LO(d)G(e) update ~ Star date 12/08/2011

Finally a REAL snow fall out there today to kick-start the winter. It’s about time! Although some canoe friends are muttering about paddling the Goulais this weekend – I think they are just hanging on to old habits. There has to be a better way to enjoy a snowstorm!

As soon as the snow started last week the phone calls and emails inquiring about our lodge accommodations increased – always takes a bit of the inevitable to get people thinking about their ski holidays! I’ve noticed a lot more snowshoe fans there too – and it’s not just indicative of an aging population. Lots of people are discovering the joys of the lowly snowshoe!

We have always had snowshoes here to kit people out with – but last year we could have used a few more pairs. I’m still a big fan of our favourites – Northern Lites, they are really light and easy to wear and virtually indestructible. They inspired my “Trekkie” title to this post because they are made out of a specific type of aluminum frame and Hyplar fabric certain space satellites are composed from….. feel like feathers on your feet, very unobtrusive. Great for warmer days too because snow won’t stick to the bottoms, or ride on top of the platform.

Snowshoes enable us to walk in deep snow – therefore no “trail” should be needed! I find it strange that many resorts map out, sign and encourage their guests to march along hard-packed trails that other snowshoers have made – it is so much more comfortable to make your own trail through deep snow, less percussive and after a while because of the lack of resistance it feels as if you are floating.  Yes, it’s always helpful to have a small group of friends along, to take turns being the leader, as it can be a tiring exercise in deep snow to make a fresh track .. but here’s another upside to the exercise of making your own path – you will never get lost! Just turn around and follow yourself home.

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!

….and a wonderful weekend it was …..

Lop – It – Good, 2011 …although strangely deficient in the usual litany of expected environmental assaults, present at most gatherings of this stubborn tribe – tribulations such as severely cold rain,snow-storms, sprained ankles and sticks-in-the-eye, our hardy band of companions braved the benevolently weird weather and made good use of the weekend! (perhaps those Old Tricksters have realised they’ve been throwing too much at us lately – and are wooing us with kindness … whatever the reason, we’ll take it!)

Much was Done, and It was Good. All of the North Face Runs were well-swept, with just a few blow downs to clear. (Gee, must have been because the “wind was blowy”, eh Mike?) …and the messy tangle at the bottom of Snakey Jake was reconstituted, to re-claim a gorgeously long run!
Marky-Mark found us a new and easy route over the top of Lois’ Lane that will go a long way to saving our knees, (or what’s left of ’em) as well as our precious winter daylight time in climbing over to Big Music and the rest.
Thanks to Tom, Moccasin Mike, Alar, Eerik, Ryan, Mark, Chris, Sandi, Ginger, Mike, Aaron, Brian, Bruiser, Kirby, Lois, Mike E., Luna, and Dan for staying safe and Lopping it Good!
Many thanks also to the stylin’ support team of Betty, Bert, Carolyn, Rick, Deven, Kevin and Jeff who helped the after party glow even brighter.
And to the rest (you know who) – we spoke of you fondly and missed your presence, although we know you were with us in spirit. Thank you – we’ll see you soon.

By the way – whoever heard me musing about how much I wished I had a feather-light and warm fall jacket, preferably fire-engine red, and made by Spyder – thanks for leaving it here for me. You must be my Secret Santa! whoo-hoo!

October always follows April.

Gosh darn, the world has just been rotating too fast again. October is here!?

However I refuse to  feel embarrassed about being so remiss about posting to this blog; good ol’ gal Summer was so verdant and bounteously beautiful this year I even found it difficult to come inside to sleep.  If it’s possible the Mayan calendar is right about what’s coming in 2012, well then, this surfeit of natures’ abundances must be the fireworks finale!

Not that Nature acted alone – we worked hard in our garden this year, coddled the tomatoes with enhanced heat keepers and waged war with the blister beetles to keep the potatoes safe. Several hours of serious picking rewarded our freezer and jam shelves with wild blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Haven’t seen my bear all summer – they are all too fat to navigate the evils of the ‘burbs.

