Forever ago I pledged to visit all the River Valley parks the city of Edmonton has to offer. My criteria were based on parks that were outlined here. Looking at that list, Buena Vista and Gallager didn’t make my cut because I wanted the park to be a destination for more than one activity. Buena Vista is a dog park and I could never go there in spite of Captain my beloved Labrador Husky. He gets distracted easily and I can’t trust that he won’t run off or hurt someone. So, he is never off-leash in my presence. I have walked past Buena Vista numerous times on my run from Hawrlak to Laurier. It looks like all the dogs who visit love it there. Gallager is another odd park, it is a hill with a view and is where Folk Fest is held every year. I have been there but I decided not to include it in my parks series.
I finally made it to Hermitage Park. Why did it take me so long? Well, it is far from my house. It is located in North East Edmonton and I just don’t get there very often. In the late 80’s I lived 5 minutes away by bike, do you think I ever visited? Not a chance. Strange how life takes you places.
I had no idea how to find this place but happily, the City had well-placed signs to help me locate it. Did you know it has a fishing lake? This would have been a place my grandpa would have loved. Yet, we never went.
Captain and I went on a Friday afternoon. I took some of the overtime I had and decided we needed to enjoy some sunshine after the copious amounts of rain we have had this year. The roads in the park are TERRIBLE. They are covered in potholes, flooded and are in general bad condition. I parked at the far south end in a gravel lot. This park has been around for 40ish years and there is still a gravel lot?
Cap and I hopped onto the paved bike path and began walking north.
Heading south would have taken us under the train trestle and into Rundle park. We walked a few minutes and found a dock.
I had no idea you could fish here. They keep it stocked with lake trout. It was a floating dock and Cap hated every minute we walked on it.
But it gave us great views of the water. When we walked backed at the end of the day, a family of 6 was fishing. They were hoping to catch dinner.
Cap was happy to be off the floating dock and back on solid ground. We discovered where the largest goose population in Edmonton is.
There had to be a dozen different flocks or gaggles. This was a great location for ducks too. Strangely, Cap didn’t try to eat one bird as is his usual habit. He did enjoy scaring them by walking up to them and forcing them into the water. He had the biggest smile on his face.
So many feathers and so loud! The point birds were directing everyone into the water, especially the younglings. Captain just walked on by.
There were several ponds, I think I counted five. Only one was stocked with fish. We walked to the top of the hill and found picnic tables and fire pits. We sat for a bit to enjoy the view.
Further north was an off-leash dog park and some public art that we didn’t make it to because our day was running short. So we walked back along the road to check out some of the other ponds and explore the wildlife that lived there. I thought I might see muskrats but only found more ducks. The large trees provided lovely shade along the walk.
Hermitage is a lovely park but it is just too out of the way for me to visit often. If I ever decide to go fishing again, I would definitely visit here. Too bad we missed out grandpa.