Tag Archives: River Valley

Holiday Walks

I’ve been off since June 27, a little more than a week. Unlike last year at this time, which was sweltering, May and June have been cool and wet, and July has started off unseasonably cold as well. I don’t want to complain, because my place gets very hot, and rain is always good, buuuut…it’s been tough to plan a lot of outdoor activities. Also, it’s the tail end of worm season, so some of my usual paths are still off limits. Nevertheless, I’ve had a few good walks, and yesterday was one of the best walks in recent memory.

Sharon, Stella and I went to Goldbar Park. I’ve only been there once (with Sharon and Maggie), because it’s on the far east side of Edmonton, but wow, it’s fantastic! It straddles Rundle Park, and it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, but both were spectacular, and the weather was perfect. Blue sky, no rain, and about 15C, which was fine for a morning walk.

We started off by crossing the Ainsworth Dyer footbridge, which is almost exactly like my old love, the Cloverdale pedestrian bridge at Louise McKinney Park (sacrificed for the incoming Valley Line LRT). The difference is that some park vehicles can cross it, but other than that it’s the same wooden and steel expanse, open to the sky, and creaky underfoot. Stella hates bridges where she can see a bit of the water through the slats. It scares her, so she walks very slow and low.

Right off the bat, I spotted a pelican, but I only brought my phone, so no good photos. Lots of swallows too.

Ainsworth Dyer bridge

The park(s) are full of water features. Mini-lakes, streams, sloughs, multiple bridges, and lots of birdlife. Stella helped herself to one duck-filled pond, and was super happy just trotting around the park, wet and sparkly in the sun.

We looped around Rundle and then followed an unpaved path along the river in Goldbar, which is off-leash. I was totally paranoid about Stella wandering off into the river, which is running very high and fast, but a combination of my yelps, Sharon’s calm assertiveness, and eventually, the return of the leash, kept this curious water dog out of the drink.

Fantastic walk, in good company, under beautiful skies.

The previous day (Wednesday) Tom and I walked through Glenora/Ravine Drive in the late afternoon. It too was a great walk, under mottled grey skies and some sun. Such a beautiful neighbourhood, with amazing views of the river valley. We used to walk together more, but it’s fallen off the radar of late. I blame hockey, binge-watching series like, most recently, Deadwood, and rain/cold.

River valley from Glenora

View from Glenora bridge (142 Street)

The night before, Tuesday, I really wanted to go for a walk in the afternoon, but Tom was still asleep (he’s largely nocturnal), and the early evening looked wet, so although we didn’t go together, I threw on my running shoes and headed out around 6:15 pm. Happily, there were no worms hanging from the trees along Victoria Park Road or even River Road, but the bad news was that I was chasing a big, black cloud and I lost. By the time I was mid-way through McKinnon Ravine, the rain started. I got pretty soaked. There was a big rainbow over Groat Road, but it was still raining at that point and I didn’t want to risk ruining my phone. Nearing 124th Street, the rain stopped. I’m glad I went for that walk. It felt like something the old Donna would do. Priorize a walk over just about everything.

Chasing clouds through McKinnon Ravine

 

What is this…warmth?

Emily Murphy Park

March came in like a lamb. A big, gentle, blue-sky lamb. There were a few lionesque days to start, but since then, it’s been above zero every day, and this week, it’s all double digits. I don’t recall what the sidewalks were like in Oliver last year at this time, but this year, holy cow. In the morning they are lakes of ice. In the afternoon, just lakes. I’ve been walking down the street to avoid slips and soakers. Both pairs of boots have cracks, which has become glaringly apparent. Out they go at the end of this season. I expect we will have a few more dumps of snow, but with 14C today, and 17C tomorrow, the snow we have now should have well and truly fucked off by the weekend.

