And then this happened…

I made a Chelsea and Andy in honour of their wedding

This is going to be a photo post, because it’s so nice and pretty today (Sunday) but Friday and Saturday were pure rubbish. Once again, it snowed. It snowed hard. Snowed so hard I had to shovel my car out.

I am dog-sitting Stella for four days because most of my family is in California for my step-niece Chelsea’s wedding. Even though I went for two walks a day with the doggo in the heavy wet snow, which did not make me happy, I will admit to a small frolic in the snow on Saturday. It wasn’t until all the snow melted (6cm plus) on Sunday morning that we went for a proper walk in Whitemud Ravine. Landscape-wise, it was like the snow hadn’t happened at all. Mentally…I’m still scarred.

Snow or no snow, ball is still ball

Whitemud Creek Ravine, the next day

First full day of Autumn in Whitemud Ravine

It was about 6C. 

 

A Summerfall Walk

Yes, it’s still technically summer, but in Edmonton in the middle of September, especially this September, it’s just a word that elicits fond memories of a season that has already passed.

But yes, Wednesday, after a week (or is it longer?) of inclement weather, it was finally nice enough to really enjoy the changing colours of the river valley. And it was beautiful, especially against a blue sky. How I have missed you!

I walked from the university, over and then under Groat Bridge, and then west through MacKinnon Ravine and finally Glenora, followed by Oliver. About an hour of gorgeous vistas and autumnal scents.

And a random wasp nest.

5:00-6:15 pm, 15C

 

It’s snowing

Yeah, it is.

And for the last 24 hours.

Not an actual post (more of a whinefest), as my only walk today will be to and from work, via bus, train and a short two-block scurry to my snow-covered abode. What a kick in the lady business.

We had a warm day on Friday, September 7 and Tom and I went for a wonderful walk after work. Since then, we’ve had cold weather, rain and last night and today, snow. Not a little bit of snow. Full-on cover-everything-green-and-pink-and-alive (or it was) snow. It’s also cold, so I have my winter coat out and my gloves. Yes, the snow will melt, but we’ve lost any semblance of summer. Once the white goes, we will have dead flowers and mid-autumn foliage, even though it’s still summer. I said (almost) more fucks this morning on my way to work than I did the day Trump got elected.

What a weather year. First, our winter goes on and on, and then there is barely a spring before summer hits with 30+ temperatures beginning in May and carrying on through August. On the first night of the Folk Fest this year, it was 34C and smokey (from BC fires) so Tom and I didn’t go. And now, we didn’t even get a chance to enjoy early fall. Yeah, I’m crushed, as are all Edmontonians.

At least we have Trevor Robb, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal who has been entertaining us with his depressing (but hilarious) headlines about our weather this year. This one, today, was particularly good.

Bugger

1C and cloudy

Walterdale Bridge (Junior)

First time to walk under and over the new Walterdale Bridge (Walt Jr.).

It’s really something, and the area around it is gorgeous! For all of the inconveniences – of having that trail cut off for years on both sides of the river; for all the trees that I knew, that were cut down, I would say that this new bridge makes up for it. As a driver, it’s amazing. As a walker, even more so.

The pathway across the bridge is extremely wide, with a wide open view to the sky and the river valley. It’s like a promenade. Below the bridge is a paved pathway leading to the trail that eventually becomes Skunk Hollow, which I will take next week sometime, especially as the new Indigenous Park is scheduled to open at the former Queen Elizabeth Pool area. There is also an unpaved path that is closer to the river and actually leads to the shore. The stairs are nice. The replanted foliage is nice. I give it a 10.

This path from the university to the Walterdale Bridge used to be my main river valley commute. There are trails leading off to other areas, in particular the trail that skirts around Rossdale beside the north side of the river (which is still blocked off), but this was the one that most often got me home.

I missed it.

For the first time in over five years, that trail got me home yesterday, but circuitously. I took a few photos of the bridge and then carried on the far path to Rossdale and then Louise McKinney Park, which is currently cut in half by the Valley Line LRT construction. It was wonderful to walk such familiar paths again. Once I was in McKinney, I took the stairs to downtown and then walked home from there.

Rossdale, headed toward the Low Level Bridge

We’re having a bit of a reprieve from the cool weather that hit us like a bang mid-August. It’s been cool and rainy ever since, with a few sunny days thrown in. Yesterday (Thursday) and today, however, it’s beautiful and warm (21C and 25C, respectively). A smattering of yellow here and there, and a bit of crunch underfoot, but for the most part, visually it still looks like late summer.

