Weird Fall

The trail below the University/Saskatchewan Drive

The trail below the University/Saskatchewan Drive

The snow is long gone. It was fully gone a week after it snowed in early October, and since then, we’ve had pretty nice weather. Double digits this last week, and on Thursday it was 19C. Today, rain. Lots of rain. On Friday, however, Tom and I made our way to downtown via the river valley. It was monochromatic and quiet. We lost a couple of the best weeks of fall to a premature snow and now, it’s long past peak – the woods settled contentedly into the sepias and browns of late autumn. Beautiful, in its own whispered way.

forest-floor

The walk on Friday was about 45 minutes, followed by a bit of wayward wandering downtown. It’s supposed to be 16C on Tuesday, so I’ll try to walk home, or some version thereof.

university-trail-2

Friday 13C/Sunday (today) 7C

Snow the ground and flying in the air

Whitemud Creek

Whitemud Creek

Went for a quicky yesterday morning which turned into a longy…as these things happen. Actually, it was only about an hour but I went longer than I intended – up to the pond along the powerline. It snowed again on Friday (Oct 14), and I wanted to get out and experience the beautiful, if somewhat premature winter landscape before it melted back into fall. If it does.

Whitemud Ravine powerline

Whitemud Ravine powerline (note the green leaves!)

powerline-snowy-trees

As expected, it was beautiful. The creek wasn’t frozen but had a slight skim of ice on top, like the pond. On the water, just a lone mallard and a common goldeneye giving itself a vigorous cleaning. At least I think that’s what she was doing with her leg up in the air. Maybe her foot was just cold. Who knows ducks? Also, I saw a flock of snow geese flying in v-formation above me. I thought they were regular Canada geese, but they did have an odd sound. Only when I enlarged the picture could I see their snowy feathers. I’m lucky to see to have seen them.

duck-2

Common Goldeneye with uncommon flexibility

You lookin' at me?

You lookin’ at me?

Snow geese

Snow geese

10:30-noon/1C (Saturday)

Whuh happened?

yellow-leaf-in-snow

I didn’t even get a chance to write about last Sunday’s (October 2) beautiful autumn walk in the river valley before the snow started to fly on Friday! Since then, it’s snowed about 10 cm. Yesterday, everything was covered in snow. A lot of it has melted, but not enough to uncover the still green grass. And now, just looking out the window on Thanksgiving Monday, it’s snowing again! It’s too soon, man. Too soon.

Whitemud Creek meets the river

Whitemud Creek meets the river

whitemud-red-leaves

whitemud-tomOn to more edifying things. Last Sunday was, as mentioned, a beautiful walk. We started at the bottom of rainbow valley road, and then walked north to the river. It was very colourful. Peak fall. Particularly nice was the half hour or so we spent on a bench, watching squirrels, or more accurately, one squirrel grabbing the peanuts I left on the rail one after the other, stuffing them into his hidey-hole not too far from the bench. I also had chickadees eating sunflower seeds out of my hand. Yeah, it was exceedingly bucolic. Tom was laughing over that squirrel, who eventually cleared out all the peanuts. It was a wonderful moment. As much as I loved that walk, I think I would have been a teeny bit more appreciative if I had known that was basically it for fall.

Maybe we will get a few more weeks. Maybe not.

whitemud-mud-leaves

Poor rake. Brand new and never got a chance to collect a single leaf. We will never know its potential. #RIPrake

Poor rake. Brand new and never got a chance to collect a single leaf. We will never know its true potential. #RIPrake

Last Sunday 6C/Today 0C.

Friday Beauty

iphone-hill

Hill heading toward Groat trail, with some unidentified person…

Autumn continues its spectacular roll out, spreading colour and cooler temperatures across Edmontonland. We had a short reprieve last week, with hot summer weather, sandals and shorts. Tom and I went for our usual (and always wonderful) after-work Friday walk to Remedy on 124th. It was so beautiful. Intense blue skies. Incredible hits of red, amber and green. The walk begins below the University along Emily Murphy Park trail, over the Groat bridge, and then along river road to Groat Road trail (or whatever it’s called). The trail ends in Glenora, and then east to 124th. It’s become a tradition. Not sure if we’ll be able to continue it in the winter, but perhaps.

hill

Not much walking other than that. Next week looks cooler, and today (Sunday) it’s wet, cold and windy.

Trail up to Glenora

Trail up to Glenora

102nd Street Bridge

102nd Street Bridge

Friday 24C/4:00 to 5:00 PM

Suddenly, Fall

Autumn

Seems like an entire season has passed since I posted something here, but it’s been just a little over three weeks. In that time, or more specifically, in the last week, fall has arrived. The last week of August was cool and rainy (as opposed to the entirety of summer – which was warm and rainy). I have a few days off, and this morning we took the neighbour’s dog Teddy down to the ravine, and it was positively autumnal. Leaves along the paths, wet and cool, the sour (and evocative) smell of rotting foliage. The temperature forecast is in the teens for the foreseeable future. What happened??

