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.


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


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

It’s the Humidity

Brightly dressed trees (no idea why) top of Fox Drive stairs

For some reason, these trees decided to put their party pants on…(top of Fox Drive stairs)

Yesterday: A slight break in the weather, and by break I mean suck-my-will-to-live heat. It’s been so hot, I haven’t walked for about five days. No one was stopping me, except my own lethargy and a heartfelt plea from my already overworked sweat glands. Also, the many fires burning all around made the city extremely smoky. None of this was conducive to a stroll in the woods, but today was much nicer. Left around 11:00 and the air was breathable, bird-loud, and very fragrant, almost like an early morning walk. There was considerable chirpiness in the canopy, proof that even the birds were happy about the cooler temperatures.

Vetch, which is a rotten name for something so pretty

Vetch, which is a rotten name for something so pretty

However, it was humid. It poured in some parts of the city on Sunday, and judging by the moist ground and diamond-like drops of water on the leaves, it seems like north Whitemud Creek received the rain we did not get further south, which was but a sprinkle, a ‘baptism’, as my sister says. Not helpful, but temporarily cheering.

Moth 1

It’s strange that we are in a severe drought this summer, and yet the ravine is lush and green. As long as you don’t look at the creek, which is little more than a trickle, you would never know. Lots of Saskatoons on the bushes this year, too.

11:00 to 1:00/24C

University Farm

University Farm Field

Decided to walk home from the University today (yesterday). I’ve done this before, but many years ago, before Foote Field fundamentally changed the landscape beyond the footbridge over Belgravia Road. I was prepared in the sense that I got directions for walking through the neighbourhood south of the University to the bridge – but not after because I figured it would be self-evident. Well, what’s evident to most, geographically, is often not evident to me. I’m challenged in that regard. I’m genetically programmed to get lost.

Community Garden within the otherwise restricted farmland

Community Garden within the otherwise restricted farmland

I thought I could wind my way behind the LRT stop at South Campus, and connect with the road that exits onto 119th, but no such luck, even though I was kind of in the right place. I just kept taking the wrong paths. Eventually, I was south of that road (where we used to drive to pick up the heritage chicken eggs), and not quite sure how to get back to it. Too bad, I’d wanted to take some photos of the pond. Anyway, I ended up walking through beautiful, green fields of experimental croppage, following car tracks around the ENTIRE periphery of the farm. I couldn’t get out because I was surrounded by barbed wire. After awhile, it just became funny and/or pathetic. I knew I was in a restricted area, but what were they going to do? I wasn’t exactly lost, just trapped. Once the path turned north, I was able to find a somewhat hidden gate and exit on to 119th, bushwhacking through shrubs and trees. It must have looked weird, if anyone had been watching.

After that, it was just straight south.

Caught on the wrong side of the barbed wire fence

Caught on the wrong side of the barbed wire fence

It took about an hour and 45 minutes, and if I’d taken the right paths, I probably could have shaved off at least 15 minutes. The only problem was that I was going out to dinner, so I was late, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable walk. New vistas, new paths. The lush crops in various shades of green were spectacular against the blue sky. Very quiet, other than the sound of red-winged blackbirds. And it was only about 21C, so a perfect walking temperature.

I’ll do it again, but next time I’ll try to rely less on my intuition. Clearly, it wants to distract and delay me.

The long and not so winding road

The long and not so winding road

University Farm 1

Long and Cool(ish)


Marathon walk today. About 21/2 hours. Just didn’t want to stop. It was a lot cooler today than the last week, so the walk was very pleasant. A little overcast. A little sunshine. Wind. Many wee beasties. Good day to bring a camera, even if its fuckified form.


At the boardwalk, I passed a family with a dog and young kids. I spent a few minutes at the viewing deck and kept hearing the kid say, spider. Spider. Spider. I thought he was just pointing out spiders. And then they came closer and it turns out the dog is named Spider! Funny.



DollyThere’s a tree that has a square hollow. Sometimes there are things left in the hole, like a dolly. It’s weird. Someone must have cut that hole, but why, or how, is another question. Today, someone had left some flowers. When I moved closer to take a photo, a butterfly landed on my hand. A butterfly. Clearly, this tree is enchanted.

I walked to the first bridge, north Whitemud Creek (just past snow valley). The coolest thing was a herd of ants streaming across the path. Not sure why they were on the move. Maybe they were newly born baby ants. It was interesting to watch and a little creepy.




It’s been awhile since I posted anything here. It’s been really hot, and last weekend, it rained, so not a lot of walking. Also, when I was working last week on June 25th, a bear was spotted between near Emily Murphy Park. On social media, it became a big deal, and by the afternoon, @YegBlackBear and #yegbear was a thing. And yeah, I posted a few tweets to yegbear. But, they never found the bear after the initial sightings, so I decided to stay out of the University area river valley for a few days. And then it rained or it got hot. So, yeah, no walks for Donna. Tried to make up for it today.


da fu** you lookin’ at?

Whitethroated Nuthatch

White-throated Nuthatch