The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is 348 acres of protected marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and pine forest just a short distance from the U of A Botanical Gardens North of Devon.

Clifford E. Lee was an Albertan with a deeply felt commitment to humanitarian and environmental concerns. Born on a farm in what is now Edmonton’s Hardisty district, he taught school for ten years before becoming a pharmacist and owning several pharmaceutical outlets in Edmonton. Always interested in politics, he was long active in the CCF, predecessor to the New Democratic Party, serving several terms as its Alberta president and writing regular columns for its newspaper, People’s Weekly.

Seeing the need for affordable housing following World War II, Lee applied his business acumen to starting up a home-building company, which thrived, eventually becoming NuWest Development Corporation, once one of the biggest housing development companies in North America. When the company he founded became a public corporation in the late 1960’s, he transferred the bulk of his personal fortune into a foundation. The Clifford E. Lee Foundation was thus established in 1969 to make funds available to worthwhile philanthropic endeavours in a variety of fields.

Although Clifford E. Lee died three years later, the Foundation, under a board of Directors, has continued to provide grants to a wide assortment of projects in the performing arts, social services, wildlife conservation, native concerns, and international development. The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary was one of the largest projects funded by the Foundation, and one in which Lee himself would have taken great pleasure.


We have been here several times in recent years under varying conditions. Needing a destination on Easter Sunday, we went back again and found the place bustling with parents and young children. A few birds were about, but a lot of songbirds have not yet returned. We could see that the trees and shrubs were just starting to get their “Spring” on and will return again. We are particularly interested in returning once the wild roses are out, provided the mosquitoes are not also in abundance.

I will leave you with a few pix from the walk. It is not a strenuous or long hike. We likely walked 3-3.5 km this day.


Nature Comes Alive – Edmonton River Valley – mid April


Thought I’d better catch up on my other posts between my series. This may be a bit out of season, but strangely enough, there were places in Alberta that had snow on the past weekend. This walk starts in Capilano Park.

Nature Comes Alive

Starting slowly at first,

then with a sudden burst,

long dead branches of grey,

new green buds now display,

their tang scenting the air,

curing winter despair,

that this day would arrive,

when nature comes alive.






Jasper National Park in April – Folding Mountain Brewing


Just outside the gates of Jasper National Park is located Folding Mountain Brewing, a craft brewery and taproom that opened in 2017. Our son had L has stopped here before and said it was worth a look. Their website ad for a Salted Chocolate Pretzel Stout intrigued our group, so we opted to stop for a bite and refreshments on our way home.

Access is easy as it is right beside the Eastbound lanes of the Yellowhead. The building is beautiful, as is the adjacent mountain scenery.

It is an order at the bar kind of place, so after a  bit of deliberation, we went up to make our drink and food choices. The first disappointment came when we heard they were all out of the feature stout. Boo hoo. That problem overcome, there were plenty of other choices. Because we still had to drive, we kept our drink choice small. I ordered a 12 oz Ridgeline IIPA and only later noticed it was a 9.5% beer. H ordered the tasting flight of the day (4-6 oz glasses).

For food, we had 3 orders of the street tacos and one of the grilled cheese sandwich with poutine. See the sign photo. The beers were all good. My 9.5% was unbelievable smooth for a strong beer and the 4 samples were also very good, as was the grilled cheese and poutine. I mean, come on, bread with two types of cheese, bacon and apple jam combined with fries, with gravy and more cheese. What is not to like.

Our street tacos were a disappointment. We opted for the 3 for $16, one each of chorizo, kale and chicken). It could have been the time of day or week (Monday at 2 PM) or it could have been that we made the wrong choice. The taco shells were dry and cold and the fillings were also mostly cold. The included Valentina sauce and lime wedges added some flavour, but………………

Maybe next time. And by the way, the Jasper East Cabins are right next door, so if you decide to stay awhile and sample more brews, you can walk between the cabins and the taproom.



Jasper National Park in April – Driving Home – Yellowhead-ing It


Point of Disclosure–Highway 16 and the mountain pass it runs through are referred to as “The Yellowhead”, after an Iriquois-Metis trapper, fur-trader and explorer who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company during the 18th and 19th centuries. His name was Pierre Hastination or Pierre Bostonais (Boston Man, a name given to him by First Nations members to indicate his American origin), but because of his yellow hair, his nickname was Tete Jaune (French for Yellow Head). In the early 19th Century Pierre and his men crossed the Rocky Mountains through the pass that would later bear his name. (Source:

Yellowhead-ing It

This is the moment we have been dreading, yet,

as we leave Jasper town, Yellowhead-ing it,

we can’t help but feel our smiles spreading a bit.

Trip starting at Marmot, we were shredding it,

on to Icefields glacier, no one sledding it,

then off to waterfall, with ice spreading it

and around 5 Lakes all ice, but shedding it,

before hiking hill with snow paths threading it.

Seeing the view with mountains embedding it.

we knew in 3 weeks we’d return again yet.


Jasper National Park in April – Maligne Canyon Magic


The Maligne River and Maligne Canyon are an interesting formation. The Maligne River flows as a full size river for 15 km upstream of Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake empties and fills throughout the year and the amount of water in the lake is purely dependent on the season.

Shortly after exiting Medicine Lake, the Maligne River becomes a “losing stream”, flowing underground until reaching the canyon where many smaller streams rebuild the river. The river cuts through the slot canyon limestone bedrock, exposing the underground river at several points. The underground river amplifies the flow as the river continues to drop down the canyon.

The canyon height reaches a maximum of 50 m (160 feet) depth and at points is less than 2 m (6.6 feet) wide.


Magical Maligne

Constantly flowing,

appearing, disappearing.

Magical Maligne.


Here is what you see form the parking lot. note the red tinge caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation in the wide angle shot. Yikes. It is everywhere.


Here are a couple of shots of the upper canyon near the Tea House. You can walk down the canyon to 6th bridge, but we did not have the time to spare on this day.


Jasper National Park in April – Pyramid Island – Pyramid Scheme


Up near the end of Pyramid Lake Road, in Pyramid Lake with a fabulous view of Pyramid Mountain is a small island called Pyramid Island. Noticing a theme here yet?

You park in the small parking lot and walk across a wooden bridge and there you are, surrounded by mountain beauty.

Pyramid Scheme

As if in a dream

magical alpine island.

A Pyramid scheme.