Teddy on path

Teddy of the Trails

I have been walking, just not posting. Mostly, it’s been with Tom, in and around Whitemud, with lots of after-work walks from the university to Glenora. All pleasant, of course. About a week ago we went for an evening walk down to the river, which was at its highest this year. Funny, when the City of Edmonton announces that the river is peaking and for people to stay away, it always has the opposite effect. Even on that rainy evening, the banks were full of looky-loo’s like us, admiring the power of nature.

Teddy poses

Teddy poses

Up close Teddy

Up close Teddy

So much rain this summer. The grass is a deep emerald green and Sharon’s garden has never looked so beautiful and lush. And yet, the trees are starting to look dry and yellow. A sunny, hot day would largely erase the signs of fall. Above ground, that is.

Teddy of the powerline

Teddy of the powerline

Walking with Ted was wonderful. It’s been about a year since Maggie has been able to walk into the ravine, and I really miss having her beside me. Ted is a gentle giant, with piercing ice-blue eyes. He is actually a Great Pyrenees cross, but there must have been a husky in the woodshed at some point to account for those laser eyes. Though he’s a friendly doggie and happy to meet and greet the other dogs on the path, like Maggie, he’s a people person. It was no trouble at all to keep him close to us.

Teddy of the bush

Teddy of the bush

Sharon, Teddy and I took the path into Whitemud Ravine via the powerline. The bank is collapsing again, so there was machinery and workers about, putting in some kind of an emergency ‘band aid’ fix (their words) to keep the water from flooding and taking out the bridge like it did a few years ago. At the bottom of the hill just past th bridge, we took a right into the woods. The path is still lush and overgrown, but about two weeks ahead of the rest of the ravine in terms of seasonal change. The trail was soaked in rain and fallen leaves. Ted’s face and fur was beaded with moisture but he seemed very happy trotting ahead of us through the dripping bush. We even spotted what looked like some moose tracks in the mud.

Moose tracks?

Moose tracks?

By the end of the hourish walk, all three of us had soaked feet/paws. Teddy rolled in some green grass to…actually, I’m not sure why dogs roll in grass. They seem to really enjoy it. He DID NOT enjoy going back into his house, but I think we were all in agreement that it was a fantastic walk. For October.

That's how Teddy rolls

That’s how Teddy rolls

9:00-10:30ish/13C

 

Up and Down the Hill at the Folk Fest

Bluesky Hill

Crowds gather on the first day

You can’t count the commute from car to bus to hill, and then up and down the hill over four days as a proper walk, but it was exercise of a sort, and it was in the river valley. That counts.

It’s been years since I attended all four days of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. It was brilliant. It was incredibly entertaining and uplifting. And it was exhausting. Glad I took Monday off to recover. It’s like the rest of the world disappears, narrowing to the program and what stage to go to next. About drinking in the phenomenal music. About having incredibly personal moments amidst thousands of people. About soul-stirring generosity of spirit at the workshops. It’s about master class instrumentation and singing and in several gobsmacking instances – dancing (Gordie MacKeeman and HIs Rhythm Boys).

Gordie MacKeeman

Gordie MacKeeman

It’s also about the searing heat and early mornings and heavy backpacks. It’s about uncomfortable seats and sore asses, long trudges up the hill and expensive (but oh so tasty) food. Strange burn patterns where the sun block missed. Constant (failed) negotiations with my bladder to avoid yet another trip to the portapotty. Dragonflies darting around the crowds, feasting on the mosquitoes who were in turn, feasting on bare arms and legs. Mostly, it’s about discovery and celebration. Excited conversations about the wonders seen and heard. It’s about the laughter. It’s about the music – all the incredible music. And gratitude.

Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara

I’ve missed the Folk Fest in the last few years, and I’d forgotten what an amazing experience it can be, especially when you experience all four days. THANKS to Tom, a regular attendee who happily insisted that I come all four days too, my head is full of wonderful music and great memories.

Oh and thanks to the food truck with the grilled cheese wedges wrapped in a newspaper cone. That was damn fine eating.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

Standouts for me include: the Icelandic blues band Kaleo and their stupidly talented and hilariously deadpan lead singer; the energetic and beautiful Mali singer Fatoumata Diawara; the aforementioned P.E.I fiddle playing and step-dancing Gordie MacKeeman; the always fantastically uplifting Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir; the Senegalese Amadou Fall Trio (and his provocatively played Kora); and our last (and possibly best) act of the festival – the North Carolina (by way of Switzerland) Kruger Brothers.

The lead singer of Kaleo has better hair than you

The lead singer of Kaleo has better hair than you

My head is still swimming. Still thinking about music and conversation and grilled cheese wedges.

Sunset Hill

Today, I slept in and then went for a short but reviving walk in Whitemud Ravine, trying to land back on earth.

Raised forest floor

Thistle

Thistle in Whitemud Ravine this afternoon

About 23 all weekend, no rain.