An obscure title for a blog, I know. You’ll have to read on to appreciate the significance ….
I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions the abundance of walking trails available to explore throughout the River Valley. These are prolific and having so many on the doorstep means you’re always stuck for choice on where to explore next. The River Valley cuts through Edmonton and can be accessed on either side of the North Saskatchewan River through 22 parks and over 150km of trails. You may think that on a day (well, it’s been a full week in fact), where the weather has seen blue skies, sun, and temperatures in the late 20’s and early 30’s, setting out on a walk in the River Valley will have you exhausted and flagging before you exit the car park. Not so. In fact, it’s absolutely ideal as down on the valley floor and alongside the river, nature has created the perfect canopy of coverage and protection from the strong rays of the sun, leaving you cool and collected as you trample through the trails.
We opted for a walk from Emily Murphy Park (named after a Canadian women’s rights activist who lived in Edmonton, and became the first female magistrate in Canada and the British Empire). Whilst there are lots of routes to take, we opted to take one down through the trails and alongside the river towards the High Level Bridge. It’s a case of ‘make it up as you go along’, but it’s not overly complicated if you’ve the nose of a bloodhound and remember to always keep the river to your left 🙂 As the trails are used by both walkers and cyclists (cross-skiers in the Winter too, but luckily, we’ve a few months to go just yet), keep to the right hand side otherwise you’ll get mown down in the rush – they are certainly well-populated with people taking their daily exercise. Not surprising too, as down in the shade it must be a good 10 degrees lower ….
As you get closer to the High Level Bridge, it’s an impressive iron structure standing at 152 feet above the river and half a mile long. Opened in 1913, it was the first bridge in Canada to carry four different modes of traffic – rail, streetcar, car and pedestrian. The latter three are all still utilised, although the rail has a newer bridge now which runs alongside the High Level one.
I guess out of necessity, there’s also signs and an emergency telephone as you walk onto the bridge which quickly sober you up. The kids hadn’t seen anything like this before and it needed somewhat of an explanation that lasted for the full duration of the walk across. Still, creating distractions are my thing and getting the kids to look at the view, to notice the streetcar above us on the highest rails, and the noise of the cars driving past were all proffered up for their consideration. The view on a day like today was truly stunning.
In recent years, a ‘Light the Bridge’ initiative has seen 60,000 LED bulbs inserted into the bridge and every night it lights up in an array of different colours. The colour schemes vary, and a schedule of each evening’s colours is circulated by the City of Edmonton at the start of each week. This is based on requests made to symbolise different events which are going on in the city during that week. The kids love driving over the bridge and seeing the different colours, which can also been seen from afar. It’s beautiful.
As you walk onto the pedestrian path across the bridge, there are some quotes which have been set into the concrete pavement and unless you passed on foot, you would miss them. See what you make of this one which is just as you enter the bridge …..
‘I leave my past on one side, and start my future on the other’
I loved the whole idea of this and it made me smile. Here’s another which also resonated …
‘Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you can’t dance’
Super, aren’t they? Completely thought-provoking and inspirational.
It’s been a great day. We set out to enjoy the scenery, get some exercise, and spend time together as a family – that’s what weekends are for and we certainly achieved that. What it also made me do was to reflect on the quotes above and our aspiration to make the most out of each day we spend, trying something new, and doing something fun.
I think we’re doing it. There could be worse things in life than adopting such a philosophy I think.