The Edmonton Hiking/Walking Meetup Group Message Board › Ideas for Saturday Morning and Thursday Evening Walks
I'd like to stimulate some discussion about our Thursday evening and Saturday morning walks.
To start the ball rolling, I have provided some of my ideas below.
But before you read what I have to say, think about these questions, and submit your responses to this discussion:
Are the days and times convenient for you? If not, what other days and times would be better for you? So far, our walks have been scheduled for Thursdays at 6:15 PM and Saturdays at 10:15 AM. The hikes shown in our calendar on Sundays are organized and conducted by the Waskahegan Trail Association. We list them for the convenience of both groups. The "fit & active 55 plus" Meetup group also schedules walks for Sundays, usually in the afternoon.
Where would you like to walk? Edmonton river valley and ravine park trails? Residential neighbourhoods? Parks outside the City? Which ones? How far would you drive (or carpool)?
How long would you like the walks to be? In time? In distance? Do you prefer a fast or slower pace? Do you like hills and stairs, or do you prefer relatively flat terrain?
How important is the social aspect - stopping for coffee or lunch after the walk?
What about other types of events in addition to walks and hikes, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, skating, roller blading, jogging, racewalking, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, mountain biking, etc. (in season)?
Would you be interested in helping out with organizing or leading any of our walks or other activities? If so, contact any one of the Assistant Organizers. You don't have to do it all yourself. We'll be glad to help. But we appreciate whatever new ideas and additional help we can get from others, like you.
I don't expect everyone to answer all of these questions, but if any of them spark your interest, please feel free to submit your comments as a response to this discussion.
And now, as promised ... here are some of my own thoughts on what we might do for group activities.
How about a "walk series" called "View Properties and Ravines"? Edmonton has a number of high-end neighbourhoods perched along the crest of the river bank. These are often good places for easy, flat walks with a broad vista across the river when you look to one side, and a chance to view beautiful homes on the other side. These neighbourhoods are often flanked by ravines that have trails through them leading down to the river, providing a park trail to complete the loop. Examples include the community of Riverside, which is between the MacKinnon and MacKenzie ravines, and Windsor Park, which is between Groat Road and Emily Murphy Park Road. There are probably close to a dozen such residential/ravine loops that we could do as a "series" over a period of weeks or months.
For those who are looking for a different kind of challenge, how about "counting stairs"? The river valley trails in Edmonton have a great many stairways throughout the system. Some are just a few steps, and some have over 200 steps (for example, below the MacDonald Hotel). I don't know how many stairways there are, or how many steps there are in all. How would you like to explore the trail system, looking for stairways, and counting them? Maybe we could even publish a "Guidebook to Edmonton's River Valley Stairs", to complement the maps for cyclists and walkers. What do you think?
Can anyone think of any other "themes" we might use for creating a series of walks with a common theme? Looking for birds? Berry picking? Picking up garbage in the spring? Wildflowers? Looking for beavers?
One event that I have enjoyed in past years is skating on the pond at Hawrelak Park on New Year's Eve. I am checking with the City of Edmonton to make sure this is going to be done again this year, and that there's no conflict with the Bright Nights display that runs in Hawrelak Park at this time of year. Assuming that I get a positive response, I'm planning on posting it as a Meetup event for folks who are looking for a family-oriented way to celebrate the New Year in the outdoors. If the pond ice doesn't get thick enough in time, the Victoria Park speedskating oval might be an alternative.
A little later in the winter, Hawrelak Park is the site of another winter festival that we may want to consider participating in as a Meetup group: The Silver Skate Festival, from February 20-22, 2009. Go to Silver Skate Festival to check it out.
I'm enjoying this Meetup group, and I hope you are too. Let us know how we can make it even better for you.
|A former member||
Bob, thank you for initiating this discussion about our Thursday evening and Saturday morning walks. And thank you for jumping in as a prime organizer. You are doing a fantastic job.
I have some ideas. They are particular to me. The needs of the group should predominate. I don’t want these to be taken as the wishes of the group, but as only one input.
Thursdays at 6:15 are sometimes a little close to my family obligations. A little later would be better for me. The Running Room near me schedules free walks (and runs) for anybody on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m., although their format is tied to the in-progress training clinics. I often don’t get there either. The city also sponsors “The Wild Rose Ramblers” who hike various trails and routes in and near the City on Tuesday mornings. They tend to be a little older and may hike a little slower. They have suspended hikes until the good weather resumes in the spring. The Edmonton Outdoor Club has a wide variety of activities, including some easy to moderate effort walks in the ravines and river parks, but they are not as regular. I like the regular aspect of the hiking club walks. The Saturday time is good, but I will have to juggle my other interests, sometimes I won’t be able to go walking on Saturday. I am generally free to go any time, except for from about 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday or Friday evenings. I have a slight problem with my leg, which may make it easier for me to walk in the morning. But that seems to be getting better.
I like the walks in the Edmonton river valley and ravine park trails. I am a relatively recent arrival in Edmonton (3 years) and I have not yet discovered all of it. The Running Room walks already go through residential neighbourhoods near me. I think an occasional trip to a park outside the city would be nice, I have spent a little time in Elk Island National Park and would like to see more, although the day fees are a little expensive. I am sure that there are other nearby places that will suit. Anyway, to participate in most of the hiking/ walking group walks I have to overcome my aversion to driving to exercise. I would be willing to drive up to an hour from my house one way occasionally although I would have to plan that into my life.
