Monday in the Woods at Lunch

Below the High Level Bridge

A much-needed walk today at noon on a 55 minute loop through Emily Murphy Park. I blew a couple of opportunities to walk this weekend – stuff to do, I guess – but I knew it would be nice today as well, so I brought my spikes and off I went at lunch. The blue sky and sun were amazing, but down in the woods, it was pretty frosty. About -7C. Later in the afternoon, it was 4C. Although we are gaining light (32 minutes since the solstice) the days are still so short it takes a long time to warm up. Once I was walking up Emily Murphy hill, I had my gloves off.

Approaching the LRT Bridge…whatever it’s called

On the trail that runs parallel to the river, my phone died. The cold sucked its will to live. I know the feeling, but -7? I think I need a new battery. Or a new phone.

I didn’t walk much after Christmas. It was super cold, and as per usual, I was super lazy. On January 2, I was back at work, and we had a record breaking day at 7.9C! It was a drippy, beautiful day. I went for another lunch time walk just around campus. We’ve had so many freeze-thaw events it’s virtually impossible to walk in the river valley and ravines without micro-spikes. Or even the sidewalks some days.

A January 2 walk around campus on a record-breaking day.

Moments before my camera died just before the trail into Emily Murphy Park

12:00-12:55/-7 or thereabouts, 4 above later.

Christmas Eve Day

Stella makes her case for a walk

I write this more than a week past my last ‘good’ walk and on my last day of work for the year. It’s Christmas Eve, and while I am here until noon, there is not much going on, so…

And also, this may prove to be my one and only post from December 2018, but I hope not. Surely there will be some walking opportunities over my week off? You see, that’s the difference between Donna pre and post 2011, when I moved over to the south side. Before, I would create the walking opportunities. It was very rare that I didn’t walk five or six times a week, even if it was just the short 25 minute commute home to Mill Creek. Now, I seem to wait for the perfect weather, or I don’t think about it at all. Sigh…

Stella and I in Whitemud Ravine

Funny how habits, ingrained habits, can vanish if the circumstances change. I moved out of my very walkable neighbourhood in 2011 to move in with Sharon’s family for a year, and I stayed for six. And now, back on my own for eight months, I’m still struggling to regain my old habit of making a daily walk my top priority.

In any case, last Friday, December 14, my office gifted us with a day off, a ‘shopping day’, and so while I did hit a mall at some point, I still managed to drive over to my sister’s place to take her dog, Stella, for a walk in a deserted Whitemud Ravine. It was almost creepy how deserted it was, and gloomy. It was book-ended by two beautiful blue sky days, but Friday was overcast and it felt very dark in the woods. Glad I had Stella with me for this reason, and a million more.

We had a good time. I wore my micro-spikes and they were extremely helpful. The trails are quite icy from the warm weather and occasional rain mixed with snow, which seems to be the norm these days. Stella, as usual, wore her naturally spiky nails.

A walk is a walk, though, and we had a good time.

I don’t remember what the temperature was, but not too cold. Probably around -2C.

Maybe it’s Not Winter?

A cyclist makes their way along a snow lined bike path near 89 Avenue and 109 Street Thursday morning (photo: Edmonton Journal/David Bloom)

This is a weather report with no walking but a soupçon of whining. My last post suggested that maybe winter had finally begun in the sense that the snow would stay. Well, it didn’t. On Thursday, it was raining and most of the snow was gone. The temperature the previous day reached 11C. The ice pancakes on the river dissolved into syrupy darkness.

Today, or should I say, last night, the rain turned to snow and this morning it was a winter wonderland. Hard to say how many centimetres but in the full dollop range. It’s beautiful, but a bit treacherous on the roads and sidewalks because of yesterday’s rain.

But that snow won’t last either. It’s supposed to be above zero and raining on Sunday, and then well above zero all next week. Our wonky ‘winter’ continues.

