What a day for a tour …..

February 7th, 2012

It was an incredibly sunny,  blue, gold and white winter day today!

What a change from the past few weeks – and so overdue ~

I know it’s silly to feel responsible for the weather, but I always feel anxious when the weather doesn’t put on it’s best face for guests who are enjoying a hard-won holiday here in the north country. But sunshine is not always a precursor to a fine day – just received a wonderful note from our guests from last weekend  – and am happy to publish it here.

Thanks so much, Craig, for taking the time to write about the joyful day you and Terri experienced, and sharing your inner sunshine!

…Craig wrote:

“Terri and I had a wonderful tour.  We followed the tracks from the day before and instead of heading down onto, I believe Hemlock Lake, we stayed south and climbed the south side of the bluff at the east end of the lake.  What an incredible view from the top.  We could see the beaver dams, Hemlock Lake, and it was clear enough to see Whitefish Point from there looking out over the “North Face”, and Lake Superior.
 
We then skied and laughed our way down the north side from the bluff.  The snow was firm and we were able to stay on top even though we were skiing on thinner 160cm skis.  We learned to get our weight back if we came to a small compression, or skied next to a larger tree, if not, we would break through and come to an immediate stop.  The brush wasn’t too bad, so we were able to find some gentle lines.  We got out on the east end of the lake and crossed the center to the tracks from the day before. 
Sure enough we came across the tracks of a snow snake.  Two of them.  Quite fresh.  I think we just missed those otters, or they heard us coming.  Awesome to see and I am not sure I would have guessed at what made them had you not described the tracks to me that morning.  I wanted to take chase and Terri wanted to let them be.  I know they were close, but we left them in peace. 
We then headed up to the North Face and then to the “Look Out”.  Had two ravens putting on a show for us in the breeze before we headed back around.  As we came down Lois Lane, we came across a grouse strutting across the run.  Terri skied to within 6-7 meters and tried to get her camera phone out before it strutted away.  It never took flight.  As I had mentioned, the snow had firmed up.   Once we were below the steeper pitches, it was a fun ski to the bottom.  No falls.
 
We had been out for over 3 hours and Terri had a wonderful time.  What a transition from her first descent two weeks ago.  She has become so comfortable on her skis as long as we stick to the gentle slopes.  She mentioned that this is her favorite type of crosscountry/backcountry skiing and is looking forward to the next outing.  It will be tough to beat yesterdays adventure of the Algoma Highlands and Bellevue.
 
Thanks Robin and Enn.  Hope our paths cross again soon.
Craig”
 

Time to wax the skiis …..!

A picture taken up the road in Heyden a few mornings ago …..it’s a local joke around here that it is “always snowing in Heyden” – perhaps true home of the Gods, Heyden, the Hallowed Halls of Humidity ! (…supposedly a name found in  old mythologies, either greek or norse, can’t remember. Anyone got time to Google it?)

So, November is almost over.  I say it’s time to get our heads out of the cupboards, root cellars and woodsheds.  If “It” hasn’t been put away, put up, preserved, pickled, placed, packed or procured yet, you are **** out – of-luck!

Enjoying winter’s imminent presence is a lot easier if you are prepared, mentally and physically. For me, surviving November’s sombre gloom means an extended week of  hibernation inside the house, investigating all the cupboards, and making sure my Smart Wool is all to hand.  “Be Prepared!” …. that old Scout’s motto ….perhaps most people who suffer this affliction need to feel in charge of an environment that is controllable – unlike Mother Nature’s willful world.

Having food and firewood in the house is a big warm security blanket.  It is immensely satisfying to set yourself a goal of using one item a day out of the deep freeze – and to open that freezer and see all the jewels of summer waiting for you there.  It is a promise that these darker days at the years’ end will give way to sparkling days of sun and snow… and so return to spring once more.

As the world outside turns white and cold, the luxurious bounty of summer’s preserves found deep in the cellar reminds us that all perspective is subjective. Our November navel-gazing days help thicken our blood, (and perhaps our waist-lines) in preparation for the outdoor activities of the best season of the year!

A “pome” for Winter

Why do so many people cry and act with dismay,

When beautiful winter  settles in for a stay?

The landscape is cozy and all put to bed,

No more gardens and yardwork; the woodstove is fed.

A time to reflect on all that’s collected,

Through human spirit,  hard work, and lifetimes reflected.

So, pay homage to seasonal change and renewal,

Please don’t disparage winter and call weather cruel.

Remember that old  tune about life’s seasons’ turning,

And trust every change gives us chances for learning.

I do believe our collective unconscious has power,

Perhaps to even change global warming at this very hour!

Like the myth of the Internet, (…who thought up THAT deal?)

Our belief and enjoyment can conspire to make real!

So strap on those snowshoes, wool hat and a pack,

Schuss onto the ski-slopes or to the trails out back!

Our world is diverse, and deserves our respect

And exists solely for us,  so let’s partake, and protect!