So yes, I could have written here in early May to tell you about the insistent and obtuse black bear who tried to bite his way into the house one evening – and how I had to vacate a lovely hot epsom salt bath to go and wack it with the porch broom to get it to de-sist …… or about the most amazing meteor we saw one night at dusk in June, possibly it was the space station, so large and bright ….. and I’m sure you would have liked to see a picture of the 2 ft. wide snapping turtle that hung out here in July. Or the huge waves we played in on Lake Superior in August. Or read a thrilling account of what happened to the young Cooper’s Hawk that Bill fished out of Saw Pit Bay that was happily resuscitated with a Tilley hat and a sock (September). In fact, I would have been chained to this keyboard … because something intriguing and beautiful in my favourite world of outdoors happened pretty much every day, all summer long.

But it’s not too late to tell you Fall is now here in full dress – and is continueing to follow the same pattern of excess – leaf colours are so bright and sky is SO blue that it hurts the eyes! …and what I speak of is Right Now – Right Here. (Yay! …Be Here Now!)  So I guess I can say this is my sorry attempt to span the months – but I’m sure, dear Blog,  you didn’t even miss me! Perhaps now that we have emerged from the Age of Dial -Up to the era of Hi-Speed I’ll feel like playing with you more often.

Post-Snowflea 2011


In the face of World and Weather Adversity – we pulled it off!

15th Annual Telefest has been and gone!

Thanks to all (32) of you who made it through the Wicked Winds of the West, the swaying Bridges of Michigan County, and the disheartening possibility of bulletproof Crème Brulé Crust on all your favourite backwoods mounds of whipped topping. And to those of you who braved it through the trauma of car packing, work ducking, and bribing the dog, kid, and house sitters, only to be met with total white-outs, road closures and extremely unco-operative border guards – I say to you;

You were missed, and toasted, and your personal sacrifice was duly noted and will be laid out before the feet of the Heikki, Loki and all the other Trickster-spirits to ensure fair play for the next time you venture out into the Elements!

Friday’s storm deposited enough soft skiffs into the forest crevices to allow most of the snow hoppers to enjoy the day. The snowshoe crowd was proudly self-sufficient, and made tracks to all of the lookouts and ridges long before the sunset chased them back to enjoy the sauna. Although most of the south-facing slopes were downright skitter – scary, after lunch we took the lovely flat-land tour to the bottom of the North Face Runs, where the fresh snow had collected in a most gratifying way on most of the tele-slopes.

Teija was our amazing chef of the weekend, and created incredible edibles with a minimum of fuss and bother. Right from the delectable harvest soup – to barbequed turkey wraps, 4 huge trays of pasta shells, and a multitude of free range and local berry pies and scrumptious muffins to complement egg strata on Sunday morning, we fed Iike bears getting ready to hibernate. It’s amazing we could even bend over to do up our bindings.  And to help us digest our Saturday night eating marathon, The Boothill Crooners royally entertained us with many surprisingly familiar yet musically twisted songs.

I believe a good time was had by all – if I’ve missed anything please pipe right up! (This is a blog that allows other comments, by the way ….. 😉

Snowflea Telefest is privileged to have great sponsors who provide generous swag for our participants (serious stuff – such as gear bags and packs, apparel, equipment, waxes, packs, and head lamps). Thanks to Dave Robinson at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto. Thank you to our local independent store owners here in Sault Ste. Marie who go far beyond retail in their mandate to provide support for people who love to be active in the great outdoors. Chris Theriault at The Duke of Windsor Sport Shop, Brad Phaneuf at Algoma Bicycle Company, Jan Roubal and the staff of Velorution, and Brenda at The Country Way Health Food Store all kindly support our telemark ski festival. Please visit these folks if you are in town – they are a wealth of information and enthusiasm.

Thanks to Gabrielle Bourbonnais who volunteered her help, and her fellow students and teachers Steve Foster and Conor Mihel of the Outdoor Recreation and Parks Program at Sault College for their interest and help in making our slopes safe and free of ankle-biting snags and pitfalls!

And last but definitely first, thanks to all of you, who against all the odds (and even with some odds) make it out for Snowflea. You rock(et)!

I didn’t get any photos this year – too busy having fun – so would appreciate any contributions, corrections or complaints. Heck, we’ll even be glad to receive kudos – what do you think?



Fall ’09

…Whew … finally got some time to figure out how to be a bloggette! I hope to post news here on a fairly regular basis – when life doesn’t get in the way! New around the lodge these days is a guy named Heikki – he’s a friend for Cedar, same breed mix of lab and retriever. We are enjoying his playful nature and escapades.
Our annual trail clearing weekend is still undecided – but we expect to have an impromptu weekend near the end of November.
more news soon – I promise!