Park Number 3 in my quest to visit all the Edmonton River Valley Parks. I visited Goldstick for the first time in my life. Pretty impressive, because I have lived here most of my life AND I run/walk regularly through the valley. Yet I had never been here. After visiting, all I can say is, “Mom! THIS should have been the park of my childhood, the hills alone would have my brother happy…and tired.”
Goldstick Park was named after a Cecil “Tiger” Goldstick, a local athlete and sports caster here in Edmonton. His tireless work for Sports Central, helping kids with out the financial means acquire sports equipment, endeared him to the city as a builder or communities. Something that Edmonton has an abundance of. People coming together to help make great and lasting legacies for the community.
I must admit to being slightly frightened about coming here. This park does not look appealing from Baseline Road and I had no idea what to expect. The fear of the unknown space or predator entered my mind. Happily, I had my wolf-boy with me. He is strong enough to pull me up hills and is fiercely protective of me. I should be solid.
Goldstick Park is sandwiched along Refinery Road and the community of Goldbar on the East end of the city. It has been here for as long as I can remember and the entrance always left me thinking “Yuck, why would I want to go here?”
My loss. This place was filled with hills and valleys and great fort building opportunities. The kind of place that I wish I came to as a kid and worse, I missed out on bringing my kids here when they were young. It just looks sad from the entrance.
Captain and I were the only ones here. I was not surprised. Did you see the entrance?
We found a way to what seemed to be the main path. It ran parallel to the refinery on the right.
The city had planted a large buffer along the fence of the refinery. In the summer once the leaves are out, you would never know the oil refinery is just steps away.
To the left and what is known as the upper park, is an amazing ball diamond, kitted out with DUG OUTS! I have never seen this in the city other than at Telus Field the home to semi-pro baseball.
Behind the ball diamond is a fantastic soccer pitch. The sports fields have lights, electric scoreboards and bleachers, something that I wished for when going to my kids games. I reflected on Tiger and thought this was a fitting tribute to his memory.
There was also an Off-Leash Dog park, and in the winter, miles of groomed cross-country ski trails that spill into Goldbar Park an the bottom of this unbelievable hill.
It is a gentle slope until its not. I was warned by a pal of mine who said he uses this hill to do hill repeats on for his track practice. No wonder that guy is fast and always wins his heats.
I let Captain lead. I wasn’t that interested about walking to the river. It was cold and out of the shelter of the trees, the wind was not kind. There were a few snowflakes in the air and I was not dressed warm enough.
He dragged me along the grassy ski trails that led into down to the creek. Deep in the woods, only here it has street lights for night skiing. This was also amazing!
It always amazing me at how quickly you are in the city and then suddenly you are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature’s silence. Cap made me run after Jack Rabbits, mice and Canada Geese. We heard the banging of Wood Peckers and the chirping of Sparrows in the trees. But the sounds of people and cars were nonexistent. We made it down to the creek, I think its Fulton Creek but I couldn’t find any signage labelling it.
Then the big climb. Holy heart-rate increase! I admit to being quite dizzy after all that climbing.
Walking alone here in the valley I thought about how this place came to be. I am incredibly grateful the the Peter Lougheed Conservative government for allocating 35 million dollars of Oil Boom money to develop the River Valley Park park system. This is the greatest thing that Edmonton has ever done. Develop this space for generations to come.
While I am not sure how often I will come back here to Goldstick Park because of the hills involved, I am looking forward to coming here and building forts with any future grandkids that might enter my world.