Midwinter Whitemud Creek

Although the days are short and cold in Alberta’s midwinter, the clear skies and fresh snow can offer up brilliant daytime scenery to invigorate the senses.

Our hike in Whitemud Creek between Snow Valley and John Janzen Nature Centre gave us just that.

Whitemud Creek

snow fence Whitemud CreekA thick layer of snow had fallen just two days before, burying once and for all the ice that we had been struggling on for weeks.

The crisp temperature kept the snow white and firm, making it the perfect backdrop to display long sharp shadows, a feature of our northerly location.

On the path, we ran into a person who pointed us to a pair of owls nesting in a hollow in the tree above us. That’s right!—a nest of eggs in January. Just above our heads.

Birdhouse Whitemud Creek
Birdhouse on the ground?

Whitemud Creek

Total hike including the loop around Fort Edmonton was 11 km. You can see more pictures on Flickr.
Whitemud Creek bridge

Kennedale Ravine to Rundle Park

It was the first hike of the year that we didn’t have to cancel due to cold weather. The warm spell was ending, but as the temperature plummeted hour by hour, the clouds cleared away and we were compensated with full sun.

The 12 of us hiked the total 15 km.

Half our journey was in the Kennedale Ravine, which has a pleasantly wide path with 10 bridges crossing a good-size creek.

 

 

 

 

Before leaving Hermitage Park, we walked under the train trestle, which was built in 1908.

The trail continued in to Rundle Park but we turned at the pedestrian bridge to go into the Strathcona Science Park for lunch at the Sunridge Ski Chalet.Before we left the bridge, we looked down below at the river’s edge where there is a interesting jam of  fallen trees. With their weathered grey trunks, these trees look like they’ve been there for years.

In all, it was a refreshing and invigorating day spent with great company.

A gripping story

Icy path We all knew what the joggers were thinking even before they opened their mouths.

As they ran toward us, they would look at our boots, then look up and nod with relief: “Good, you have grips.”

Winter grips and where to buy them was the focus of conversation for the first hour of the hike. From a $6 bargain at Princess Auto to $50 or more for high end at Campers Village, there’s a version for everyone.

The trail was a thick sheet of ice. But we were like penguins—slow and steady.

Once we crossed the river to the north side, there was less ice, and what was there was softening from the warming temperature.

Edmonton funicularThen the eleven of us played tourist. We took the new funicular up to the foot of the McDonald Hotel. We walked through the Rossdale flats to the Legislature for lunch.

Finally, we returned to the south side over the LRT footbridge.

All together with the funicular side trip, the hike was a fun 10 km.

More pictures on Flickr.