The last day of 2015 and a beautiful day it was. After a couple of weeks of cool seasonal temperatures, December 31st featured the relative warmth of temperatures near freezing and sunshine – a bright, low-in-the-sky sun and blue skies. It was a great day for a walk in the river valley.
Here is a bit of what I saw as I wandered around the Buena Vista Park area:
Red Berries Against a Blue Sky
Winter Sun Through the Trees
Road Through the Trees
Bridge Over Ice and Water
May 6th (2015) brought a dump of wet snow to Edmonton. The morning of the 7th started with fog but soon gave way to sunshine that melted away much of the snow. The combination of snow, green leaves and blue sky made for an attractive day.
Trees on My Street
Stairs in the Sun and Snow
[Ho Ho Ho; Yeg-Mon-Ton] – you might have to be of a certain age to get that one.
A few images of the North Saskatchewan river valley in central Edmonton. These early afternoon images are typical of late winter, with the river ice showing signs of softening and breaking up and while a lot of snow remains on the ground. With a couple of sunny days with temperatures well above seasonal average, the snow started to recede in areas that get a lot of daily sun exposure.
Softening Ice and Downtown Edmonton Skyline
Path in Dawson Park
Steep River Valley Slope
Path by the Hoodoos
Across the Valley
Although not visible in the above picture, the North Saskatchewan River is crossed three times in this view, as it meanders in a big S-shaped path below the visible land and trees.
2015 February 28 – A “normal” end-of-February winter landscape in Edmonton
If you are from Edmonton do you remember the year we almost didn’t have winter. I know, you’re thinking I’m crazy! I’ve lived here my entire life and really have questioned my memory around this event.
It was the winter of 2005/2006. My memory was that we got through February with basically no snow! Then on March 1st we got a big dumb of snow and March was brutal – very wintery! So did I imagine this?
I went back to the “Environment Canada” weather records and this is what the history showed for the Edmonton Municipal Airport in January 2006. Look at the Snowfall stats for the month: Zero – everyday!
So how was February? Pretty good (unless you are a skier). The trend continued! No snow on the ground until February 22nd and then only a measly 1 cm had accumulated. A few more snow flurries left a total of 4 cm on the ground by the end of February. In a normal year we would have more than this amount of snow still on the ground, still unmelted from when it fell in November.
So was my memory of the miserable March backed up by the the records? Well, Yes! On March 1st we got our biggest snow fall of the winter, twice as much fell as had accumulated all winter to that point. It snowed 5 out of the first 11 days of March. Then we got the biggest dump of the winter, over 20 cm on March 18th. By the end of March, despite some significant melting there was still more snow on the ground than there had been at the end of February!
Spring did soon arrive – April 1st was actually the last day with a record of snow on the ground in Edmonton that year.
This winter of 2014/15 has been normal (which is to say it feels much too long already by the end of February). But, the key to surviving an Edmonton winter is to find the beauty in it. Today I was out for a walk in Edmonton’s river valley and yes, with white snow and blue skies it was beautiful.
Ice Lump and Fallen Tree
A Snowy Path leading out of the River Valley
The North Saskatchewan river valley is one of the City of Edmonton’s defining features and points of pride.
In every season the view of and across the valley is something to behold. It was the lovely, winter afternoon of Feb 21 (2015) when I snapped these images of the river valley from the top (northside) of the riverbank between 96th and 97th Streets.
Chinese Pagoda in Louise McKinney Park
I love the old pedestrian bridge that spans between Louise McKinney park on the northside and the Cloverdale community on the southside. It is distressing to me that the bridge might be torn down in the near future!
On the southside of the valley lies the community of Cloverdale which is home to both the Muttart Conservatory (2 of the 4 pyramids pictured below) and the Edmonton Ski Club (on the slopes in the background)
Pyramids and Moguls
The east end of the Edmonton Ski Club in the distance on the left and on the right the reflections from the Shaw Conference Centre
Two of the downtown bridges (roadways) – the Low Level in the foreground and the James MacDonald behind it:
Today was one of those days that defines Edmonton winters – cold and gloriously sunny. This coming a day after 10 to 15 cm of snow fell turning the valley into a winter wonderland.
Even at a -23C temperature I had to get out for a walk in the river valley and capture a few photos:
Edmonton January Skyline and River
Eastern Shore – of the North Saskatchewan River looking south from the Dawson Bridge.
The following photos are from a trail running south from the Riverside Golf Course parking lot
Snowy Trail in Edmonton’s River Valley
Snow on Spruce
Translucent Snow – sunshine lighting up the fresh snow piled up on a fallen tree trunk
Finally looking back across the river at the trees through which the trail ran:
North Saskatchewan River and Bank in early January
November 28, 2014 – the second day of the first big snow of the year. A lot of snow (30cm?) fell during the evening and over night. Here are a selection of photos from this winter day:
Snow Buried Stairs in Edmonton’s River Valley
By evening the City was still moving slowly, but with some road plowing done condition were better than they had been earlier.
A plowed but still road snowy corner
Snow at the bottom corner
“Pyramids Red” Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory
“Clearing the Rink” – blowing the snow off of the Riverdale Community skating rink.
The snow started in the morning and City plow/sanding truck were already out.
