Tag Archives: Edmonton River Valley

Is that…the sun?

God knows I love a rainy day. If I am not at work, it’s like free time. I don’t feel pressured to do anything but read. And drink coffee. And listen to the lovely sound of raindrops on kittens, or something like that. But this is getting ridiculous. We’ve had so much rain from mid-June to now, mushrooms have become the official plant of Edmonton, and I swear some of them are becoming sentient.

According to local weatherologist Josh Classen this is only the second rainiest period (June 1-July 7) in the recent past at 138 mm of rain, and we’ve had more rain since he made that graphic. However, enough complaining. Yesterday evening (Wednesday), the clouds broke after an exceedingly gloomy day, and the sun and blue sky were like a spa day and jail break rolled into one. It was beautiful.

I drove over to Sharon’s for dinner, and a walk with Stella. We walked along the powerline and then into Whitemud Ravine. The creek, as expected, was very high and fast which made Stella even more nervous about crossing the wooden bridge, but she made it and we had a great time. She looked particularly lovely nosing about in the clover.

The good thing about the rain is the lushness of the foliage, and a reprieve from the always looming drought, but today it’s once again overcast and cool. Looking forward to my day off on Friday which is supposed to be sunny and warm. O Great Mushroom Lord of the Sky, let it be.

Whitemud Creek

Wednesday (19C) 7:20 – 8:15 pm    

Victoria Day in Mill Creek Ravine

It’s probably been six months since I’ve walked through Mill Creek Ravine. There was a time when that would have been unimaginable. That gorgeous green space running through the middle of Edmonton was just a few blocks from where I lived in Strathcona for almost two decades, and for most of that time, I was down in the ravine at least three or four times a week. I know it extremely well, in all seasons, but it’s ‘out of my way’ now in Oliver, so I have to make a special effort to get there, as I did on the Monday of the Victoria Day long weekend.

As per usual in spring, especially this spring, it was a very windy day, but once I was in the ravine, the winds became gentle, and my eyes were able to take in the amazing lime-green landscape before me. It’s about a week away from peak spring, so the leaves are still sticky juveniles and the blossoms have yet to go full petal. The creek itself is low, and in some places, the rock bed is exposed. It can go either way in spring. Sometimes Mill Creek floods, but this year, we’ve had little rain, and the creek is mostly a trickle, especially at the south end.  Still, every single dog I passed was wet, so they were finding a way. Towards the north end, the creek was more robust, and spectacularly rejuvenating to my soul. I posted a video on Instagram, saying that I went to church on Monday morning, and I meant it. Nature is truly my church. No where do I feel more at peace than in the river valley and ravines of this city.

Trestle bridge in Mill Creek Ravine

I am tree root

In June, I will have to find alternative routes for walking, especially on my commutes, as the river valley will be well and truly wormified by the annual green caterpillar infestation. It will definitely be a challenge since the part of the river valley that is most infested lies between my work at the University of Alberta and my home in downtown Edmonton (Oliver). Stupid worms. I’ve been dealing with them since 2003. If it isn’t the constant construction in the river valley interrupting my commutes, it’s those gruesome greenies.

Frog Bog!

Lily of the Valley

But back to Mill Creek. On the upper trail, I walked by the frog bog, and while there was water (yay!) and the bubble and chirp of frogs (double yay!), I didn’t see any of them, nor were they performing that weird, love-sick frog song – just regular, I’m-not-in-the-mood frog songs (to my non-expert in amphibious song-making ear). Also, I could see that the lily-of-the-valley plants were spreading but not yet in bloom. It’s the only place in the city that I’ve ever seen wild lily-of-the-valley.

May Day flowers (I think)

About 16C (in the morning)

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.

Weed Wednesday

Well, I don’t want to overstate it. However, today –  the first day of Canada’s legalization of Cannabis, summer returned. Blue sky, a temperature of 25C!! and some non-cloud clouds here and there as people everywhere seemed to be imbibing. It was a happy day. And a beautiful day. Not that I use, but it seemed to lift the mood of the country, or maybe it was just the weather.

Once the second dump of snow left in early October, it was like it took the rest of the leaves with it. What emerged was no longer peak fall, but full on, leafless fall. It too is beautiful, but like all the seasons this year, it seemed to come all of a sudden.

Walked home from work, down into the woods and then up to the Legislature grounds. Nothing spectacular…I unfortunately had to stay a bit late. But still, it has been a gorgeous October for the most part. About time, after the weather suck that was September.

24.7 (25C!)

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

 

A River Revealed

Monday, April 23

Thursday, April 19

Wednesday, April 4

And suddenly, the river is open! Suddenly, in terms of what amounts to a weekend. Not suddenly, when you realize spring arrived on March 20, notable only for its absence. Still, I am grateful for the beautiful day and weekend we had, which consisted of rain (but not snow) on Saturday and hurricane-force winds (but sunny!) on Sunday. I was going to take Stella for a walk on Sunday, but she was limping and I was working, so we played in the backyard instead.

Today, for my 40 minute walk home – gorgeous, warm and calm. I took the Groat Bridge route to see what this first day of a three-year construction project would like, and it was no problem. The pedestrian path is not yet affected, but it will be. As for the traffic, it’s one lane each way. This won’t be a fun rehabilitation, but hopefully, this route will be accessible in some form for the duration. I will be taking other routes for the rest of summer.

5:05-5:45/13C