Edmonton Tourist: Upper Mill Creek Ravine

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I have been house bound for days. Partly due to illness and partly do to…who are we kidding, I was sick in bed for 5 days. I was feeling slightly better by Friday and today I felt slightly better than yesterday but I then came down with a serious case of Cabin Fever.

I decided to bundle up me and my pup and head to my most favourite part of the city, Upper Mill Creek Ravine. You may recall this summer, I went to the lower creek, north of the pool. Well,my favourite spot is south of the pool in the Argyll and Hazeldean neighbourhoods.

Did I mention how cold it was? I was in the kitchen drinking hot chocolate, you know the kind made from Ghirardelli and milk on the stove? Yeah, THAT kind. So delicious. When I said to my Captain, Want to go for a walk? His head snapped back so fast you would have thought we had not done this in a while. Wait…I hadn’t been at a park with him since November at the Science Park…Sorry Cap.

We both put our jackets on because it is cold. Fahrenheit on the left Celsius on the right. The wind made it feel colder -12F and -24C, that to me is the real temperature because feeling is everything.

Mill Creek Ravine is my happy place. It is the place I go when I am sad, happy, angry, resentful, disappointed, or any other myriad of emotions. I enter and become instantly relaxed. I kind of needed that today. Lets just say I am filled with complex emotions that need sorting out, so off I went.

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The upper trail is groomed and paved. The off leash dog park is way down in the gully. That is where Cap and I were headed. Not that I can trust him to be off leash, he is independent minded so I am not really sure he would come when I call him or if he would just say, “You know what Peasant? I miss living in the woods, I am out of here.” Now I am all for independent thought but I’d rather keep him safe with a chance at a long life rather than struggling to live in the wild, so I keep him on a leash. I do let him investigate all the great mouser places and animal dens. One day I am sure he will find a skunk hallow and then I will be sorry, but until then, it makes me happy watching him be happy.

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Happily there isn’t a lot of snow so far this year. That makes trekking easier and there hasn’t been any freeze/thaw cycles so no ice. This makes it safer for me who is prone to falling.

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Mill Creek trail is built on an old railway bed, so there is a converted trestle farther north, I am not convinced that what this is, it doesn’t seem sturdy enough to hold an old steam engine, but it is built in the old tresses style and is a lovely bridge over the creek. Obviously at temps that have been sub -20C for weeks, the creek is froze solid.

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This is part of the off-leash walk. There are trash cans an dog bag bins all through here. All they are is old grocery bags for people to use. There is zero excuse to be a lazy pet owner. I bring my own eco ones attached to Cap’s leash.

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Lots of pets with their people come down here. If my Real Estate agent called me tomorrow to say he found me a house within walking distance to here, I would cry with joy. Who doesn’t want to live here? It is silent as if you are in the middle of the country but the convince to being 5 minutes to downtown Edmonton. To me it is perfect. I have been down here and have spotted deer, the occasional moose, falcons, hawks, eagles and coyotes. I have heard of a bear sighting once and know there are porcupines and skunks with the odd badger but my trusty pal looks after me.

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After wandering around for about an hour I asked myself why I wait so long to come back? It clearly the best place I can be.

 

On Your Left

I am one of those lucky girls who gets to run with the man of my dreams. He runs at my pace, is cool with me choosing the route and is equally cool with picking the run himself. He never complains about how far we go and never mocks or teases me about how slow I am. He is the perfect partner.

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Until today…

Captain runs on the left just like Captain America. Until today…

We began our journey at the top of the 109 street bridge; better know as the High Level Bridge. It is one of my favourite places to run because it is so high above the river with the combination of a slope it feels like flying. Cap, as always, ran on my left. It was early, during the morning rush so the bridge was busy with cars. Cap had never been on this bridge before and the traffic spooked him. He didn’t want to run close to the rail, it seemed too high, and the traffic was just overwhelming. He was doing well, until a big truck rolled on by. It became too much. The Mighty Captain dashed between my legs and somehow tied his leash around both of my knees. In super slow motion we both fell to the ground. I am not sure how, but we both landed on top of each other.

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We laid there in a tangled mess and I asked him, “Cap what are you doing” because I couldn’t get him to move. He wasn’t hurt he was scared. We finally freed our mangled bodies and resumed the run. Only he wouldn’t run. He walked very close to my side until we reached the north bank of the river. It was then he decided to run.

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My dog is afraid of heights. Who knew that was a thing?

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We sat for a bit at Ezeo Farone Park so Cap could calm down, but then we were off. We saw a fox and a coyote, neither of which made my rescue dog happy that he couldn’t engage them in battle. He stared at me like I was cruel. We headed north and began running again. Being downtown was a new experience for my pup. He mostly liked the big trees and the soft grassy boulevards. Which is great because I want to move here soon. We turned right and I noticed my Garmin died. So much for tracking my run. Oh well, unplugged is great too. I let Cap lead the way at this point and he headed straight for more parkland, The Alberta Legislature Grounds.

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The trees are just beginning to leaf out and we discovered rabbits, so more running in random patterns all over the park. The cross-country aspect of the run was fun. Lots of down hill grassy slopes. We passed the Totem Pole and my Birthday candle (that’s a long story but it’s always burning on the south side of the legislature if you want to see it.) It was getting to be time to head back to the car, Captain was getting tired and running wasn’t what he wanted to do any more. My pup is getting old, 7 and he is a 75lb sled dog who rather sleep.

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We ran to the park exit and were treated by this sight, which is SUPER EARLY for Edmonton, May Day Blossoms!

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Back over the High Level Bridge, and surprise surprise…Cap would not run. He walked tight next to me not wanting to look over the side at the river, or too close to the traffic. But because we walked, I noticed something I had not seen before. All these love quotes embedded into the sidewalk on the bridge.

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All of these quotes are how I feel about my Cap.

My big ‘fraidy cat.

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Thanks for being the best dog and running partner I have ever had.