Yesterday (Monday), I walked home for the first time in months. Bad Donna. Not bad because I walked home but bad because it’s way too long! My route was down Emily Murphy Park road, over the Groat Bridge, and then up Victoria Park Road. It was beautiful but I was filthy by the time I got home. The sidewalk down to the river valley was covered in gravel, and even though there were no huge puddles on the road, they were still wet, which meant I was lightly misted with dirty water all the way home. And I was hot. I brought my leggings, but I should have changed into a t-shirt. It’s that time of year when it is hard to know what to wear, although it was wonderful to have running shoes on my feet and not boots. I had a taste of that in Scottsdale, but since my return it’s been all boots all the time.

You’re a dirty, dirty city, Edmonton.

In total, I walked about 14,000 steps, and to make my way home without crowded buses or trains in the equation was simply wonderful. That bus down Jasper is the worst. Now, without the frigid temperatures, I can at least walk home from the train, which is about 14 blocks. I will be glad when the sidewalks are dry, which shouldn’t be too much longer. I will be especially glad when the river valley trails are clear of snow, ice and water, but that will take a month, maybe less…

12C (yesterday)

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!)

It’s snowing

Yeah, it is.

And for the last 24 hours.

Not an actual post (more of a whinefest), as my only walk today will be to and from work, via bus, train and a short two-block scurry to my snow-covered abode. What a kick in the lady business.

We had a warm day on Friday, September 7 and Tom and I went for a wonderful walk after work. Since then, we’ve had cold weather, rain and last night and today, snow. Not a little bit of snow. Full-on cover-everything-green-and-pink-and-alive (or it was) snow. It’s also cold, so I have my winter coat out and my gloves. Yes, the snow will melt, but we’ve lost any semblance of summer. Once the white goes, we will have dead flowers and mid-autumn foliage, even though it’s still summer. I said (almost) more fucks this morning on my way to work than I did the day Trump got elected.

What a weather year. First, our winter goes on and on, and then there is barely a spring before summer hits with 30+ temperatures beginning in May and carrying on through August. On the first night of the Folk Fest this year, it was 34C and smokey (from BC fires) so Tom and I didn’t go. And now, we didn’t even get a chance to enjoy early fall. Yeah, I’m crushed, as are all Edmontonians.

At least we have Trevor Robb, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal who has been entertaining us with his depressing (but hilarious) headlines about our weather this year. This one, today, was particularly good.

Bugger

1C and cloudy

Walterdale Bridge (Junior)

First time to walk under and over the new Walterdale Bridge (Walt Jr.).

It’s really something, and the area around it is gorgeous! For all of the inconveniences – of having that trail cut off for years on both sides of the river; for all the trees that I knew, that were cut down, I would say that this new bridge makes up for it. As a driver, it’s amazing. As a walker, even more so.

The pathway across the bridge is extremely wide, with a wide open view to the sky and the river valley. It’s like a promenade. Below the bridge is a paved pathway leading to the trail that eventually becomes Skunk Hollow, which I will take next week sometime, especially as the new Indigenous Park is scheduled to open at the former Queen Elizabeth Pool area. There is also an unpaved path that is closer to the river and actually leads to the shore. The stairs are nice. The replanted foliage is nice. I give it a 10.

This path from the university to the Walterdale Bridge used to be my main river valley commute. There are trails leading off to other areas, in particular the trail that skirts around Rossdale beside the north side of the river (which is still blocked off), but this was the one that most often got me home.

I missed it.

For the first time in over five years, that trail got me home yesterday, but circuitously. I took a few photos of the bridge and then carried on the far path to Rossdale and then Louise McKinney Park, which is currently cut in half by the Valley Line LRT construction. It was wonderful to walk such familiar paths again. Once I was in McKinney, I took the stairs to downtown and then walked home from there.

Rossdale, headed toward the Low Level Bridge

We’re having a bit of a reprieve from the cool weather that hit us like a bang mid-August. It’s been cool and rainy ever since, with a few sunny days thrown in. Yesterday (Thursday) and today, however, it’s beautiful and warm (21C and 25C, respectively). A smattering of yellow here and there, and a bit of crunch underfoot, but for the most part, visually it still looks like late summer.

