Tag Archives: River Valley

Lunchtime Walk

My fluttery companion

Another hot day, so I went for a walk around the university at noon. I underestimated a: the heat, and b: the amount of time it would take to walk a circuit from Tory, to the Groat Bridge, down River Road, across the LRT Bridge, and back up to Tory. Just a little over an hour, but I left at 12:15, so I was late getting back. And sweating buckets. It started out pleasant enough, but by about half way through, I was getting pretty toasty.

The entire walk, I was surrounded by butterflies. I don’t know what I did to deserve this honour guard, but I was grateful, and told them so. Come to think of it, maybe it was just one butterfly with a lot of determination.

On the Groat Bridge, I spoke to three cyclists about dismounting from their bikes (as they sped by me). A woman turned around and said, laughingly, they were “too lazy” to dismount, as the signage demands. It’s not an option! That makeshift pathway is extremely narrow, very loud, & cannot accommodate their laziness (as I said on Twitter later). Walking across Groat bridge is not pleasant, and I worry about getting schmucked by a bike. Where possible, I try to find an alternate route across the river. I also walked from the train to home after work, so in total about 13,627 steps. But then I bought some chocolate almonds so yeah.

22C (at lunch), 27C later.

A month of walks

Up Victoria trail

It’s been a good(ish) month, walking-wise, just haven’t posted anything.

Among the good news – pretty sure the worms/caterpillars are gone. Bad news – though it’s not really bad, just annoying, it’s been stinking hot. I think of June as the worm month, not the who-turned-the-thermostat-up-to-cremate month. Lots of temps close to 30C. I’m not a fan, although I own three fans, all of them operating at hurricane strength.

Enough complaining.

Since I haven’t posted, I’ll begin backwards.

I fell in love with a tree on Saturday. The spruce tree’s bark was gone in one area, exposing its soft underbelly of wood, which was bejeweled with sap.  And I mean bejeweled. It was bleeding tiny amber gems, and in the dappled sunlight, the sparkle was breathtaking. I was there at exactly the right time for the sun to catch this glorious display. I thought, oh here you are. There’s always something unique that reveals itself on my walks. Something amazing or unusual, or extraordinarily beautiful, like this tree. I tried to capture it on film, but failed. I thanked it, and moved on.

For this particular walk, I took the bus down to 100 Street, and then walked down the new staircase to the Low Level Bridge, and then east to the ski hill and over to Mill Creek Ravine.

Along the way, I observed many caterpillar damaged trees, but happily, no dangling worms. The trees will come back. The worms, however, have now transformed into some kind of moth. Not nearly as creepy.

This grove of trees in Henrietta Muir Park, or what’s left of it, has been severely damaged by the leaf roller caterpillar, but it will return to its green self by mid-July. The river valley is full of these seemingly dead trees, most of them Green Ash.

After that, a walk through Skunk Hollow – the trail where I saw the tree (and thousands more), and the beautiful little path that eventually runs parallel to Scona Road. The upper paved part of that trail is now off limits because of severe cracking, but I went beside the gate, as many others have done judging by the well-worn path. I wonder when, or if, the city will fix this? After that, I was so hot and so tired I took the funicular back up to street level.

Generally, I don’t count steps or kms, just time, but that day I clocked in at 15,000+ steps (over about two hours in total). Pretty decent.

The other walks this June have been around the ‘hood and in Whitemud Ravine with Stella. I’ve been trying to avoid the river valley because of the caterpillars, but now that they are gone, I can resume my walks home through the trails.

My beloved Mill Creek

27C (I think…) 

Peak Spring…and Summer?

This week, we hit peak spring, colour-wise. But it’s also been VERY hot, and it will continue to be hot for the next week (the first week of my holidays), including several days at 30C or higher. It’s like we had no spring at all. Just winter, and then summer.

Yesterday (Saturday), Tom and I went for a long walk in the Glenora area at 4:00 pm. Not our usual walking time, but we wanted to beat the mosquitoes, which we totally did. It was a stunningly beautiful walk. Not too warm, with a strong breeze and an absolutely cloudless sky. Gorgeous.

I shall let the photos speak for themselves.

4:00 – 6:00ish/22C

A River Revealed

Monday, April 23

Thursday, April 19

Wednesday, April 4

And suddenly, the river is open! Suddenly, in terms of what amounts to a weekend. Not suddenly, when you realize spring arrived on March 20, notable only for its absence. Still, I am grateful for the beautiful day and weekend we had, which consisted of rain (but not snow) on Saturday and hurricane-force winds (but sunny!) on Sunday. I was going to take Stella for a walk on Sunday, but she was limping and I was working, so we played in the backyard instead.

Today, for my 40 minute walk home – gorgeous, warm and calm. I took the Groat Bridge route to see what this first day of a three-year construction project would like, and it was no problem. The pedestrian path is not yet affected, but it will be. As for the traffic, it’s one lane each way. This won’t be a fun rehabilitation, but hopefully, this route will be accessible in some form for the duration. I will be taking other routes for the rest of summer.

5:05-5:45/13C

 

Smoke on the Water (walks #1 & 2)

The bridge…in Glenora over MacKinnon Ravine.

Once again, I’m behind on my blogposts, but happily, not my walks. Now to write three posts.

Wednesday evening (July 19), I went over to Tom’s for a walk. The sky was filled with smoke and the sun was an orange orb. You could look right at it without setting your retinas on fire. We walked our usual loop around Glenora. Other than the sun and smoke, nothing remarkable.

The next day, Thursday, I spent my lunch hour walking around a smoke-filled river valley. All week we’ve had a smoke advisory because of the forest fires in BC. It’s not as bad as it was in 2010, but it still makes for some ethereal landscapes.

Emily Murphy Road

The hour-long walk was great, although I didn’t bust 10,000 steps. I walked down Saskatchewan Drive to Emily Murphy and then hung a right through the trail along the river. Usually that path is wet and humid but it’s been very dry of late after a wet spring. Even scanning the horizon, the hills and boulevards on the way to Hawrelak are yellow, in contrast with the spruce trees and the green bushes (of various leafage).

Lots of colour in the river valley, as long as you don’t look up

Because I am writing this a few days after the fact, I can’t remember what the temperature was, but the heat was tempered by the sheath of smoke. Probably about 22C.

Bunny!

Related Reading: A Schmoke and a Pancake (2010)

Goodbye Friend

Bridge feet

Tom and DonnaTom and I walked over the Cloverdale footbridge for the last time yesterday. The City is closing it down on Monday; its destruction nigh.

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.

DM on the bridge

DM on the bridge. Vandalism seems trivial for a doomed bridge.

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.

Rose garden on the north end of the bridge two years ago

Rose garden on the north end of the bridge two years ago

Apple tree in the rose garden a few years ago

Apple tree in the rose garden a few years ago

Rose garden now...

Rose garden now…

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.

View from a bridge

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.

south end of bridge

south end of bridge

south east side of the bridge, now

south east end of the bridge, now

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.

Goodbye friend.

Bridge on a blue sky day

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).

River blue...

River blue…

A bridge in winter

A bridge in winter