Crazy beautiful walk with Sharon and Stella in Whitemud Ravine (south) starting at the Westbrook trail head. As per usual, Stella wouldn’t pose, but also as per usual, affable company.
With lots of fairly steep ice-covered hills, spikes are absolutely necessary, at least for the near future. Even with them, it was a bit iffy, but I stayed upright. Always a good thing.
Even walking from one end of the trail to the other (ending at Rainbow Valley Road) it’s not quite 10,000 steps but they are quality steps, and the rest were easily made up just walking around the grocery store.
Drove over to Whitemud Ravine south (Westbrook trail head) to walk with Sharon, Vic and Stella. It was a frosty, beautiful morning walk under blue skies. It’s hard to stay inside when the sun is shining.
If we couldn’t be together for Christmas, at least we can go for walks. And even though we were outside, because we were walking fairly close to each other, we all wore masks. It gave me a chance to bust out my “Tell Your Dog I Said Hi” mask. A ridiculously true statement. It’s also on my car.
There were lots of folks on the trails, no surprise, and spikes were an absolute necessity since the Whitemud trails have lots of ups and downs. I don’t walk enough on that beloved trail. It’s as familiar to me now, and as resonant with sense memories, as my old favourite Mill Creek Ravine – another neglected trail. There are definitely some spectacular river valley trails where I live now, but I am missing the variety.
It’s hard to believe I haven’t walked in Whitemud Ravine since the winter. I’m not even sure I walked there in the winter! I probably did. I can account for February and March (Scottsdale and then the injury) and April/early May (COVID-19 shutdown) but since mid-May, I’ve really had no excuse. In fact, my walking in the last month or so has really sucked. We’ve had lots of rain, and I’ve been busy at work (including working some weekends) but if walking is not a priority, it’s not going to happen. And it hasn’t been a priority, for some reason. When I have walked it’s been over to Tom’s or with Tom, in and around Glenora. Great walks, but not the woods.
It’s so clear that I feel most at home, most like myself, walking in the ravines and the river valley. There’s just something about the woods. I felt immediately better once Stella and I walked down into that ravine via Westbrook. It was also wonderful to be with her, and to be surrounded by green. Sharon and Vic are away on holidays to BC, so even though Kate walks her, she doesn’t take her into the woods. Stella loves it. Whenever I come over, she noses the door of my car. She knows.
Whitemud Ravine is incredibly lush right now. We’ve had so much rain, everything is moist, overgrown and ridiculously green. This is also my first unpaved trail walk since the injury. Crazy that I haven’t done this yet, but I was worried about tripping on a tree root and hyper-extending my leg again. It was totally fine. I didn’t feel any strain. Stella goes up hills very slowly now, but that’s OK.
One thing that was different was the little construction project about half way through is now completed. Last year, they took out the rickety boardwalk bridge and the very rickety wooden stairs. Somehow, in a feat of wizardry, they put in a bridge that doesn’t seem to have an incline, but still ends up at the top of the hill, next to the little lookout that is always full of seed for birds, squirrels and chipmunks.
Stella and I made it to Rainbow Valley Road and back. It took a little more than an hour, but surprisingly, it only adds up to 7,600 steps. The good thing is that it’s up and down, so a good, occasionally strenuous walk. Stella really, really wanted to go into the creek, but it’s too high and fast right now. Maybe in a couple of weeks. I sprayed her with the hose when we got back.
The walk was really rejuvenating. I’m having a hard time taking care of myself these days. Lots of anxiety, stress, poor sleeping. The ironic thing is that if I was walking more, I probably wouldn’t be experiencing those things, or at least not to the same degree. Not only does walking decrease stress and anxiety, it can also prevent it. At least in my experience. The world is kind of a dumpster fire at the moment, so the least I can I do is take myself for a daily walk. It worked for 20+ years. No reason why it couldn’t work again.
Every day in Scottsdale, Sharon takes Stella to the Civic Centre, a short walk from their place. It’s a beautiful area in Old Town Scottsdale which hosts the public library, a gift shop, lots of greeeeen grass and flowers, and depending on the day, an Indian craft fair (their word, not mine), a farmer’s market, outdoor music concerts, and as far as Stella is concerned, it’s most important feature, fountains. Many fountains. This is Stella’s happy place.
She knows the way, and at least on one occasion, steered me in the right direction when I was inadvertently taking the wrong way, away from her favourite fountain. The pull on her leash increases as she nears the water, waiting to be released into the cool, blue water.
A dog’s joy is so contagious. She just throws herself into the water, chasing the ball, splashing and dog-paddling in the water, spitting the ball on the deck so that we can throw it again. And again.
It’s probably not technically allowed, but who could deny her this happiness? Lots of people stop and laugh. Finally, when it’s over, she emerges, drenched in diamonds, detonating sparkling gems as she shakes it off. In Scottsdale, Stella is always a little damp.
And when not splashing in public fountains or bopping affably along on the trails, Stella sleeps. HARD.
Oh Facebook, robbing this blog of content. Must be the instant gratification of FB. I never know who is reading this blog, if anyone. No matter, it’s kind of a personal journal anyway, with pretty pictures. As always, I want to spread the word of how magnificent the green spaces of our city are, but the blog also serves as a record of my existence, of my adventures small and large, of the dogs in my life, and of the passage of time. That’s enough. But readers are good too.
So here is my walk from Sunday, June 2 with Stella, in a hot and sunny Whitemud Ravine.