Here Comes Autumn!

MacKinnon Ravine

As always, September is a spectacularly changeable month, second only to May. There are days when the morning brings an exponentially yellower canopy than the day before, the piles of leaves on the ground deeper. Over the years, and especially since I got a car, I’ve come to view Autumn in terms of what comes next—winter, which pushes me out of pure and present enjoyment of the season. It’s beautiful out there, and the temperatures are brilliant, but I can’t help thinking about the snow and ice just around the corner. I used to be a winter person.

The Glenora trail to MacKinnon Ravine

Beautiful walk this morning with Tom. We left around 9 am and did our usual route, but instead of walking up to 102 Avenue, we walked down to MacKinnon Ravine and the river. Several times a week we end our walk at The Colombian Coffee Bar & Roastery (right by Vi’s For Pies) for an almond milk latte and almondine croissant. It’s wonderful. I’ve turned Tom into a late stage coffee drinker! On two separate occasions, Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian walked in to grab a coffee. Glenora is lousy with Oilers.

Heading up to the bridge (MacKinnon Ravine)
Thanks Mr. woodpecker for pecking so close to me and my camera

About 8C to start and 13C at the end (it’s now 19C).

A Summer Walk in and around Fort Edmonton

The newly reopened Fort Edmonton Park

Beautiful walk this morning with Tom from Fort Edmonton to Terwillegar and back.

Because of extensive renovations and expansion, Fort Edmonton has been closed for three years. It just re-opened on July 1, so there were more cars in the parking lot. As a kid, Fort Edmonton was one of the less enjoyable outings, which was often a yearly event or whenever relatives visited. It was literally a fort and not much else, but I liked the train, whose distinctive whistle can once again be heard through the trees. With a cost of $165 million, I’m guessing it’s a lot better and more kid-friendly now, and there’s a ferris wheel. We’ll have to check it out.

View from the Fort Edmonton Footbridge

Lots of fresh coyote shit on the trails but we didn’t see any of the furry dispensers. Not sure if that’s good or bad. I love seeing coyotes, especially if they’re close enough to get a good photo, but not too close. Not being a snack dog or a young kid, I don’t fear them, but I also don’t want to be seen as potential prey, however remote. The vast majority of the time, they don’t want to have anything to do with humans, and I don’t blame them.

Fun fact: you can always tell the difference between coyote and dog shit by the amount of berries. Obvious berries, I should add, no microscope required. Also, most people pick up after their dogs, whereas coyotes have no such service. Thankfully, Tom didn’t notice. I was afraid if I told him he would want to turn around. He loves coyotes too but the amount of berry-filled shit shimmering in the bright sun at regular intervals was a little alarming.

Lots of grasshoppers. We’ve had everything else this summer, why not a plague of locusts? (Seriously though, I love them).
Hello hard-to-spell footbridge

Cool to start (12C), and warm by the end (21C), but the breeze helped to keep the temperature down. Although it seems like a much longer walk than our usual walk around Glenora/Ravine Drive, it’s actually only about a 1,000 more steps. I got about 13,597 steps in total that day.

It Rained!

Whitemud Creek Ravine

For most of the day on Saturday, it rained (about 20-30mm, cumulatively). Beautiful, glorious rain. I had intended to walk Stella in the morning (Sharon and Vic are visiting Beth and Josh in Minneapolis) but it rained on the way over, and by the time I got to Sharon’s, the skies were VERY dark. I decided to take Stella for a quick pee and poop in the nearby park, and then we waited to see what the weather would do.

Oh boy.

It stormed, and thundered, and rained. There were successive storms, so by the end of day, there was no walk with Stella in the woods. Poor doggo, she was quite frightened by the thunder. She’s not usually that sensitive but not having Sharon around probably compounded her anxiety. I’m her favourite auntie, but I’m still just an auntie.

So today, even though it was cloudy and cool (12C to start), I picked Stella up and we drove to Whitemud Ravine, by the Rainbow Valley entrance. It was cool and wet, but still gorgeous. Things seemed the tiniest bit greener.

Now that she’s ten, Stella is a bit slower these days. The slight hesitancy reminds me of Maggie. In her later years, Maggie clearly and intentionally shortened our walks. Sometimes she just stopped in the middle of a trail, and said, no further. Slowly, our circuits became smaller. Finally, it was just the park, but she was always enthusiastic. Stella is on some meds now for sore joints. She gets two or more walks a day with Sharon, and is mostly fine, but she used to run like the dickens. She can still gets lots of speed up when she wants, like when she’s greeting me from across the park, or running after a ball. She’s become more of a sprinter, I guess.

Hey, that’s a heart in the wood!
Stella refuses to look at the camera (as always…)

We both enjoyed the walk, and Stella read and/or sent a lot of pee-mail. No creek splashes though. In spite of the rain yesterday, the creek is still pretty murky.

Along the boardwalk in Whitemud Creek Ravine

About 15C, 4,000+ steps (I’ll get more later walking to Tom’s)

Do I Have Heat Stroke?

Victoria Park Trail: green grass on the golf course, and everywhere else, yellow.

With Tom keeping super early hours because of the Olympics, no walks with him this week, but I’m still getting out as much as possible. Today was a little crazy. I should have gone earlier, but to be truthful—and reckless, I left at 11:30 AM in the 26C degree heat. The tan I had developed over many afternoon walks had faded over our span of early morning walks and I wanted to bump it up a bit. To be clear, as a redhead my tan isn’t much and it’s mostly freckles, but a little colour is always nice. (I do wear sunscreen on my face, and randomly, over my shoulders and arms).

So, I walked. And walked. By the time I was finished, two hours had elapsed, my counter registered 14,729 steps (Oliver, Victoria Park trail, River Road, MacKinnon Ravine, Glenora, Oliver), and it was near 30C. I was really hot and for the last three or four blocks—even as tired as I was, I took a slight detour into a leafy neighbourhood to avoid direct sunlight. When I got home, I chugged down a big glass of ice cold water and sat in front of the fan. I wanted to take another shower, but I wasn’t 100% sure I wasn’t going to collapse, so I had a banana and that did the trick. I felt much better. I am a little redder and have a few more freckles, but that was probably too much.

Victoria Park Trail

Thursday will be another hot one. I think I might take the day ‘off’. Today we tied for the most days over 30C (only 1961 had that many 30-degree days), and that record will surely be broken in the next few days. What a godawful summer. I hate to wish away time, or seasons, but with the record-breaking heat and lack of rain, this summer has been hard on humans, animals, trees, and every other living thing except weirdo heat worshipers with air-conditioning. Let it be over.

From CTV Josh Klassen:

As of August 4….

Is He Smiling at Me?

I think this is a Common Green Darner Dragonfly

Interesting lunchtime walk today. It was only about 21C because of the smoke, but hella humid. Walked over to Emily Murphy Park and then back up the steep MacKinnon Ravine hill. Other than visiting the lower riverside trail in Emily Murphy for the first time this year, the highlight of the walk was a inadvertent photo of a dragonfly. At one of the lookout points in MacKinnon Ravine, I was taking a shot of some common tansey (as one does) and noticed the dragonfly, or perhaps a damsel fly. Upon closer inspection, I could see that he was smiling! Or at least, it looked like he was smiling. Maybe because we both agreed that we did not miss the sun pounding on our backs.

I love him
Emily Murphy Park lower trail

The trail in Emily Murphy was really wavy, like an intestine.

Also saw this bastard in Emily Murphy. His antenna (or eyebrows?) were on point.

MacKinnon Ravine

12,010 steps.