Tag Archives: Edmonton


Shoescape from my very first blog post in April, 2010

Well, I finally launched myself out of my sister’s basement (hoisted might be a better word) and moved back into a walkable neighbourhood. It took six years, most of them very happy but largely unwalkable (from a commuter standpoint). I’m not going to belly gaze too much on that one. I already know I’m prone to inertia when it comes to major life changes, and the location in south Edmonton with my family – furry and non-furry alike – was just comfortable enough, and my career, at times, too precarious to make any sudden moves.

And so, six years later…

Instead of moving back into my familiar haunt in Old Strathcona, however, I’ve opted for downtown, in Oliver. It’s even more walkable, but alas, it is not two blocks from my beloved Mill Creek Ravine or ten minutes from my (also beloved) Whitemud Ravine. But, what it lacks in immediate ravine access it more than makes up for in walkability to work, amenities and the river valley. I just moved in last week, so between a spare room half-filled with boxes (mostly books), and building new bookcases for said books, I’ve not had much time to explore the ‘hood, although I am vaguely familiar with it.

I walked home once last week, and it was great. Not through the river valley, but across the High Level Bridge and then along the path that snakes around the edge of downtown above the river. It took about 45 minutes. Eventually, I will take the various river valley routes home, but it’s just been too busy. I don’t feel that relaxed at the moment. Far from it. There’s always a thousand things to do, in the evening, at work, and especially at home. I need a week off to get everything sorted.

It’s strange to be on my own again, which sounds crazy coming from a person who has done just that for most of my adult life. I am only about a 20 minute walk (or five minute drive) from Tom, and my sisters are short(ish) drives away, but when I come home, it’s just me. No Molly. No Maggie, or Stella, or Wanda. I might have to cat up. It’s awfully quiet.

I am looking forward to some actual leisure time that’s not about opening boxes or frowning at the visible consequences of my acquisitive book habits. Wandering in the neighbourhood. Walking instead of driving to stores. Walking to Tom’s. Walking in the river valley. Discovering new routes and pathways. Being in nature every day. Watching the river. Watching the seasons. Ending my work days in the woods, not underground waiting for the train.

Of course, there have been hundreds of walks since I moved in with my sister, and many of them have been in the company of either Maggie, or Stella, which has been a wonderful gift. I’ve learned the intricacies and intimacies of Whitemud Ravine, a total joy. And even with Tom, I’ve “discovered” the beautiful trails in and around Glenora. What I haven’t done, and what I’ve missed terribly, is my commute at the end of the day, on foot. It’s taken a big toll on my life, mentally and physically. Yeah, I periodically managed to find a way, but nothing sustainable over six years.

Oliver is my doorway back into the thing that dramatically changed my life for the better almost 25 years ago. Walking.

Walking home.

Walking with goats

No, I didn’t run across wild goats on a hike. The City of Edmonton has brought in a herd of 200 goats to munch on weeds in city parks. Love the idea! Who doesn’t like a nice goat? Except, of course the Canadian thistle and other “noxious” weeds that are apparently high on the list of goat-approved snacks.

We travelled on a windy Saturday morning to Rundle Park to the Meet & Bleat, and it was surprisingly awesome. I mean, they’re just goats, but the idea is obviously popular with Edmontonians judging by the size of the meandering crowds making their way around the gated area. You’re not supposed to touch the goats, but many were, including myself and my sister Joanne – a devoted petting zoo enthusiast.

Jeanette Hall, informative goat woman and chief shepherd

Jeanette Hall, the goat shepherd(!), was on hand, telling us about the process of getting such a large and unique operation approved, with some additional goat show and tell. This is happy stuff, for sure. Such an environmentally positive step for Edmonton, and an entirely positive experience for Edmontonians. Hopefully the goats are enjoying it too.

Oh hello!

I am woefully unfamiliar with this part of the river valley. Rundle Park, Goldbar Park, all beautiful areas of the city that have largely escaped my footsteps. I should really make an effort. The view was spectacular, and not just because of the goatscapes.

Over that hill, goats!

Yodeling goat.

