Tag Archives: Mill Creek

Not My River Valley

Where you at, Cloverdale Footbridge?

For the first time in months – many months – I walked in Mill Creek Ravine (on Monday, after work). I totally neglected it during the winter, and most of autumn. Sorry Mill Creek. You know you are still my favourite ravine.

Hello I love you, Mill Creek Ravine

Since the last time I was down there, many things have changed, and not for the better. First surprise, Wild Earth Bakery is closed, and so is Wild Earth Foods (formerly IGA), my grocery store for two decades. How very sad. I feel like I dodged a bullet by choosing not to move back into that area, but I feel very sorry for those who still live in this beautiful, walkable neighbourhood two blocks from Mill Creek. Although the bakery had many incarnations over the years (it was a pharmacy in 1990 when I moved there, and then a video store), it became a real meeting spot for locals in the ten years of its existence. I have many fond and delicious memories of the trail mix cookies that I would often treat myself to after long walks in Mill Creek. Developers are building a couple of high-rise towers on that lot, so the small businesses are not wanted on that inevitable voyage.

After that shock, I carried on through the familiar houses on 89th, but did not see Godzilla in his pot, where he should be this late in spring. Did his owners move too? Jesus Christ.

Mill Creek Ravine (south) is thankfully the same, as far as I can tell. Still beautiful. Still deeply familiar. Also, very dry. There are lots of tiny green things that will become big green things once we get some more rain. The creek is not too low, so we’re not in a drought, but the dominant colour is still brown.

From the bridge, facing south

From the bridge, facing north

Once I crossed the pedestrian bridge over Connor’s Road, that’s when things started to change BIG TIME.

Lots of trees cut down on both sides of Connor’s Hill, and there is already some sort of structure below the hill beside the Muttart, probably the LRT station. No more running down, or up that hill. And so the only path left is around the ski club, through the Muttart parking lot, and up the pedestrian bridge over 98th. But only so far. The path has been narrowed and curved, so instead of walking into a canopy of green at Henrietta Muir Park and the Cloverdale bridge, it’s a construction site leading commuters back onto 98th.

It was jarring to see the site. I won’t go into what a devastating loss I feel looking over at all that ugliness, but suffice to say it was pretty awful. And in my mind, and many other minds, completely unnecessary. But, it is done.

Instead of a canopy of trees, what now greets pedestrians at the north end of the 98th street footbridge

After that, I dove back into the woods at the River Queen entrance, walking along the lightly verdant trail until I reached the Low Level Bridge. At this point, I had been walking for more than an hour and I was tired, hot and deflated, so I decided to treat myself to my first ever ride on the Funicular.

The Funicular is another thing that didn’t need to happen, but I enjoyed the ride and especially the views. As it only goes half way up (or down, depending on your orientation) I’m not sure it achieves the true accessibility to the river valley trails that was its original purpose. And, the elevator to the funicular wasn’t working, so in the end, I still walked up a bunch of stairs, but only half as many as I would have walked if this fancy escalator didn’t exist.

Walking up to the funicular

Funicularing

I miss my old river valley. Thankfully, it’s a long river, with many points of interest. But this area was really special to me. I knew it well. And now it’s gone.

Another lovely day in Edmonton

 

The colour of early spring

Just returned from a 90 minute walk around Mill Creek and Louise McKinney Park. All the snow is gone from the paths, which means I can retire my hiking boots for another year, or a few weeks depending on the weather. You’re welcome, knees. So nice to get back into my running shoes, although with all that warm sunshine, I was overdressed in my thermal leggings and jacket.

The thick layer of dirty ice along Mill Creek is cracking, revealing a long snail of brown water, though there doesn’t seem to be much of it. Last year, the lower north end of the ravine flooded, which I discovered by accident. Visions of being carried off by a strong current never came to fruition, thankfully, although my feet made a pleasant squelching noise all the way home. The City must regulate water flow in the creek to some degree. Oh, the power they wield!

Saw three butterflies, or one stalker butterfly, of the type I always see around this time of year: deep brown, almost black with a bright orange outline. Not sure what they are, other than very resourceful and perhaps a bit mad. Also, the four geese that live near the Cloverdale foot bridge, all of whom were finally swimming in the water of the North Saskatchewan River now that the ice has retreated to the shores. Just four days ago I spotted them standing on the ice, looking a little dumbstruck. Or maybe just dumb. Who flies back to Edmonton in March? I mean, seriously.

The paths were full of all sorts of two and four-legged creatures, this being Good Friday and therefore a holiday for everyone except the poor folks at the Route 99 Diner where I had brunch (thank you), and at the Wild Earth Bakery where I bought cookies for my post-walk cool down (double thank you.)

Spotted some flies, a beetle, and when I got home, a half-dead bee on my balcony which quickly became half-a-bee once I let my cat out. Sorry bee…but you know…it’s kinda early, and if it hadn’t been my cat, it would have been the cold, or the lack of lovely things to pollinate, or some other form of natural selection. However, as with the butterflies, I admire your initiative.

2:30 pm/13C