Edmonton Tourist: Top of the Bank Trail

I had an errand to run in Wolf Willow today. I saw signs for the Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge, my pal the dog was with me so I decided to explore the river valley from the west end. Let’s be clear, I never get out this way unless I have a specific task. The west end is just not a destination for me. Mostly because it’s far from my home. 

This morning I learned I ‘won’ the giveaway. I belong to a friend group who give stuff we no longer want, away to people who want it. I’ve been lucky enough to win beautiful art, a stunning chandlelier, a brand new kitchenaid mandolin, wooden hangars and today, 3 unopened boxes of Twinning Earl Grey Tea. EARL GREY TEA PEOPLE!!! Obviously I won. I have given away oak tables, books, office supplies and appliances that I no longer use. It a wonderful pay-it-forward group. The tea was in Wolf Willow, a neighbourhood that backs on the Edmonton Golf and Country Club. I think I’ve been here once, but I’m not sure. I think I face painted one Christmas at the club. I always feel like I won the lottery when I am gifted new things.

 If I win the lottery in real time, I always think about what I would change about my life. Pay my mortgage off, leave my job, write every morning and definitely go back to school. I would enroll in some sort of English writing classes at the University of Alberta. 


I parked my car beside the golf course and walked towards to river bank. I followed the signs that said Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge. I have run many times across that bridge because it was part of the Fort Edmonton 5k loop. My most favourite loop in the valley. So I’ve seen that side plenty but had never gone farther than the bottom of the 205 staircase. 

I’ve lived in and around the city for close 50 years. This was the first time I had been here. 


When we got to the entrance to the valley, we were given the choice to walk to the bridge or take the upper bank trail. I just had flip flops and the trail was soft. I had never explored the upper bank before so we took the path less traveled. 


The homes here are monstrous. Stunning floor to ceiling multi storied homes looking south east over the river. It also made me think about what to spend lottery winnings on. As someone who is obsessed with the tiny home movement, these homes had little appeal for me. I have become more minimalist as I age and I care less about things and stuff. But I do think about things. I give myself thinking prompts like what would it be like to live here? I imagine myself and a rich spouse (usually Mark Ruffalo) enjoying breakfast on the upper terrace. Then that fades and I begin to think about composing paragraphs for pieces I am writing. Thinking about context, situations and how to make it a story rather than an event. These adventures of mine are part of building experience to write. I’ve enrolled in an University writing class that begins Thursday. It fulfills my wish to continue on with school and take a class that is meaningful to me. I’ve never enrolled in something I was passionate about, just something that I was capable of and could use to advance my career. I regret that I never explored what I wanted, I just did what was suggested to me. I’m fixing that starting Thursday. First Day of class. 

Walking along the bank, I thought about how people get where they are. What do these folks do to afford this lifestyle? I find it interesting that the more money someone seemingly has, the less time they spend enjoying it. I never saw a single person walking along the bank. Not one. No one was in their yard, no one was on the sidewalks. It was as if The Captain and I were walking through a ghost town. An experience to file away for a story in my future. 

The Upper Bank Trail would be a firecracker hot place to be on a sunny day. But the blue sky would be worth the effort. As Cap and I ended our loop, I noticed the Mayday blossoms beginning to open. I’ve watch cherry blossoms bloom in photos from other cities weeks ago when we still lived under a blanket of snow. Now it’s our turn. The blossoms are beginning to open and releasing their fragrance. It was a beautiful day to win the lottery and explore the bank in silence. 


Edmonton Tourist: Louise McKinney Park


It was an effort finding a park that had parking space today. Anything in close proximity to the Heritage Days Festival was filled to the brim. After trying my luck at 3 different parks, Captain and I found ourselves over at Louise McKinney, another Famous 5 park.

We ran into some friends just as we climbed out of the car. They also tried to find space in other parks. It seemed everyone was wanting some green onion cakes and gelato found down at Hawrelak Park. We bid them well and made our way along the river front path.


The first thing we noticed was lovely poetry on the light posts. 


We stopped to see some rock piles and over grown grass.


It was Turtle Rock Effigy, an old Art Works festival creation from 2010. Not much to see anymore but the Pokéstop had a great photo of it.

We met several displaced men sitting on benches, all wanting to pet Cap and tell me how handsome he was. We had a lovely visit with them and wished everyone a great day. 

The trails surrounding the park were closed while LRT construction begins over at the bridge. I had visited that area earlier this year when we went to Henrietta Muirs park.

We climbed up to the Chinese Garden. Such a lovely oasis downtown. 


The park was used as a bike corridor for so many cyclists populated the park today.

I made my way to the Shumka Stage. An odd mix of Chinese and Ukrainian culture. 


And called it a day. Next week I’ll been in Calgary’s Glenmore park so perhaps I’ll explore a yyc park inset was.

Edmonton Tourist: Capilano Park

I decided this week that I needed some minor goals to get me through until I can decide what I need for some long term decisions. My goal for this summer is to visit all 20 of Edmonton’s River Valley Parks. 

Edmonton’s park system is one of the most amazing things ever created. Miles of trails both paved and not snake through the valley. If the valley was not divided into smaller parks, the green system would be larger than Central Park in New York City. I think at some point I have been to all of them but I have never explored all the parks in depth. I have either run through the parks, rode my bike or paddled past in my canoe. This summer me and my trusty companion The Captain will explore Edmonton’s River Valley Parks.

  
Capilano Park is located on the south east end of Edmonton on 50th street. Directly across the street from Goldbar. I hadn’t realized Goldstick Park was part of the valley parks, or I would have started there. My goal is to visit them systematicly starting in the south east corner of the city every Saturday. 

The upper park is open green space with baseball diamond and paved trails for bikes and pedestrians alike. I drove to the parking lot to explore areas I hadn’t been before. 

  
I forgot there was a bridge leading across the river to Highlands.

  
The ice is mostly off the river with a bit of burg candy floating by. Cap and I stopped to taken in the valley. 

    
   
We turned back at discovered picnickers hidden in the trees. This would be a great spot for family picnics.

  
For some reason there are flags and a bit of an ampatheatre overlooking the river.

   
 
We discovered an off leash dog area in the woods. It was filled with squirrels and birds so Cap was pleased.  

The path was peaceful and quiet. I could hear birds singing in the trees and saw a small homeless camp. I need to make a note to bring protein bars to leave as I walk by. 

The path led down to the river bank. I hadn’t been along the water since I paddled regularly when I was 21.

   
 
Cap waded in and took a drink. He avoids water so this amazed me. I stood on the boat launch for a long time taking in the amazing weather for April. In Edmonton it is normally still winter. The sun was warm and the ground dry. The valley was filled with people enjoy the weather.

   
    
 
Capilano Park is lovely. Cap and I will be back