North Saskatchewan River from Louise McKinney Park

Red leaves, Louise McKinney Park

There were no posts in August. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, and I had little opportunity or inclination to walk in the woods. My sister Barb spent most of August in ICU, and then passed away on Sunday, September 2. She was plagued by Lupus and latterly, COPD, for decades, and in the last few years her body grew increasingly exhausted (but not her mind!). Her lungs struggled to breath and her kidneys shut down, and while she had been on dialysis for a year that too proved to be a burden on her health (although I’m sure it prolonged it for a little while). In the hospital, she was communicative and even sometimes, quite happy. She had reached the stage of acceptance with her failing health. But the last week, and her last 48 hours, were extremely difficult and sad. She was gone by Saturday morning, but her body continued on until Sunday afternoon.

Walking has helped to shed some of the grief, but as I have learned (unfortunately), it is something that comes and goes on its own capricious schedule. Rest in peace, Barb.

Sizzling Sunday

I like your thinking Stella

This has got to be a record-breaking July in terms of hot, miserable weather. OK, maybe not miserable if you like temperatures upwards of 30C, but definitely miserable if, like me, you’re not into full on – who knew I had pores there – body sweat. At least it’s not horribly dry, thanks to some spectacular thunderstorms.

For the last week, Sharon and Vic have been away on yet another adventure, this time to Colombia, so I spent most of the weekend at their place playing with Stella (and Kate, and oh yeah the cat Wanda). My niece says that I bring ‘enrichment” to Stella’s life when her parents are away. I’m sure that’s true, if you count long walks in the ravine, doggie pool-play (if it’s hot, which it always is), and the delivery of treats, in this case a fresh bag of Beggin’ Strips. Stella looks sooo forlorn inside the house. She’s definitely an outdoorsy girl, whereas Kate is decidedly indoorsy, referring to the sun as “the day-star” – and in no way is this complimentary.

On Sunday, I drove over early to gather the dog for a hike in Whitemud Ravine. Even at 9:00 am, it was warm, but once we dived into the woods, the temperature dropped by about five degrees. Stella is so damn happy in the ravine, as am I, although my ears don’t bounce as I trot along the trail (and really, I don’t trot). Nor do I stop to smell everything, but the overall scent is magnificent.

Spot the snout

Finding time for these sorts of walks has been more challenging than I expected. I guess my life is a little more complicated now, and happily so. And even though I live two blocks off the river valley, there is no escaping the traffic, either on Victoria Trail, River Road, the truly awful Groat Bridge construction site, or even down Jasper into Louise McKinney and beyond. This is true also of my commutes. When I lived in Mill Creek, it was fairly easy to avoid major roads on my way home.

After work, once I was in the river valley (usually off Saskatchewan Drive), any number of gorgeous trails could take me home, and depending on the route I chose, would double as an incredibly good workout. I might have to cross traffic on or under the Walterdale Bridge, the Low Level Bridge or 99th Street, but for the most part, my entire commute was in the woods. Now, I live on the other side of the river, and it’s not so easy to find these beautiful, trail-based commutes.

It is better than nothing, however, and even when I lived two blocks off Mill Creek Ravine, my routes were always being diverted by construction projects. Now, it’s even worse, with the new Waterdale Bridge construction site and the Valley Line LRT. So even as I wax poetic about my old routes – those routes, at least for several more years, no longer exist.

Tree falls in the wind, beaver’s delight

Back to Whitemud Ravine. It was a good walk, with a good dog, and we both very much enjoyed it. Stella got to sample the creek water at two different spots, and tangentially, through some slimy stick throwing and Stella’s all-encompassing body shakes, so did I.

Coupla ravens

9:30-11:30/26C

Lunchtime Walk

My fluttery companion

Another hot day, so I went for a walk around the university at noon. I underestimated a: the heat, and b: the amount of time it would take to walk a circuit from Tory, to the Groat Bridge, down River Road, across the LRT Bridge, and back up to Tory. Just a little over an hour, but I left at 12:15, so I was late getting back. And sweating buckets. It started out pleasant enough, but by about half way through, I was getting pretty toasty.

The entire walk, I was surrounded by butterflies. I don’t know what I did to deserve this honour guard, but I was grateful, and told them so. Come to think of it, maybe it was just one butterfly with a lot of determination.

On the Groat Bridge, I spoke to three cyclists about dismounting from their bikes (as they sped by me). A woman turned around and said, laughingly, they were “too lazy” to dismount, as the signage demands. It’s not an option! That makeshift pathway is extremely narrow, very loud, & cannot accommodate their laziness (as I said on Twitter later). Walking across Groat bridge is not pleasant, and I worry about getting schmucked by a bike. Where possible, I try to find an alternate route across the river. I also walked from the train to home after work, so in total about 13,627 steps. But then I bought some chocolate almonds so yeah.

22C (at lunch), 27C later.