Edmonton Tourist: Irene Parlby Park


I have decided to avoid the rest of the south river parks until the big festivals and events are over for the summer. The crush of people is more than I am looking for. I am enjoying peace and solitude with my Captain. Work and life has been hectic so quiet walks are what I crave.

The Captain and I headed for one of my favourite neighborhoods, Rossdale. I’m totally open to moving there because one of the city’s best kept secrets is Irene Parlby Park. She was one of the Famous 5. The group of women who fought to make women people under the law 100 years ago. 

I have run through this park many times, driving and parking was complicated. There was a ball game at Telus field so restricted parking was in effect. I found a 2 hour spot over by Diamond Park.


We walked about 500 meters south to reach the park.


We walked under James MacDonald Bridge to reach the green space I was looking for. 


It is a non traditional River valley park. There are no picnic spots or fire pits. However, there are lovely small gardens and bench spots for sitting.


Captain and l walked the path not taken along the river first with the intent to double back on the paved multi-use path.

With the river to our left we could see Nellie McClung and Queen Elziabeth Parks across the water.


I was on the lookout for Saskatoon berries but only found Mountain Ash in full berry.


We came to a fallen log that was blocking out path. A makeshift bridge was created to traverse it. It took a while to convince Cap he could make the jump.


We traveled further down the path. It felt like wilderness but homes and the formal path were only yards away.


The main jogging loop has been closed for a few years while the Walterdale replacement bridge goes up. A permanent gate blocks access.


We turned west out of the park to walk the residential block.


This led to the next park entrance and a lovely playground. 


We came to a lovely statue in the middle of a formal garden which turned out to be a Pokéstop. 


We continued north back towards the end of the park and found ourselves sharing the path with other cyclists, skaters and runners.


Such a lovely spot in the middle of the city, yet it was quiet and felt like the middle of nowhere. I’m looking forward to the trails opening up to reach Walterdale. I’ll be back, and often.

Edmonton Tourist: Whitemud Park

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I am fortunate enough to know this city very well. I explore it enough that I should have a pretty good idea what is what when it comes to the River Valley. Ask me about restaurants, bars and shops. I haven’t got a clue. But the valley? I know my way around.

This week was a very difficult week for me. Emily Murphy or Hawrelak Parks were supposed to be next, but the last thing I wanted was to be amongst the throngs of people utilizing the parks. I wanted peace and quiet or at the very least, I did not want to see people I knew and make small talk or chit chat. SO I packed up my pup and we headed towards the Whitemud Reserve located south of Whitemud park. It is a lovely unpaved path that leads to Rainbow Valley, yes it is a pretty as it sounds.

We hit the park in-between rain storms. The park itself was empty and there was a wedding over at the Savage Centre, but other than the odd hardy picnicker, Cap and I were on our own. Exactly what I was looking for.

The grass was wet but fresh. There was the smell of campfire in the air. The last time my family had a picnic here I was just a kid and the park wasn’t developed as nicely as it is now. I remember watching engineering students traverse of the creek, making a bridge for one of their projects. When they fell to the water below, it was knee deep and mostly mud.

We are on the cusp of berry season. The Choke Cherries were hanging in green bunches, the High Bush Cranberries had finished blooming and the Saskatoons were not yet ripe, but the clover was abundant and Cap decided to munch on some on our journey to the path that would lead us to the creek.

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The path took us to the wide open picnic site where one family had strung a tarp and were keeping the campfire lit. It made me think of all the reasons I love camping in the rain, then I quickly remembered all the reasons I don’t like camping in the rain. Walks were enough.

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We worked our way to Whitemud Creek and walked North towards the bridge.

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This was the spot I remembered sitting as a kid watching the engineering students before the bridge was built.

I love this section of the park. I often map out a great run route that can either be a quick little 5k or as much as a 16k depending on my mood. I avoided the running trails today knowing everyone was training for the upcoming Edmonton Marathon and they were all out for their 16k or 32k long runs today. So after I said hello to the North Saskatchewan River, I turned south and headed towards the Whitemud Nature Reserve.

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The south path takes you up the the major corner of Fox Drive (Hi Charlotte!) and Whitemud Freeway. This by no means is a peacefully quiet park. There is a lot of noise from the freeway, but visually you would think you were in the middle of nowhere.

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Before I went onto the path to the reserve, I looked at the flags that were celebrating the Canadian Olympic Trials happening this weekend at Foote Field. Most of Edmonton was there for that event. Pretty exiting seeing Olympic Champions in the making.

IMG_3637Down the path I went and noticed it might be fun to do a bit of bridge climbing but I think I was not the only one who thought of that.

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Now I was on reserve land, it boarders the Fox Farm to the west.

All along the path were naturalist signs highlighting berries and other plants that grow here in the valley. Information I already knew from my Grandfather years before, only if he forgot the name he would make one up, so my information was sketchy at best until I took my Anthropology: Comparative Medicine classes in University.

We came to a fork in the road that suggested the path was unsafe from all the water we had this year.