Later that day, I walked with Tom around Glenora for a little over an hour. A nice, cool evening, but the sun is definitely buggering off earlier. We arrived home in the dusk.

Glenora, later that day

Noon-1:00pm (goats), 7:30-9:00 (Glenora). About 20C

Walking with Stella

Whitemud Creek after 40mm(?) of rain last night

This post, on the first Sunday of my last summer vacation week, is just a bunch of photos from my walks with Stella in Whitemud over the last week.

Torrential storm last night, so the creek was high and the foliage glistening with water droplets. It’s been a wet late July and early August. I am savouring every moment of summer.

Last Thursday evening

Terwillegar with Stella (walk #4)

Terwillegar off-leash

First walk with Stella at the Terwillegar off leash yesterday (Sunday).

It was awesome. I mean, really wonderful.

Stella and ball

It’s been more than a year since we’ve been to a dog park. Maggie loved them, Terwillegar especially, but she was too incapacitated by arthritis to go very far in the last year of her life. The last time we took her, we almost had to carry her back to the car. But she still had fun splashing and yipping in the river! Like Maggie, Stella loves the water.

Although Sharon and Vic have only had Stella for three weeks, she has, thus far, shown surprisingly few issues. She’s not aggressive with other dogs or humans, she mostly comes when she’s called, and she knows how to play. And play. And sleep. Whatever her provenance, I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve abuse. Her only issue is a fear of abandonment, which is entirely understandable, having been abandoned after six years by her previous owners. She stays pretty close to Sharon and is a bit howly around men (sorry Tom), but other than that, she’s a wonderful dog. She doesn’t have the joyfulness of Maggie (or the attachment to me), but maybe that will come.

She also attacks water hoses. But that’s only a problem for the hose. And her teeth.

Stella (with friend) and Sharon

Sharon, Stella and I walked the periphery of the park, stopping many times to throw the ball. Along the way, Stella lost the ball in the bushes or to other dogs, but each time managed to get it back. The dip in the river was fantastic. She made friends with a border collie which had similar colouring to her as well as the same ball. They tag-teamed playing with the ball, or in Stella’s case, losing it in the river. We got it back though, thanks to the collie’s dad. It was so nice to watch a bunch of dogs playing in the river again.

The sky was blue or overcast or rainy or sunny, depending on the minute. But still nice and cool, after a week of hot, dry temperatures.

About 15C/10:00 to 11:00(ish)

A Buttermilk Sky (walk #3)

On Saturday (July 22), Tom and I went for pizza, and then for what turned out to be a most beautiful walk in and around his neighbourhood of Glenora.

We started off by walking to the fountain in Alexander Circle, which in itself, is a sight to behold.

The grand, century-old houses, the fountain and the ubiquitous “gardens in bloom” signs signify that you’ve entered the rarefied world of old money and tasteful garden cherubim.

No hand-crafted Godzilla water features, in other words, like you would see in my beloved Mill Creek neighbourhood.

Definitely NOT in Glenora

Picturesque fountains aside, after reading a few of the inscriptions on the benches, we turned east into the ravine on our way to the river which is just a short 20 minute walk from the top of the hill down a gorgeous, green trail. It runs adjacent to Groat Road, but all you can hear are the birds.

The sky was unbelievable! The clouds had taken on a particularly lovely formation, like puffs of cotton speckled across the blue expanse. We stopped multiple times to look and Tom said the phenomenon is called a Buttermilk Sky (because of the ‘curdled” appearance of the clouds). I had never heard this before, and while it’s unusual for Tom to comment on such things, I took him at his word. Buttermilk Sky. I like it. Although I don’t think of buttermilk as curdled, only something that I would never willingly drink unless its dissolved in pancakes and covered in maple syrup.

At the river, we turned west into MacKinnon Ravine. No relation. It was such a gorgeous evening. We were walking late, about 7:30, so for most of it we were in the cool shade, although the sun was still high(ish) and hot.

After about 15 minutes, the trail turned steeply up over the bridge and back into Glenora. The entire walk was a little more than an hour, and spectacularly beautiful. We will do this one again.

25C/7:30 – 9:00(ish)