Tag Archives: winter

A Blue Sky Start to 2020

The not-quite-finished Ice Castle in Hawrelak Park

The week between Christmas and New Years is typically cold as balls, but this year, it was mild. Today, the sky was blue and the temperature reached plus 4! However, as I write this (Jan 2), Facebook has reminded me that last year it was 8C, a record breaking day for Edmonton. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and sunny.

Tom and I walked to Hawrelak Park from my place. Round trip it ended up at 13,633 steps. My feet were very tired/sore and I blame my newish boots. I’ve certainly had better over the years.

Hawrelak lake, not completely iced over
The North Saskatchewan River from the Hawrelak/Laurier Park footbridge

There were many, many people at Hawrelak. It was teeming with winter enjoyists skating at the newly created oval near the lake (which has not completely frozen over), trekking the trails, and even barbecuing. We wandered by the ice castle, and though it was spectacular it is not yet finished. There was an ice carver on the top, working in a t-shirt against the blue sky. Not something you see everyday.

Dude in t-shirt working on the ice castle

It seemed a little quiet in the woods. I have read that there are far fewer songbirds now, and that may account for the quiet canopy. On the other hand, it may also have something to do with the time of day (we left around 1 pm). Still, there were chirping chickadees and the odd woodpecker. I tipped one of the many bird feeders over (slightly) to get some seed, and eventually a chickadee landed on my outstretched hand. I always feel so honoured when a bird eats out of my hand, even if I had to borrow the seed. Must remember to pack some for my next walk in the woods.

Tom contemplating life, the universe and everything. Also, the Oilers.

It’s easy to get lulled into a state of comfortable amnesia by the relatively mild December and early January we are having, but the weather wasn’t dissimilar from last year and we still got nailed in February. Fingers crossed. I am back at work as of today, and this morning it was 2C but now it’s -1C and rather blowy. Blue sky though!

Sunrise: 8:50 am/Sunset: 4:26 pm

The Coldest Day in a Decade

Sunny and deadly! The view outside my office in Humanities

It was -33C this morning when I went to work, the coldest day in Edmonton in a decade. Just three blocks to the bus, but that was enough. I had double socks, double mitts, two sweaters, plus leggings under pants. And then a snood for my neck, a hood (pulled tight) over my head, and a scarf wrapped around the whole mess. I could still feel the frigid air slice through every layer like a hot knife through butter, but it was OK for the short walk.

I hate this. The weather has been below -25C since Thursday last week (it’s now Tuesday). The previous weekend, it was 7C above! And we’ve had about 20 cm of snow.

Snow. Every. Dammed. Day.

It used to be that if the temperature was this cold, it would be under blue, snowless skies, but today is the first day we’ve seen the sun. It’s been truly miserable. I haven’t seen Tom for days. Usually we get together on Friday and the weekend, but neither one of us budged from our respective homes.

Outside my office in Humanities around 8:30 am

And, my furnace broke on Saturday. I decided to take public transit to my hair appointment that morning because I didn’t want to drive on the snow-covered streets, and when I got home there was a power failure just as I was walking through the door. The power was out for two hours in Oliver and surrounding area, and it got really cold in my place. When the power was restored, the furnace fan came back on but not the furnace. It took until Monday morning to identify and resolve it, and I’m not even sure if it is resolved. They did replace a broken part (the heat pump with the little propeller thingy which in the old pump had totally disappeared), but it’s so cold outside, and my windows are so big and plentiful and single-paned, it’s just not possible to keep the temperature up. That’s my theory anyway. This is the first February in my Oliver home, and the first real cold snap, so it’s all new.

So other than work, I’ve done nothing, and seen no one. It’s very isolating. I miss Tom. I miss not being afraid of my furnace. I miss driving. I miss being truly warm in my apartment. At least I have a roof over my head and multiple duvets.

The good news is that I am going to Scottsdale on Friday. I can’t believe how lucky I am. Sharon will be down there with Stella for the month, Joanne is there right now with Steve, my cousins Cathy and Larry will be there for a few days, and when Joanne and I leave, Vic will join his wife and dog for another week. That condo of theirs has been a real gift. This is the first time I’ve gone for a whole week. Last time I went, in February 2017, we packed a lot in in four days. One thing is for sure, it won’t be -33C! And I will be walking. A LOT.

Outside the corner office in Humanities, around 8 am.

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.