Edmonton is blessed with the most unspoiled and beautiful river valley, with at least 20 major urban parks, all of which I've walked through at one time or other, and 160 km of maintained trails. There are many paths for cycling, cross country skiing in the winter, walking and hiking, but Shadow and I have been doing a fair bit of "off-roading" of late, taking what I call coyote trails to be closer to nature and the water. When my heart and mind are in turmoil, there's something really soothing about the gentleness of the water's movement in the North Saskatchewan. Something timeless and eternal, that makes me feel like my struggles are but a ripple in the stream of life. River walking grounds me.
And there are other serendipities in walking the valley. A lengthy conversation about conservation with a fellow hiker. A pretty group of mallards who leave little wakes behind them when they paddle hard against the current. An unexpected golden delicious apple tree (probably planted years ago by someone who tossed their apple core) with sweet, ice cold fruit hanging just within reach.