. I’d rather be a little chilly than too hot. Saw a lot of COYOTE poop on the trails – at regular intervals. I wouldn’t mention it (because I’m a lady), but the same thing happened last year around the same part of August. The coyotes must have a set time to mark their territory.

And in crazy-ass news – I watched a pileated woodpecker fight outside the window where I work on Friday. It was spectacularly vicious. I thought the one guy was dead, but he hung out under the window for an hour, moved over to a pillar and clung there for the rest of the day, and then flew off around 4:00. It was the weirdest damn thing…

The pileated woodpecker who lost the fight - back from the dead

The pileated woodpecker who lost the fight – back from the dead

2:15-3:30PM/14C

Best. Mushroom. Ever.

So beautiful, so deadly (probably)

So beautiful, so deadly (probably)

Fast walk in Whitemud Creek this afternoon. About 90 minutes, from the powerline to Rainbow Valley Road and back. We’ve had lots of rain and now the creek is back to normal, and by normal I mean it’s actually running. Not the brown slow-moving sludge of the previous droughty month. The ravine never stopped looking lush, so it remains a green oasis. Summer at its peak. Or maybe…just past its peak. I did see a few non-green leaves, but I refused to acknowledge them. Yellow flower

Found some really cool mushrooms. They were glowing, as if lit from within. Lit with poison. But boy, what pretty, pretty poison.

berries

I walked in Mill Creek Ravine last week, but it rained, and I was otherwise distracted by…stuff. No photos.

1:00 to 3:30ish/23C

SNAKE!

Faster, higher and muddier than a week ago

Faster, higher and muddier than a week ago

But don’t look for any photos. Way too fast. It was a garter snake, SSSSsssing through the gravel in Whitemud Ravine near Rainbow Valley Road (and by SSSsssing I refer to the shape of its movement, not the sound it was making.) This is the fourth snake I’ve seen in the woods since I started walking in the 90’s. Three garter snakes and one ball python. The python wasn’t native, and he was wrapped around some guy’s neck, but it still qualified as a snake sighting.

Ant condos in the stump of a fallen tree

Ant condos in the stump of a fallen tree

The rain we had on Thursday and Friday made a huge difference in the ravine. The creek has come alive again. It’s surging, and the sound of it is wonderful. I was accompanied for most of my walk by dragonfiles and grasshoppers (in the sunnier parts). Pleasant company. I didn’t notice any mosquitoes, so the dragonflies were doing a hell of a job.

Hot and sunny. About a two hour walk.

25C/I don’t know when I left, but I came back around 3:40.

I’m Where?

Whitemud canopy

Although I was happily present for (most) my walk this afternoon, I kept finding myself ahead on the trial, without memory of getting there. Lost in my thoughts, I guess. Really beautiful and pleasantly warm. Not too many people around, so it felt like I had Whitemud Ravine to myself. Walked from the powerline to snow valley, and back. At least, I think I did.

1:00 to 2:30ish/23C