Smoke Show

MacKinnon Ravine, dry and smoky

It’s been exceptionally smoky (BC forest fires) these last few days, but to put a positive spin on it, if there is one, the temperature has dropped drastically. What a summer. First it’s too damn hot, now it’s too damn smoky. I think it was smokier in 2010 but yesterday (July 18) the air index was 10+ (high risk) so Tom and I did not walk. Neither one of us has any lung issues, but just to be safe. Also, the air smells gross. Coming home from a restaurant (yay!) around 7 pm, it was like a cold autumn evening (about 13C). Definitely not shorts weather, I discovered…

We did walk July 16 and 17 in the mornings, around 6:30 am. Hard to know what to be more distressed about: the smoke or the drought, although they are related. Always good to get out and walk though, and as mentioned, the temperature was about 17C, so it was very pleasant.

Drought (again)

Very. According to Josh Klassen (CTV Edmonton): “The June/July drought in Edmonton is unprecedented in the past 30 years. Just 29 mm of precipitation at the Blatchford weather station this year. Average is 171 mm. The only other years with less than 100 mm are 2002, 2015 & 1992. We’re at HALF of the previous 30yr record low.” Yikes.

AM Walks

Delphiniums are simply everywhere!

To beat the heat, back to morning walks with Tom. Early morning walks, like 6:00 am. I don’t even shower. Out of bed, drive over, start walking. It makes the after-walk shower and breakfast truly righteous.

Getting a little dry out there…

Started out foggy and cool (12C), ended sunny and warm (19C), with a hot afternoon on the way. One of the other benefits of walking early is that I can take photos of people’s gardens without them knowing. About 11,799 steps.

Tiger lily
Day lily

We Are in Hell

The morning river, looking east.

I pretty much hate everything about this heat wave, and heat in general. Yesterday (Saturday) was 31C and Wednesday could be 40C, which would be a historical high. In my opinion, anything over 22C is excessive, and the sun (which I normally love) streams though my south and especially west windows until 10 pm. The blinds and fans only go so far.

On the bright side however, Tom and I have been heading out in the early mornings for our walk (today, 6:30 a.m.). The temperature is in the high teens but feels cool and beautiful. Hardly any people, mostly shade, and the cool shower after I’ve come back home feels absolutely gorgeous.

The morning river, looking west. So quiet.

One disturbing observation, however. In Glenora south (across 102 Ave), there are worms hanging from some of the trees. I hadn’t noticed that the Elms of Glenora eventually give way to Ash trees, and I fear these might be the dreaded leafroller caterpillars that I’ve written about ad nauseum in previous posts. Up until this year (as far as I know), they’ve only infested Rossdale and the lower river valley near the University of Alberta. Could they be up here now, or is this some other vile pest? In either case, we are able to mostly avoid them by walking down the middle of the street, but that first early morning walk, I had to brush a few off Tom. Ugh.

A hot air balloon waits….
Free at last! The hot air balloon aloft, and Tom (Ravine Drive)

Addendum to this post: the record breaking heat continues. As of Monday, we stopped walking in the mornings. It’s no longer cooling off at night, so it’s already too hot to walk (especially after an uncomfortable sleep). Hopefully we can return to our morning walks this weekend!

From Mike Sobel (Global Edmonton)
I thought it was interesting that the graffiti artist took the time to add hair sprouting from the arms and legs

Baby Magpies

And now a word about magpies. This is not a walking post, but I thought I would share some of the photos of the young magpies who are all over the city right now. As my favourite bird, I figured it was only fitting that I celebrate the continuation of their species, helped in no small part by the peanuts and sunflower seeds I provide them year round, as does my family. Carry on dudes and dudettes.

A very young magpie

That’s Not a Dog

Hey buddy, turn around.

As we were walking in MacKinnon Ravine Wednesday around 1 p.m., a coyote came padding up the trail, like a fluffy medium sized dog. This ravine is the likeliest place to spot these guys, and the second coyote ‘encounter’ we’ve had this year. Always happy to see them, but I would prefer that it wasn’t this close, and if it must be this close, that I have my camera ready.

By the time I got my phone out, he had jumped into the bushes so I only got a few shadowy photos. I kept looking back, but he was gone.

An empty lot along Ravine Drive
Poplar fuzz galore right now
Not sure what this is, but it’s purty

About 22C. 13,525 steps.