Ah, winter in Edmonton – Today (2014 November 27) we got our first real taste of it, for this winter of 2014/15. Sure we’ve already had a few centimeters of snow and few days with windchills below -20C but there is nothing like a blizzard to make it real. There are 10 to 15 cm on the ground (and maybe another 10 to come) and with enough wind to cause drifting. The roads are a mess and driving is slow and frustrating.
But, as the snow came down during the day and conditions got worse and worse I was perversely looking forward to my 25 minute walk home. Why the glee? Well isn’t it obvious? Nothing says prime photography conditions like blowing snow and a -25 temperature (with windchill) – and oh did I mention that it would be dark? Well not completely dark, there are the street lights and the lights from vehicles and the glowing light reflected from the snow in the sky. All in all, I thought there was a good chance to capture some interesting images and perhaps even some beautiful ones. This is what I came up with:
A tow truck poised at the top of a river valley hill just waiting…
Evening commuters crawl down Dawson Road in Edmonton’s river valley
Lights from across the valley
“Stairs in the Snow”
Snow sparkling in the sky over Riverdale
“Deliveries to Make” – Pulling a wagon through the snow
Well we are through what might go down as the Great Snowfall of the Winter of 2011/12 in Edmonton. Starting Friday evening and through Saturday February 25th the snow came down steadily and the City slowed right down. I had to take the car out on the streets of central Edmonton a few times on Saturday and it was tense. the streets were heavy with snow and slippery. At one point I just barely made it up Alex Taylor Road. I do have snow tires but they were rendered useless. I could reluctantly accept this on the residential streets for a few days but I do not expected on the main drags for a couple of days. I was amazed as I drove about not to have seen a single grader out working the streets.
My gripe, my puzzlement, is why did the main route parking restrictions for the serious snow clearing only go into effect on Monday morning at 7 AM. This should have happened at 7 PM on Friday evening. This winter storm was well forecast, so I don’t understand why we (the City) weren’t better prepared. Time and again we (again the City) seem to have this deer in the headlights look, “oh, snow … did it snow … isn’t that unusual … I guess we should do something about it”!
Sure I can appreciate that it would be cheaper to only go over the streets once and that seems to be the motivation – “let’s be sure that all the snow that is going to fall has fallen, so we only have to do this once”. To me this is like waiting to deal with a heart attack victim with a clogged artery “Yeah, lets just wait and see if another artery fails before we go in and do something”. The streets are the arteries of this City, we need safe traffic flow – weekend or not.
From what I saw, the street clean-up proceeded very nicely today (Monday). Helped by the sun, the main routes were very passable – even if some lanes had disappeared under the rows of plowed snow.
Well that was interesting – last night, Saturday January 28th, we took in the Mill Creek Adventure Walk
I’m guessing the warm weather caused a lot more people to take in this event, than the organizers could have expected. We got to the area around 8 PM and found it very busy. The first challenge was finding a place to park. After ten minutes driving around the residential streets to the west of Mill Creek Ravine, I gave up hope of finding anyplace close and parked about 4 blocks from the access road to the Mill Creek Pool parking. I’m not sure if it was the darkness or the crowds (or just my own fault for not paying enough attention to the information on the web) but it was not clear where we should be going. We made an unnecessary trip down the hill to the pool before realizing more people were going up the hill than were coming down. We went back up, turned north and were on track as indicated by the movement of the crowds and the colorful lights hanging from the trees along the path.
There were crowds though. I had expected a rather peaceful walk among nature but rather I felt more like I was walking the crowded midway at Capital Ex. Fortunately it was a warmish night so there wasn’t a need to warm up beside the fires because the crowds made it difficult to get close to them. The crowds also made for huge line-ups for hot chocolate – I presume that is what the line-up was for but I couldn’t actually see what was at the front of the line.
An Unusually Unbusy Fire Drum
There is no doubt that this event created a magical experience down in the Mill Creek Ravine. There were a number of colorful characters in costumes, lanterns of different shapes and colors along the trail and kaleidoscope of colored light on the ground in places. The characters, animals such as a raven and skunk were part of a story around which the event was based although we found it difficult to really put the narrative together. As mentioned there were numerous wood fires for warming, which would have been especially welcome if the evening temperatures had been more seasonal. Nonetheless, they did add a nice atmosphere to the event. Did I mention the ice slide for the kids, the video screen and the facade of a snow castle?
The portion of the trail that went down beside the frozen creek was more like what I expected – it was less crowded but still busy enough that you spent half your time watching that you didn’t bump into somebody and the other half watching where you were stepping (and I did almost fall a couple of times when I didn’t notice icy patches on the otherwise snowy trail). This attention to safety did mean it was difficult to take in the ambiance of the trail but fortunately at teh north end of the trail was a large open flat section to take it all in.
Lots of Colored Lights
Next time I attend this event my plan will be to go later (like at 10PM) unless the temperatures are in the -20C, which should make for smaller crowds (and hopefully some hot chocolate for me).
Hopefully this event will continue in years to come but in the mean time I am looking forward to the third part of the Winter Light Society‘s 2012 festival, the Common Ground on February 10th and 11th in Giovanni Caboto Park.
A Ring of Cut Trees Sheltering a Warming Fire