Hail Brave hearts
The big chill is storming us. Cold snow has arrived. From the cozy interior of our homes, we think big. Winter fun! This is one of the best times of the year!
A frozen river to occupy the afternoon. Crisp winter weather at -10 is a welcome change to the blistery cold that makes this day possible. The continued overnight lows below -20 keeps the ice cold and thick enough for our weight. Caution though. These rivers have rapids, the water is swift flowing and sometimes is too fast to freeze thoroughly.
Today’s adventure is along a river to a sought after view. The wide expanse is fully frozen now and our group walk with ease along the covered water. Ice is welcome now as we snowshoe this path. An opportunity that will only present itself in the awesome winter.
We pick our way to the bottom of the river bank and walk with relative ease along the snow covered water. All the while remarking on our good fortune to have this chance to explore an area that is never available to us. The thickets of willow and stands of evergreen show us locations of ground and islands along this braided stretch of waterway. Animal tracks appear in the snow and the tiny creatures hide from our view. We are mainly walking on the gravel flats between the river channels, so we are more safe in our travels. River travel can be perilous with areas of thin ice throughout.
There’s an interesting formation of hills and valleys all along the river bank. Walking would be difficult in this area due to undulating land formations of steeply cut hills reaching to the river sides without much river bank to follow. Our destination is a canyon, 7 km up river which is impossible to reach at other times of the year. Our good fortune is the deep freeze.
This year our temperatures plunged to an awful -50 overnight during the Christmas holiday season. Four days of icy blasts with daytime highs of -35 kept us busy with indoor games and indoor holiday cheer. Now the result is a wintery wonderland with the fun of river travel. which is not always available to us. Oddly and usually, the good comes with the bad. Today is overcast and light snow is falling. This is a surprise to us, since no one had noticed snow in the forecast. It might be a localized squall. However, this is good also, since we need the snow to keep us skiing, snowshoeing and enjoying the fabulous fun of the season. We also need the snow for our spring melt and moisture.
The snowfall is increasing and visibility is declining. Open patches of river can be seen ahead. We have to call off our plans for today, with only 1.5 kms remaining. Oh well. Luckily for us -30 is in the forecast for the next 3 days and we will have the good fortune of more deep freeze. The open areas of this river should freeze again and we plan for another trip to this area next week.
Meanwhile, the ski hill has received more snow. It’s all good. A change of scene and a change of game. Winter has been wonderful to us.
Written by Dr. Louise Hayes
February 24, 2023