Memories and Reflections: Recap of the 2017 AGM

“A super fine AGM!”

“An enjoyable evening!”

“I left with a greater appreciation of the ‘diamond’ that we have the privilege of enjoying, maintaining, and sharing.”

Lifetime Membership, Waskahegan Trail AssociationThose were some of the comments made after Friday night’s Annual General Meeting at the Central Lions Recreation Centre in Edmonton.

The evening began with the business meeting and election of the board. We had great joy in presenting a Lifetime Membership to Louise Davis, a key figure in leading the organization to maturity. You’ll find the tribute to Louise in the AGM 2017 Reports.

Following the meeting, we settled in to listen to the panel of long-standing members—David Dorward (whose father Fred was responsible for the vision of the Trail), Gene Miskiw, Peter Verhaar, Oscar Zawalsky, Rob Faulds, Louise Davis, and David Mutch. As Stan Skirrow was unable to attend, we were grateful that David had visited him that day and could bring his comments.

Waskahegan Trail Association panel of longtime members

The panel entertained us by recounting many moments that were amusing, joyous, thought-provoking, or scary, such as:

  • Special moments in the early days of the trail from a boy’s perspective, as captured in a diary.
  • A hair-raising story of being stuck in ice and snow.
  • The challenge of bringing the organization into the age of the Internet.
  • The astonishing meeting with an associate minister of the Province, in which the government backed down from an onerous requirement to survey the trail.
  • How we managed to get permissions from landowners in the first place, and what a landowner’s greatest fear was in the early days (it was fire).

We also got an appreciation of the great contributors to the Trail. Fred Dorward had the vision, and was able to get organizations and governments on board, including the avid support of the Lieutenant Governor Grant MacEwan. But it was Stan Skirrow who was instrumental in persuading landowners to go along.

The panel also shared their wisdom on volunteerism…and left us feeling inspired.

Following the panel, Gene Miskiw treated us to the fascinating story of the building of Low’s bridge on the Battle River. This amazing accomplishment, which involved only donated materials and volunteers, is captured in Gene’s photos which you can view in a collection of albums on Flickr.


Patricia Ravine to Fort Edmonton Hike

How refreshing it was to get outside after the cruel cold snap of early March.

Ten of us started out from the little shopping centre in Westridge and headed straight into the ravine. After a short walk through neighborhoods, we descended into the river valley. We crossed the river on the Fort Edmonton footbridge, and saw just below us a patch of open water occupied by ducks.

(By the way, have you noticed the geese are back?)

As we neared Fort Edmonton, David caught up to us and made it eleven.

Alfred Savage CentreWe had our lunch at Edmonton’s best-kept-secret rest stop—the Alfred Savage Centre. Always clean and bright and comfortable for hikers.

On our return, we left the river valley by taking those 10200-step stairs that we all love to grumble about. But I’ll bet the climb is no higher than Schnee Hill or Rest and Be Thankful (which is coming up on April 23!).

View our pictures on Flickr
2017-03-12 Hike: Patricia Ravine to Fort Edmonton

North Saskatchewan River

Hike from Whitemud to Hawrelak Park

Fifteen of us descended on Whitemud Park to take in the hike to Hawrelak Park. It was a perfect day to be out in the suddenly warm temperatures and enjoying what should be the final weeks of winter.

We started out by heading west to cross the river on the Quesnel bridge. It was here that we saw the earliest sign of spring—a ribbon of open water on the North Saskatchewan River. Although the weather was mild, the ground still had a good cover of packed snow. That made it very easy for walking except on the very steepest of slopes.North Saskatchewan River

We even spotted a few ravens along the way to the footbridge.

At Hawrelak Park, the Silver Skate Festival was in full swing. We ate our lunch at the main pavilion, and noted the synchronized skating teams rehearsing their moves on the patio.

After lunch, we walked up to the ice castle, then turned back and watched the ice sculpturers busy at their work. This year’s theme appears to be Canada’s 150th birthday. Creations included monuments to the voyageurs and the Last Spike.

Hawrelak Park ice castle

As we made our way back along the south bank of the river, the sky brightened.

In total, we walked 9.5 km.

Thanks to everybody for coming out and making it such a great day.

Check out our pictures on Flickr

2017-02-12: Hike Whitemud to Hawrelak Park