Tag Archives: Edmonton

New Walk

Emily Murphy

These photos were taken on two separate days, one bluer than the other. My iPhone camera died for some inexplicable reason half way through my first official river valley walk home in the new ‘hood last week. I think it was just too damn cold. Today, I walked the same route and my camera was warm and compliant.

A frozen April river

I have to say, it’s not a great commute but it’s a commute, on foot, and that’s what matters. The problem is that it’s mostly in traffic. Down Saskatchewan Drive, over the Groat Bridge, up Victoria trail and then a set of stairs to 121st. It takes 40 minutes and less than 10,000 steps. This, I think, will be a walk I take in the winter and when I need a good, but not a great walk home. Once the river valley trails melt, I’ll take the woods. I also need a new pair of running shoes. I used a really old pair today because I threw out my shoes from two years ago that developed toe holes and were basically unwearable (or so my toes tell me). I usually try to get a new pair of running shoes every year, but I just didn’t last year.

I am not sure I feel settled. I haven’t landed yet in my new place, if that makes any sense. It feels like a home, and a nice home, but not my home. I don’t know why. I think I need to walk around more, get acquainted with the access points to the river valley. I kinda know them, but further east (Strathcona) and further west (in Glenora), not Oliver. I think it will come. I hope it will come.

A view from Oliver

The weather in April and most of March has been horrendous. Until today. It was above zero for the first time since the beginning of the month. I haven’t walked much, or really, at all. This weekend, I think the book dust from the boxes set off some sort of reaction and I was woozy all day Sunday. I walked to the grocery store, and the blue sky and warmth-averse sunshine felt great, but I had to make it short. This is worrisome. Am I just dead dog tired of packing and unpacking boxes (yes); am I really allergic to dust (probably not); or am I having some sort of psychological reaction to my acquisitive book habits that seem less of a good thing now that I’m having to sort, shelve, recycle and possibly re-home them? I feel overwhelmed, and strangely antagonistic to my horde.

But I digress.

I feel much better today. I hope this is the beginning of…or the return of…a new walking phase in my life. And possibly fewer books.

5C/4:53-5:40ish

Oliver!

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)