In light of yesterday’s snowstorm it may seem that my early declaration of Spring was hasty. Not at all. These have merely been the inevitable Spring snowfalls. Furthermore, I assure my fellow Edmonton residents that this was the last major snowfall of the season. You have my money back guarantee.
I was disappointed when the storm warning was issued. I’d had great hopes of taking my first real road ride of the season over the long weekend. Work, weather and other responsibilities have been foiling me for weeks now. However, on the morning of the storm it was hard to maintain a gloomy frame of mind. When I stepped out the door I was gobsmacked by the quantity and quality of the snow that had had fallen while I snoozed. It wasn’t the light powder that we typically get here in Edmonton. Heavy, wet snow was falling in giant clumping flakes encrusting everything in sight, an authentic winter wonderland (excuse me, a Spring wonderland). It was reminiscent of a good storm back on the East coast. I may have giggled a little bit as I headed to the garage to get my bike.
This was an almost perfect winter ride. Enough snow had fallen to make it fun but not so much that the roads were impassable. The fresh snow wasn’t yet churned up and for the most part I was able to make fresh tracks . It was a little bit before 7AM and the traffic was still quite light.
As I pedaled through the city there I spotted many branches snapped off trees by the weight of the snow. I gave this little thought until I reached Mill Creek Ravine and headed up the wooded trail. Here the branches were heavily weighed down and drooping over the path. Several larger limbs had broken off and fallen to the path making an interesting obstacle course. There were creaks and groans and snapping noises from the woods on each side of the path. The wiser voice of my younger, forest-hiking, rural self was advising me to get the hell out of there. I was nervous, but not so much so that I didn’t stop to take several photos.
The stupidity of my persistence was brought home when I reached a point where a fallen tree was blocking the path. I had been following the track of a single cyclist who had traveled up the path before me. Considering how fast the falling snow was covering tracks I would guess that the other cyclist had been on the trail no more than a half hour before me. Their trail went directly under the fallen tree. It had fallen a only a short time after they had passed. I couldn’t ignore this warning and I sensibly fled the ravine at the very next exit. As I was leaving I stopped to chat with a woman walking her dog who was leaving the ravine for the same reason.
Heading back up onto the city streets I was back in a realm of more predictable hazards. The rest of my ride to work was uneventful. Traffic density was starting to increase and twice I pulled over to the side of the road to let groups of vehicles pass me. I saw one other cyclist during my entire ride. I waved at him and he shook a fist in the air and yelled “Warriors!” which was silly enough to make me laugh out loud.
By the time I finally reached my workplace I was convinced that I’d be taking a bus home . As it it turned out, I was wrong. By the end of the day it was warm and sunny, the snow had almost completely melted from the roads and it was almost as if the storm had never occurred. The city crews had been hard at work clearing fallen branches and all power outages had been resolved. This was an ideal end to the last snowstorm of the season.