Bison, coffee, and a sunrise.

Good morning and happy Monday! If you don’t see a blog post tomorrow it’s because I’ve frozen to death walking to work this chilling Monday morning. I am really good at layering my top half but can’t seem to figure out how to dress for work but also to avoid frostbite on my legs. I should probably figure this out soon though. BRR! Welcome to Edmonton, winter!

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I had a really lovely weekend the past couple of days. It started with impromptu drinks after work with a couple of friends before enjoying a nice quiet evening at home. I did boring things like balance my budget book, make shopping lists to finish off some home decor, plan a couple of blog posts, and read but I felt pretty accomplished after it. On Saturday I volunteered to teach part of a 3-hour Holiday Aerobathon at my gym. I stayed and worked out for the entire 3 hours including my little 15 minute core session. It was a nice way to try a ton of different fitness classes, give back to the community with this fundraiser, and confirm that I have zero coordination and look like a fool in an aerobic step class.

On Sunday I set my alarm for 6:30am, got dressed, grabbed some fruit and peanut butter, and headed out the door to get some dark roast and a bagel from Starbucks. I hit the road to Elk Island National Park in the pitch black but slowly watched the sky give way to more and more light. I was determined to catch the sunrise from the Park and get some fresh air instead of spending the day in the city.

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I sat in my car and sipped coffee, ate my bagel, and watched the gold light take over the plains around me. It was really cool and I’m so glad I kicked myself out of bed to get there. I bundled up and began my trek around the Tawalik Lake trail. It’s a 16km trail that winds its way around a few lakes and plains, but mostly through the forested areas. I first ran the trail HERE. It’s one of my favourites because it has the most lakes of any of the EINP trails and it’s the only trail I’ve ever been close to a bison while not in my car.

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The treed trail kept me out of the wind and I only felt the chill when I came to this major plains area in between two lakes. It was windy but gorgeous. The sun doesn’t get very high in Edmonton in the winter (this photo shows it almost at peak height) but it still provides some warmth and beauty. I only saw two other groups of people on the trail… oh, and this guy.

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After about an hour of walking and seeing nothing, I decided that I could listen to my podcast (with one earphone in) while I walked. I like being really aware of my surroundings and the animals in this park are quiet and generally not aggressive so I just like to be cautious. As soon as I popped an earbud in, I came around the corner and ran into a bison. He was hanging out in the middle of the trail and I knew I had the most beautiful parts of the loop up ahead so I didn’t want to turn around. We played chicken for a while, I stepped forward, so did he… I stepped back, so did he… he eventually got bored of my games and walked to the side of the trail and watched me walk by. My heart was pounding because bison are actually HUGE when you get close to them but I’m sure he was just thinking, “Can she just move on and leave me alone already?

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I finished up the trail in about three and a half hours. I took my time and by no means was racing, so 3-4 hours is the allotted time you should take for this one. I finished up after noon and made my way back to the city to grab lunch with a friend, get groceries, do laundry, make lunches for the week, put together a new IKEA shelf, and all of those lovely domestic chores we all love. Adulting is hard… I think my top Christmas gift idea right now is a gift card for a car wash. My car is atrocious right now!

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It blows my mind how many people have never been to Elk Island National Park that live in Edmonton. It’s obviously not the most beautiful landscape compared to mountains and glacial lakes but the hoar frost on the trees this morning and open plains as the sun rose above the horizon was breathtaking.

What did you get up to this weekend?

What is your go-to on-the-road breakfast?

Coffee or no coffee? Are you a tea/coffee/hotchocolate lover?

6 Comments

  1. What a fun way to spend a winter morning! I was born/raised in Fort McMurray and we would drive past Elk Island on our way south to visit family but we never did stop there. It’s great you found a piece of wilderness so close to your home in the city, we all need that!

  2. I love that frosty glow picture of you! So dreamy.

    My usual on the go breakfast is cold scrambled eggs (which are pretty good!) and a homemade oat muffin. Overnight oats. Smoothie. Quest bars.

    I want a bagel now! Have you tried Rocky Mtn Bagel?? They’re pretty good!!

  3. To stay warm walking to work you’ll just have to wear snow pants… like a flashback to grade school, haha. Yes, that’s total Mom advice. ?

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