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So we crossed the creek again, this time heading East.

We walked past Fox Stairs and the Savage Centre heading back towards Whitemud Park. A storm was on its way and by the humidity in the air and how quickly my hair was curling, I knew a lot of water was going to drop from the sky.

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We made it back to the car just in time. I watered Cap in the car instead of outside as usual.

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I got in myself and the sky opened up.

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The quiet oneness with my pup was just what I needed. This is one of the best reasons to live here in Edmonton. A major urban centre and in 20 minutes from my home I can be in the middle of the wilderness.

 

Edmonton Tourist: Kinsmen Park

Hot day in the city and everyone thought it was a great idea to head to the valley. My first thought was to head to Emily Murphy and walk back along the river to Kinsmen but there was no parking to be found. In fact there was huge lines of traffic trying to enter the 3 major parks that surround groat bridge. So Cap and I headed east to Kinsmen to try our luck.

  
Parking was not much better but I did find a space in front of the John Walter Museum. Walter owned a brick manufacturing company and the ferry that transported people a horses across the river from Strathcona to Edmonton. Today was the 160- something birthday of Ann Walter so the museum was serving up tea and scones to celebrate!
   
   
Cap and I passed. He was more interested in finding chickens. We could hear them in the coop but I kept him away because his hunting instincts kick in and I was not up for a wrestling match against my pup and his favourite meal. So we walked along the path looking at the homestead of Walter and his two homes there after.

   
   
   
    
 
We past many actors who were polite and friendly. Many people were drinking tea on this hot day.

We made our way towards the Highlevel Bridge and walked around Husky House (the Husky Football Club) and the ball diamonds. The last time I was here was for the Run for Pie which was delicious. 

   
 
My kids always called this the Blue Park. Apparently this was because of a big blue slide. We used to come here for Friday Night Picnics, play at the “Blue Park” then head to the castle to swim before bed. 

The park has been completely refurbished since my adult children were young. I had a fleeting wish I had grandchildren to bring here. It’s now Kinpark and is bear themed. It’s reminiscent of Goldbar’s Moose Meadow complete with No Moose Allowed signs.

   
    
    
    
    

Cap pulled me along to Queen Elizabeth Pool. It used to be up the hill at Queen E Park but this is a perfect location for an outdoor pool.

   
    
   
It is located across from the Kinsmen Recreation Centre that holds a special place in heart. Lots of amazing swim memories here. 

  
As Cap and I walked  away, we saw the Street Car glide across the Highlevel Bridge. Apparently it is the highest crossing in western Canada but I didn’t fact check. 

   
    
 We also found the Alberta Legislative Building or Castle as my kids liked to call it, peeking out from across the river. 

 
As Cap and I made our way back to the Car, we noticed how the new Walterdale Bridge will dominate the skyline in the valley. I quite like it.  

 
This is still one of the best multi-use parks in the city. Come give it a visit! Next week is Canada Day, so I think I’ll cross the river and head to the ledge for the festivities and check out that park.

  

Edmonton Tourist Globe Trotter

I have spent the last 2 days, on and off, watching movies. I do not do that very often. Each movie had a different theme and message but none of those things stuff with me, it was the visuals. It was the locations. I heard myself say “I have been there.”

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I have had the good fortune to have parents who taught me the experience is more important than stuff. I had to go through a phase of needing stuff but thankfully I outgrew that. Give me a plane ticket or a Tiffany diamond to choose from and believe it or not, I would take the plane ticket every time.

I have been places that gave me a sense of DejaVu, The Cliffs of Moher. I felt like I had been there before or lived there. Then there are places that frightened me beyond words like the strange FanTan Alley in Victoria. I have no reason to fear it but please never make me go there again. I have been as Far North as the Canadian Arctic and as far south as dipping my toes in the Southern Ocean of Australia. I have wandered around Europe and explored kookie touristy places in Nevada. I still do not feel like I have seen enough.

There are places I still want to visit, like St. Barts or New York or Prince Edward Island. There I places I never want to see, India, Pakistan or Sauria Arabia. I’d like to visit Copenhagen or Prague but I’ll pass on a trip to Seul. Places I have been to and would love to spend an entire summer would be Monterey, London, Vancouver, Inverness or Niece. Places that make me think one and done are Yellowknife, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Tacoma. I am torn at the thought of being given an opportunity to travel anywhere in the world and how where would I go? Someplace new or someplace that deserves more time exploring? How do you decide the place to visit? I have never been that girl who wishes to spend my holiday staying with people I know. I’d rather dip my toe in all the oceans and have someone with me who wants to experience new things than the comfort of same.

This concept has me planning my next vacation to the West Coast of Canada. Sure I have been there before but I now have the means to explore it without someone telling me what I need to do and how best I can accomplish it. That will also be next year’s trip. I am taking my vacation to a city I have dreamed of going to forever. Your trip will not be mine because we do not share the same interests. I have a list that I will check off. Following that trip? I think I will explore the East Coast of Canada and see an Iceberg for the first time.

