In contrast to the previous post...

In contrast to the previous post…

…if you like snow. About 30 cm between Friday to this morning (Sunday). It doesn’t bother me that much because A: it will be bookended by gorgeous spring weather, B: it’s undeniably beautiful, C; there’s f-all I can do about it, and D (most important): the sun is shining. It took an hour and a half to shovel the front driveway and the back deck and paths (for the birds and the dog), and now the driveway is wet and melting under the sun. Maggie was running around the cul de sac, plowing her snout through the snow, which was up to her lady business. Funny how she has enough energy and strength for this, but barely enough some days to take her around the block.

2. 119 Street

The unplowed ‘sidewalk’ on 119 Street toward the powerline

3. Powerline

The semi-virginal snows of the powerline

4. Into the Ravine

Second one down into the Whitemud Ravine!

1. 20 cm of snow 5. Trees

Crosscountry skier

Skiing down 119th

I purposely had an early lunch so that I could get out to the ravine while the sun was at its beamiest. The sidewalk along 119 Street was not plowed, and I passed a cross-country skier on the way to the powerline. It was a lot of heavy snow, but worth the wet socks and leggings. I think I was only the second person to head down into the ravine, which made me feel a little smug (it doesn’t take much). I even ran a bit. The snow was so thick, there was little chance of injury if I fell, and no one around to laugh if I did. Boy, I’ve really missed this! I used to take myself out to Mill Creek Ravine all the time after a fresh snow. At a younger age, Maggie would have LOVED this too, and she would have run all the way down the hill and back up againl. I did see four or five dogs in the hour that I was outside, two of whom I knew (Rusty and Leonard), but still pretty much had the place to myself. It can be a heartbreak when it snows in spring, but even this volume of snow will be gone in a few days – so might as well enjoy it while it’s here!

7 Whitemud Ravine Creek South

Whitemud(dy brown) Creek over the south side of the bridge

8. Whitemud Bridge 9. Shadows


Late Afternoon on the Powerline

Whitemud Creek

Nice little spur of the moment walk around 4:00pm, with the added bonus of being the first time I have walked in runners since the arrival of snow last November. I was intending to take the dog around the block, but she refused to move off the driveway(!), so I reluctantly scooted her back in the house and went anyway, poop bags in pocket. I walked over to the powerline, and then down into Whitemud Ravine, up the other side, and then back again. Not an imaginative walk, but still lovely and rejuvenating. It was warm and dusty. No snow or ice on any of the sidewalks or along the powerline trail, but a lot of gravel. The creek is dark brown and mostly open. It was like a late spring day – bikers (in shorts), joggers (in shorts), kids (in helmets), and me, in capris. About an hour in total.


The powerline without ice

Melt you son of a...

Melt you son of a…


Terwillegar Swamplands


Astonishingly beautiful weather! For most of March, it’s been above 5C and some days into the teens, like yesterday when we ventured into the swamps of Terwillegar off leash. Maggie has been jonesing for walk, or something, for awhile now. She is ambivalent about walks around the neighbourhood (we go anyway), but I think the problem is the leash. She wants to be free. Who can blame her? So do I, but I think her desire is less existential than mine. Maybe.

Terwillegar was, as expected under such warm temperatures – dotted with pools of shit-coloured water, patchy snow, and brown slush. Also, some areas of grass and mud in muted tones of Maggie. She blends in quite nicely with spring colours.


In spite of the ‘freedom’, Maggie wasn’t noticeably enthusiastic, although she seemed to enjoy herself. Bits of puppy come out still, especially when a stick or a well-scented bush is involved, but otherwise she’s just happy to pad along, slowly, companionably. Once she can jump in the river again, I think her engagement will ramp up.

Big Sky15C

Of Course I Went For a Walk


Sitting in the chair, playing at writing but mostly scrolling through social media sites – the sun shining through the window, distracting me, beckoning me. There was really no alternative, and I wasn’t looking for one. I had to walk.