North Saskatchewan River from Louise McKinney Park

Red leaves, Louise McKinney Park

There were no posts in August. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, and I had little opportunity or inclination to walk in the woods. My sister Barb spent most of August in ICU, and then passed away on Sunday, September 2. She was plagued by Lupus and latterly, COPD, for decades, and in the last few years her body grew increasingly exhausted (but not her mind!). Her lungs struggled to breath and her kidneys shut down, and while she had been on dialysis for a year that too proved to be a burden on her health (although I’m sure it prolonged it for a little while). In the hospital, she was communicative and even sometimes, quite happy. She had reached the stage of acceptance with her failing health. But the last week, and her last 48 hours, were extremely difficult and sad. She was gone by Saturday morning, but her body continued on until Sunday afternoon.

Walking has helped to shed some of the grief, but as I have learned (unfortunately), it is something that comes and goes on its own capricious schedule. Rest in peace, Barb.

Sizzling Sunday

I like your thinking Stella

This has got to be a record-breaking July in terms of hot, miserable weather. OK, maybe not miserable if you like temperatures upwards of 30C, but definitely miserable if, like me, you’re not into full on – who knew I had pores there – body sweat. At least it’s not horribly dry, thanks to some spectacular thunderstorms.

For the last week, Sharon and Vic have been away on yet another adventure, this time to Colombia, so I spent most of the weekend at their place playing with Stella (and Kate, and oh yeah the cat Wanda). My niece says that I bring ‘enrichment” to Stella’s life when her parents are away. I’m sure that’s true, if you count long walks in the ravine, doggie pool-play (if it’s hot, which it always is), and the delivery of treats, in this case a fresh bag of Beggin’ Strips. Stella looks sooo forlorn inside the house. She’s definitely an outdoorsy girl, whereas Kate is decidedly indoorsy, referring to the sun as “the day-star” – and in no way is this complimentary.

On Sunday, I drove over early to gather the dog for a hike in Whitemud Ravine. Even at 9:00 am, it was warm, but once we dived into the woods, the temperature dropped by about five degrees. Stella is so damn happy in the ravine, as am I, although my ears don’t bounce as I trot along the trail (and really, I don’t trot). Nor do I stop to smell everything, but the overall scent is magnificent.

Spot the snout

Finding time for these sorts of walks has been more challenging than I expected. I guess my life is a little more complicated now, and happily so. And even though I live two blocks off the river valley, there is no escaping the traffic, either on Victoria Trail, River Road, the truly awful Groat Bridge construction site, or even down Jasper into Louise McKinney and beyond. This is true also of my commutes. When I lived in Mill Creek, it was fairly easy to avoid major roads on my way home.

After work, once I was in the river valley (usually off Saskatchewan Drive), any number of gorgeous trails could take me home, and depending on the route I chose, would double as an incredibly good workout. I might have to cross traffic on or under the Walterdale Bridge, the Low Level Bridge or 99th Street, but for the most part, my entire commute was in the woods. Now, I live on the other side of the river, and it’s not so easy to find these beautiful, trail-based commutes.

It is better than nothing, however, and even when I lived two blocks off Mill Creek Ravine, my routes were always being diverted by construction projects. Now, it’s even worse, with the new Waterdale Bridge construction site and the Valley Line LRT. So even as I wax poetic about my old routes – those routes, at least for several more years, no longer exist.

Tree falls in the wind, beaver’s delight

Back to Whitemud Ravine. It was a good walk, with a good dog, and we both very much enjoyed it. Stella got to sample the creek water at two different spots, and tangentially, through some slimy stick throwing and Stella’s all-encompassing body shakes, so did I.

Coupla ravens

9:30-11:30/26C