I would like the walks to be between one hour and an hour and a half. The effort that was on the Saturday walk from the Zoo across Hawrelak Park and back (November 22, 2008) suited me well. As to stairs and hills, that depends on how fast we are expected to traverse them. I am not yet ready for “boot camp”.
I like the idea of having lunch together, but I may not be able to stay every time because of conflicting demands. I’ll join when I can.
As for other types of events, I am happy with ordinary walking. I am trying to use it to get regular exercise. I may like to try snowshoeing on a short course. When there is sufficient snow I am going to get back on my cross-country skis; a planned event may be OK. In general these events should replace the walking times. I have had some bad experiences downhill skiing. At this time I don’t think that I have the upper body strength or endurance required for canoeing upriver or into a wind. My bicycle needs more use, but the same conditions would apply – an hour to an hour an a half of easy to moderate effort, limited hills.
If the walk goes where the high-end properties are, that’s OK. The properties would not be my prime attraction. I like watching birds but I find that that does not mix well with an exercise walk. I don’t think we should mix in things that require stopping beyond those necessary for the logistics of the walk. But I think picking up the garbage in the spring is a good activity.
I think I can find my skates. From the last time I skated I know I will have to concentrate on holding my feet straight under me. Maybe those muscles will strengthen and set with more practice.
I also enjoy these Meetups. I am trying to juggle too many interests, but I am not yet ready to put some aside.
Thanks again for all you have done, Bob
|A former member||
Thought I’d get my two cents worth in on this discussion:
Because I work full time weekdays, the evening walks don’t work for me. There just isn’t time to get from work, change and make it to wherever the meetup is. Anytime on weekends is do-able, but I like mornings best. . . still gives me part of the day for other things. Having said that, I do appreciate that afternoons are much warmer in the winter. As for Where I would like to hike, my preference would be for the river valley trails and /or parks. Long walks on hard surface would not appeal to me. Mainly within the city with the occasional trip out farther is good.
I like the walks to be about 1.5 hours, mostly flat or rolling, one or two hills are fine, but long or steep hills are a killer for me. Ditto for stairs, a small number is fine, but a significant number of stairs would be an issue. Hopefully we would be able to have a variety of levels of hardship/challenge from one week to the next. As long as the descriptions of the events are accurate, and give people a fair idea of what to expect, they can choose to attend or not (very few people would make it to EVERY event anyway).
I am new to Edmonton and the social aspect of the walks is equally as important as the fresh air and exercise. I definitely enjoy going for lunch/coffee after. I looked at the description of the Waskahegan group; since it was more “ technical” and the hikes (as opposed to walks) seemed to be more “far reaching”, I passed on that one. When I joined this meetup, I chose it because it is described as “light recreational walking” which I interpret as being less serious, with a social element (just my take on it). When I joined the “Fit and active 55 Plus” meetup, I understood it would incorporate a variety of physical activities in addition to the walking and that it is also a recreational group. For me, equipment could become an issue for some of the activities, but as long as I can, I would like to try different things.
As for helping out or organizing, being new to Edmonton, I doubt I could lead any of the activities, but would be happy to help in whatever other ways I can. At some point further on, once I know the city better, I wouldn’t mind organizing something but that is still in the future. I have enjoyed the short time I have been involved with this group and hope to continue coming to events as often as I can manage.
I like the idea of doing the walks on “themes”.
Hi Bob. Thanks for starting this discussion. Yes for me to the View Properties and Ravine loops, and I think that we could use this venue for the Thursdays as well. Parking at the Museum is plentiful and free. Timing and distance that we currently walk is pretty good. Social events following the walks seem to be popular, but should be an add-on, as some people have less time! I'm not really interested in driving far, but occasional outings would be fun.
Excellent …. First of all, I’d like to applaud your great communication and the resulting replies. A very interesting thread to add my thoughts to …
Secondly, please know that whatever is decided upon, will be much appreciated! Being directionally challenged, I certainly enjoy having a route picked out for me. Definitely a follower on these jaunts. Take me away …
Sometimes its difficult to find/make the time to get out on these walks, so I really enjoy a lengthy hike to make it worth my while.
Timing? Thursdays & Saturdays have been working well for me lately, and I can still make the Waskahagen hikes on Sundays.
For location, I’d prefer not to drive too far. Love the river valley trails!
What else appeals to me? Berry picking certainly does! And garbage clean-up would be great exercise, and satisfy the “green” side of me…. I always feel so good doing my little bit. Yes, I would love to have at least one get-together to clean up an area, and see how that goes.
Skating is another great suggestion! I currently don’t have skates, but I’m checking the second hand stores to see if I can come up with something… I know it would be a great time!
“Residential Ravine/Loops” also sound wonderful! Not too sure about stairs though … my nemesis for years of smoking! But never say never … I’d give it a try, just to challenge myself. Linelle: you may be called upon to encourage me!
I'd prefer to have the restaurant at the end of the walk, rather than at the mid-point, as I like to bring my own lunch. Looking forward to summer and eating outside.
Again, thanks to the organizers of these walks/hikes … I’ve learned so much about Edmonton and surrounding area in the past couple of months! And feel absolutely great ...