Where do you love to go?

 

Acoustic Neuroma Chronicles: The Troll

My thoughts have been traveling to new possibilities lately. I have finally let go of who I thought I might be or what I thought my life might look like. Let me tell you, that is not easy. The Universe has been giving me opportunities to learn about Shoulds.

With physical limitations and the acceptance that my life is just going to be different, I realized it doesn’t have to be bad. I thought I was headed down a certain path and I came to a bridge that spanned a deep and dark stream.

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Under that bridge was a Troll who had me by the ankle. I reached over to the branch of a very large tree that I thought was going to rescue me, save me and keep me on the path I was headed.

The struggle was long and hard and I fought the valiant fight. But I became weak and tired and couldn’t hang on any more. I cried, struggled and finally the branch slipped from my grasp. The branch did not care about my struggles, the branch was perfectly happy just standing there watching, it may have even mocked my pain a bit because it could not relate. It was a branch, it was not me.

As I tumbled into the water below I feared the Troll. I could see the branch snap back into place and turned away from me. I flailed around the deep dark water in the shadow of the bridge and the branch of the very large tree. As I called to the branch for help, it ignored my pleas. Of course it did. It was a branch, why was I expecting it to be something it was not? I had to accept it for what it was and I mourned the loss of the safety of the branch.

I realized I had stopped flailing about in the water and I had begun what was instinctual. I began to tread water. The current slowly pulled me away from the shadow of the great tree. I could no longer see the branch as an individual but saw the tree as a whole. It was dying. Witches Broom had taken root on another branch and was taking its life away as parasites do.

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It left gnarled branches and twigs that twist and bend in the wind. I felt a sting on my hand, the branch had left a deep cut from my struggles. I knew it would leave a scar.  I realized the branch could not have possibly saved me because it was doing the best it could to survive. As the current continue to pull me away. I noticed the branch I had been pulling on crack in the wind. It was not as strong as I had thought. I too had left a mark and new we were both on separate paths.

As the current pulled me further down stream it turned me towards the opposite bank. I saw the Troll standing on the shore.I felt fear. As the water pulled me closer, I saw it was a trick of light that made the troll appear as a hideous and fearful creature. While the Troll was deformed it had gentle eyes as they peered into mine.

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I could see compassion in the face of the troll. The kept pace with me as I floated farther down stream. I was no longer feeling fear but I was unaware of what this emotion was.

The stream led me to the elbow of the river. The bend was filled with rocks that created rapids. I felt fear again.

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I looked over to the Troll who was now my only hope. I reached for her hand and she did not reach back. She tilted her head and sat on the ground lifting her legs. She was showing me how to navigate. I turned to face the rapids and I lifted my legs to a sitting position. Memories flooded back. I remembered how to do this, I remembered how to steer with my legs to navigate safely around the rocks and while I was slightly injured with bumps and scrapes, I got through fine.

I looked over at the Troll who was still keeping pace with me and I smiled and waved. The Troll smiled back. I could see she was relived I made it through okay.

As the current pulled me further down stream, I could see birds overhead.

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They dropped stones while circling above. They were trying to hit me, I had no idea why. I covered my arms over my head to protect myself and I looked over to the Troll. The Troll tilted her head once again and made movements with her arms. I realized she wanted me to swim. I had forgotten I knew how. I rolled over to my belly and swam close to shore under the protective cover of the branches. The birds lost sight of me and left.

I turned over and floated once again and waved my hand in thanks to the Troll. The Troll smiled.

I looked to the sky and noticed it was not dark like it was when I was on the bridge. I looked to my right and saw sunshine dappled through the trees. When I was on the bridge I saw shadows over take the sunshine. I closed my eyes for a moment to absorb this feeling at I couldn’t identify. All I knew was I didn’t have the same feeling of fear and anxiety as I did when I was on the bridge.

The sound of the stream became louder, in increased in decibels and became a roar. My eyes flew open and I saw a flash of fear in the Trolls eyes. She ran ahead and climbed up on a fallen tree that spanned the width of the stream. She reached her outstretched hand before me and grasped mine as I floated beneath her. In a single motion, she pulled me to the safety of the log.

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She sat beside me breathing heavily with relief. She hugged me gently and lifted me off my feet in a warm embrace. Carefully she put me down on the mossy covered log and showed me what she had rescued me from.

The stream had taken me past the bridge where I had started. I could see the bridge across the meadow and it was leading into darkness.

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The branch that I had wanted to save me was gone and broken with some pieces on the rocks below. The Witches Broom Parasite had destroyed the branch and the bridge was crumbling into the darkness of the forest. The log I was on had saved me from the waterfall below and I watched as pieces of the branch tumbled over the side never to be seen again.

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I was saved in a manner that I had not expected. I trusted where I was told to fear.

The Troll lead me across the log until I was safely on solid ground. She smiled at me and hugged me once more. Then she let me walk forward into the sunshine. I then recognized this new feeling. It was peace and I knew everything would be okay.

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