This isn’t a walking post, unless you count walking around the garden with a camera. Taking photos of bees, with varying degrees of success, is one of my most favourite things to do.
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.
First walk with Stella at the Terwillegar off leash yesterday (Sunday).
It was awesome. I mean, really wonderful.
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.
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)
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.
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)
I have written extensively in this blog about the south east LRT (now called the Valley Line) expansion into the river valley. I’ve attended public forums, sent letters to the Edmonton Journal, made every effort to seek information and I’ve joined forces with the good, and much more eloquent folks of the Save the Footbridge lobby. I’ve considered all sides and reached a single conclusion:
To quote Groucho Marx, I’m against it.
From an environmental and aesthetic perspective, gouging into our beloved and heavily PR’d river valley makes no sense. In terms of transportation, the use of existing corridors seems both financially responsible and environmentally sound. Everything I’ve read about BRT (or Bus Rapid Transit) suggests, at the very least, we need to take a sober and genuine second look at light rapid transit.
“If you’ve gone part way down the incorrect path, that’s regrettable—but not as regrettable as going all the way down the incorrect path.”
These words were spoken by Mayor Ivor Dent in April of 1972. City council had just voted to put the brakes on an invasive transportation plan which would’ve plowed a freeway through the MacKinnon Ravine (Vue Magazine).
That was then.
There is no energy on the part of City Council to reverse or even reconsider this decision, which appears to have been a fait accompli from the beginning.
With all due respect to the bridge, it’s not the steel and wood structure that I will miss. It’s not a beautiful bridge. It’s utilitarian, and there is at least one other like it in the city (in the Goldbar area). However, the location of this bridge, in the heart of the city and the river valley, makes it irreplaceable. Yes, in four years (probably more, given the transportation department’s ridiculous track record), this area will see a new bridge, maybe even a nice bridge, but it will serve the southeast LRT, not the pedestrians who use it, not the people who live around it, and certainly not the nature that surrounds it.
Gone, the peace of the central river valley.
Gone, the unobstructed view of the river valley, with the vast and quiet expanse of sky above.
Gone, the trees, plants and wildlife that made this area their home, especially the canopy of poplar trees at the south end of the bridge. In the middle of summer, it was like walking into a lush and secret grove. In the winter, like a Gorey landscape.
Gone, the City’s commitment to The Way We Green river valley strategic plan.
Gone, the rose garden in Louise McKinney Park.
Gone, the Botanical Society gardens on the Muttart grounds.
Gone, the best commuter bridge for pedestrians in the city. A meeting place, a viewing place, and an iconic and beautiful Edmonton place.
There’s not much more to say. This bridge and the area around it has given me so much over the last 20+ years. Nothing I could say could ever repay the grace and beauty I’ve received. If it’s possible to call a thing a friend, the Cloverdale pedestrian bridge was a friend.
A list of every blogpost where I’ve mentioned the Cloverdale Bridge by name in Donna’s River Valley (which still does not even come close to capturing all the moments I’ve spent on the bridge).