I’ve been bringing black moods, inattention and impatience to the trails lately. I know that these things will be absorbed (or is that absolved?) at some point along the way. It rarely misfires. I wasn’t particularly gloomy yesterday, but I had a headache and a listlessness that was drawing me outside. By the time I heard the rush of the newly released waters of Whitemud Creek, I was in my skin. Fully in my skin. There is virtually no where else I feel completely present, completely who I am, than when I am mucking about on the trails.


a cattail

I walked up to the ‘red-winged blackbird pond’ to see if there were any geese. There have been sightings, but I haven’t seen or heard any yet, and the pond was still solidly frozen, bereft of geese. The cat tails encased in ice, in repose, dusty. The sound of dry grasses whispering to each other. It was beautiful. I probably spent half an hour photographing cattails and pussywillows. It was deeply meditative. Snow and ice everywhere, and yet here was spring in the glossy fur of the willow seeds. I can’t believe how beautiful they look on their red stalks against the blue sky.

pussywillow blue

Back to the trail. Down at the bottom, I veered off to the left to check out a path that leads directly to the creek. The water was very high and very black. I made a snowball out of the sugary snow and threw it into the stream. This particular part of the trail reminds me of Maggie. She didn’t come with me because it would have been too long and too up and down for her old bones, but she is everywhere. Whitemud Creek Ravine is Maggie’s Ravine. I hope she can join me later in the spring.

pussywillow brown

The powerline is mostly ice-free, but I still pulled on my spikes for one uphill section sleek with clear ice pockmarked by gravel and dribbling water. It’s enough to bring me down. Hard. A guy goes by on his bike. He’s going slow, but still, I feel like a wimp. It’s not that I was ever fearless, but I am tentative in a way that is becoming more and more familiar, distinguishing me from my old self. I no longer walk every day, in every kind of weather. My pattern has changed, but it is still where I belong.

Cattail 2

the powerline into Whitemud Ravine

the powerline into Whitemud Ravine

The newly open creek

The newly open creek

black water and ice

black water and ice

the place where it happened (whatever that was)

the place where it happened (whatever ‘it’ was)

4C/3:00pm to 5:00pm (yesterday)

Spring Break

Whitemud Ravine on a Saturday afternoon

Whitemud Ravine on a Saturday afternoon

The beginning of a serious stab at Spring. We should have about 10 days of plus 5 or better, and today it’s 6 and ludicrously blue and beautiful. As it’s been for most of winter thus far, it is also treacherous. My spikes held for the entire walk, and my bones are ever so grateful. Even the ravine, or should I say, especially the ravine was a sheet of ice. I expected the sidewalks on the way to Whitemud to be a combination of ice and water, but most of the snow pack in the ravine was crème brûlée’d along the hills and valleys, and I’m pretty sure I too would have been crème brûlée’d if not for the spikes. A lot of other people were wearing them too. Should have worn them when I was shoveling last week. Took a dive on the driveway and hit my head on the cement. Hard. No noticeable cognitive impairment. Ah well, the roads and trails should be fine in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll even be back into my runners.

Chickadee Saturday 7

Not too much bird activity in the woods. I could hear all our usual winter companions in the distance but few close by, except for one little chickadee who followed me part of the way home.

12:30 to 2:30/6C

What I Do For Vitamin D (and a Mars Bar)


Does a walk around the neighbourhood count? What if my efforts were courageous, nay even heroic? It’s been a wonky winter. More freeze/thaw situations than in previous years, and a hell of a lot more rain. It reached 7C on Thursday, and then it poured. Last night it snowed about 3 or 4 cm, and so now, Saturday, the temperature has dropped to -13C and the sidewalks are a combination of ruffled ice, sheets of ice, and sweet, sweet death. And yet…the sun is out! It’s beautiful, so I had to walk. Those stupid spikes don’t stay on and I’m wary of heading into the ravines, but to the depths of my being I needed to be under the sun, absorbing vitamin D and all the other good things the blue skies and sun radiate. With my face toward the sun, it was actually warm, and I was able to shed my mitts for half the walk. I even think I heard a robin. I teetered in the middle of the road, searching the tops of spruce trees for a hint of red, but the robin, if indeed it was a robin, stayed hidden. By the end of the half hour walk, I was thoroughly restored, upright, the robin had disappeared, and my pocket contained a Mars Bar. Just as nature intended.