Tag Archives: Whitemud Creek Ravine

Really, I’ve Walked

Stella eyeing Nuthatch

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.

I think it was about 22C

Christmas Eve Day

Stella makes her case for a walk

I write this more than a week past my last ‘good’ walk and on my last day of work for the year. It’s Christmas Eve, and while I am here until noon, there is not much going on, so…

And also, this may prove to be my one and only post from December 2018, but I hope not. Surely there will be some walking opportunities over my week off? You see, that’s the difference between Donna pre and post 2011, when I moved over to the south side. Before, I would create the walking opportunities. It was very rare that I didn’t walk five or six times a week, even if it was just the short 25 minute commute home to Mill Creek. Now, I seem to wait for the perfect weather, or I don’t think about it at all. Sigh…

Stella and I in Whitemud Ravine

Funny how habits, ingrained habits, can vanish if the circumstances change. I moved out of my very walkable neighbourhood in 2011 to move in with Sharon’s family for a year, and I stayed for six. And now, back on my own for eight months, I’m still struggling to regain my old habit of making a daily walk my top priority.

In any case, last Friday, December 14, my office gifted us with a day off, a ‘shopping day’, and so while I did hit a mall at some point, I still managed to drive over to my sister’s place to take her dog, Stella, for a walk in a deserted Whitemud Ravine. It was almost creepy how deserted it was, and gloomy. It was book-ended by two beautiful blue sky days, but Friday was overcast and it felt very dark in the woods. Glad I had Stella with me for this reason, and a million more.

We had a good time. I wore my micro-spikes and they were extremely helpful. The trails are quite icy from the warm weather and occasional rain mixed with snow, which seems to be the norm these days. Stella, as usual, wore her naturally spiky nails.

A walk is a walk, though, and we had a good time.

I don’t remember what the temperature was, but not too cold. Probably around -2C.

And then this happened…

I made a Chelsea and Andy in honour of their wedding

This is going to be a photo post, because it’s so nice and pretty today (Sunday) but Friday and Saturday were pure rubbish. Once again, it snowed. It snowed hard. Snowed so hard I had to shovel my car out.

I am dog-sitting Stella for four days because most of my family is in California for my step-niece Chelsea’s wedding. Even though I went for two walks a day with the doggo in the heavy wet snow, which did not make me happy, I will admit to a small frolic in the snow on Saturday. It wasn’t until all the snow melted (6cm plus) on Sunday morning that we went for a proper walk in Whitemud Ravine. Landscape-wise, it was like the snow hadn’t happened at all. Mentally…I’m still scarred.

Snow or no snow, ball is still ball

Whitemud Creek Ravine, the next day

First full day of Autumn in Whitemud Ravine

It was about 6C. 

 

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

Spring Sprung’d

Western Tanager

It’s exploding out there. Not peak pink yet, but days away.

Went for a short walk in Whitemud Ravine via the Aspen Gardens entrance. Funny, Sharon and I were just talking about warblers (she’s taking a class) and I spotted one about ten minutes in. For years, I’ve been seeing yellow birds, but have never been able to capture them on film. I got lucky today.

A Western Tanager!

OK, not a warbler, but I’ve always thought the yellow birds were warblers. It’s far away, so the shot isn’t as clear as I’d like, but I’m very pleased I’ve finally bagged the mighty, tiny and ubiquitous yellow bird, which prior to this has never been named. Hello western tanager!

Many years ago, I very clearly remember seeing a tanager just off the little wooden staircase in Mill Creek, although I didn’t know what it was at the time. Red head, yellow body. I thought someone has lost a tropical bird. At the time I identified it as a scarlet tanager. Who knows if that’s what I saw back then, but this guy for sure is a westie.

Other than that, hot and sunny in the ravine.

23C/1:40 – 2:40 pm.