I wish it would be one or the other, although if I had to choose, I’d take snowless. Until Christmas.

-13C/at work. No walking today. 

Today’s Edmonton Journal headline “Edmonton Weather: Snowfall warning lifted … it’ll all be gone by next week.”

This Is Probably Winter

Last year, it snowed and stayed on November 1, not leaving until the following April. This year, we made it an additional day. Woohoo! It snowed on Friday, November 2 and by snow I mean a blanket-the-entire-landscape deluge. I was dog-sitting on Friday and Saturday, and when I came home from work on Friday, I had to shovel what felt like two feet of heavy, wet snow off the driveway and sidewalk. Saturday morning, after walking Stella, I had to unbury my car. On a positive note, it was sunny and the streets cleared by afternoon. Stella and I went on another, longer walk to the power line and she had a great time. She loves the snow! Even more, she loves burying her ball in the snow. As a friend on Instagram commented, “I buries it, and then I digs it up.”

 

Today, it’s been raining but will turn to snow later this afternoon, covering what will no doubt be a thin but deadly layer of ice. There is still a lot of snow but the streets and sidewalks are clear. My only walk was to London Drugs and the grocery store. An hour later, I was soaked from head to toe from the rain and some thoughtful person who drove into a puddle and splashed me. Thanks asshole.

I’m not looking forward to the icy walks. And the dark (today was the end of daylights savings). I just have to remember Stella, and how much fun she has in the snow. BE. LIKE. STELLA.

 

1C (7C on Saturday)

Monday Glow

An absolutely stunning walk home yesterday. I started walking at 5:00 pm so the sun was close to setting, spreading a golden glow over every leaf and branch. By the time I reached the ‘new’ trail below Ezio Faraone Park (just past a very windy High Level Bridge), it was incredible.

Too bad I didn’t have my real camera with me (she said, blaming her phone).

Clearly, the squirrel was posing, but I couldn’t really get a close up. The squirrel was disappointed. He knew he looked gorgeous and gilded in that light.

Probably my last walk along this route before Daylight Savings kicks in on the weekend. Maybe Thursday. Anyway, it felt like I was walking in gold all the way home.

50 minutes/9C 

New Paths, Old Paths

Rossdale

I found a new path that runs below downtown via a trail that begins at 116 Street, ending at either Ezio Faraone Park by the High Level Bridge, or at the Glenora Club on River Road. I am SO happy about this. It means I can take the abysmal Groat Bridge out of the equation when walking home.

Victoria Trail, near 116 Street

I’ve seen the trail head before while walking up Victoria Trail, but hadn’t explored it until now. It’s beautiful and quiet, but I probably won’t be able to use it once it gets dark at 4:30. Until then, however, it will serve as my new and much improved commute home!

LRT bridge

Continuing along river road, I crossed the LRT Bridge and walked over to Walt Junior and discovered that the trail on the river side of the Epcor Plant has been reopened after YEARS of closure due to the construction of the bridge. This too is thrilling! This lovely little path which includes a sweet little wooden bridge leads right into Rossdale. For many years, it was one of my favourite paths, and it’s so much nicer than walking in traffic beside the baseball park (whatever name it’s going by these days.) In fact, both of these trails, one new, one old, will help to exclude traffic from my commutes, or at least minimize it. So glad I took this route today.

Heading to the Walterdale Bridge (Walt Junior)

Walt Junior

It was a marathon, though. Two and a half hours. I probably could have shaved a half hour off if I had brought my bus pass. Once I emerged out of the river valley via the funicular, I still had another 20 blocks to walk, half of which was along busy Jasper Avenue, and the other half along the 102 Avenue “Oliver Bahn” –  a much quieter and greener walk. I would have been more than happy to skip the first part. Still learning about my new neighbourhood!

Newly reopened path into Rossdale on south side of the Epcor plant

Little bridge near Rossdale

10C/1:00 – 2:30 p.m.