That Fabulous Snow

Hail Brave Hearts

It’s an awesome day in wonderland.  The winter snow is fresh and soft, calling us to our great outdoors.  Adventure again, into the wilderness, for a day or two of winter play, winter fun and the joy of the playground of white.  Sliding skis push us past the open potholes of water.  We squeeze along narrow snow bridges that keep us out of the drink.  Along, along to a fine destination of winter backcountry fun in an isolated, remote chalet, ours for a couple of days.

The pristine great wild, in it’s outstanding winter splendor, welcomes us to fresh snow and warm winter temperatures.   A balmy -5 in mid January is a bit too warm for this time of year, but we welcome the change from the deep chill.  It’s selfish though.  Those days of -30 kill off overwintering bugs and larvae that ruin the forest and the forest itself is part of this great adventure.

We have the good fortune of seeing a female moose and her calf, three ptarmigan in winter white plumage and dippers flying under the snow bridges along the river.  We feel blessed.  Blessed for a Canadian holiday in one of our wild, protected places and blessed for the foresight of mountain pioneers who loved to roam the snowy slopes and who placed a fine chalet in it’s midst for our safety and enjoyment.  This is rare and the historical archives serve us well, in keeping these small huts open.

The day is warm and sunny and sun tanning in snow pits is an eternal joy.  The fabulous white blanket  covers the land and we happily try our best ski moves in this fun filled adventure.  Never too old, never too tired.  Die hards are we, and we relish the good fortune of years of practice for these special moments in these special places. Luckily, someone else has the responsibility for the maintenance of these isolated huts.  Tucked away in hard to find places, obscure locations that are hard to find, the upkeep is a chore but the reward for us is fantastic!

We meet other enthusiasts, heading up into the high powder bowls for a day of ski touring   Perfection!  Winter at it’s best.

This is the winter that we long for, the winter that we crave.  So many sports, so much activity, so many ways to enjoy a beautiful winter’s day.  The bright, shiny, clean snow.  The marvelous wildlife, the fun filled sports and enthusiastic company of humans who live to enjoy this annual promise of snow.   But with this unusual warm spell, brings another environmental concern, global warming.  It’s only -5 today in January.  An unheard of mild winter warm spell that lets us play for hours outdoors is also an unfortunate detriment to our winter wonderland.  The play is fabulous, but the winter won’t last during warm temperatures like this and rain will arrive sooner to wash it all away.

What is Climate Change? Crash Course Geography #14 – YouTube

Take the precautions to save us, oh great human.  There is still time.

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

 

Staycation

Staycation

Hail Brave Hearts

In our time of isolation and loneliness, the great adventure alludes us.  Where will our dreams take us on our earthly mission of journey and exploration.  Hail Brave Hearts, the adventure is here.

We seek the joy of holidays and vacation time, the sun and sand, the culture and cuisine, the history and the marvels of modern man.  We journey frequently to lands abroad, to seek the fulfillment of international travel.  We find enormous pleasure in speaking other languages, engaging in their conversation, frolicking in the fun of their tourist attractions.  We miss this immensely.  Cancelled flights, cancelled holidays, cancelled time away from all of the stress and routine.  Time for a change.  Time to break free of it all and escape to the holiday dream world of other lands.  We saved for this, planned for this.  This is our refuge and our right.  For those of us with home ownership in foreign lands, this pandemic is an outrageous atrocity, forcibly confining us to our homeland.

Here at home we stay.  Here at home we play!

As usual, the welcome winter spreads her cloak of magnificent snow all around the ground.  As usual, we pull on our best winter attire and most fun sporting gear and head for the great outdoors.  The winter has been mild and magnificent.  So much snow!  So many ice rinks and lakes to skate on, so many back country trails to glide along, so many downhill ski resorts to ski on, so much hockey to play.

The winter birds chirp and cheer us along as we smoothly sail through the forest.  The wildlife stare.  Our frustration with our confinement and solitude evaporates into the warm sunshine.  Fresh air and snow, warm winter breezes, sunscreen and winter fun.  Life is good.  It can’t get any better than this.  A back country ski lodge at the end of pleasant winter’s ski day.  Canadian gourmet to rave about.  Excellent snow conditions, fabulous scenery, family, friends, companions.  The twinkling starry night in the heavens above.  This is what Canada offers.  It’s thrilling!  So much so, that this kind of wilderness experience is sought after by many.  It’s a unique privilege, to cast your worries away and venture into a remote location, accessed by only those few who know about  it. One of those secrets that keep us healthy and happy and searching for more.  This kind of holiday is as good as it gets.  Canadian culture at it’s finest.

Now we head home, for more opportunity, leisure and fun.  Our sporting days in the great Canadian wild are never over.  We will never be done.  Just one more day, in this fabulous vacation land, to ski our day away.

Yet another perfect day.  The snow is soft and the ski runs are long.  The scenery is the majestic Rocky Mountains.  The views are incredible.  Due to pandemic bliss, the ski hill is full of people, but not as busy as it would otherwise be.  The lift lines are short.  There’s seating in the chalet.  There’s room at the Inn.

https://www.skibanff.com/play/events-calendar

Spending our time and money in our homeland, has been a good business practise for us.  Help stimulate the economy,  keep your neighbors employed,  enjoy the adventure of your own country.  It’s been a pleasure.  So much so, that I wonder if we’ll miss these no fuss days, without a line up anywhere, no traffic on the highway, endless vacant trails.  ,The bliss of having it all to ourselves.  This too shall end.

Hurray for the vaccine!

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

March 17, 2021

The Mighty River Flows

The Mighty River Flows

Hail Brave hearts

Yes, it’s here, the spring has arrived, in snowy, blustery style,  In like a lion, with  heavy snow falls, March has ended the winter with a cold snap, that keeps us bundled up and happy.  Of course, the summer will eventually come, but now the trails are white.  The forest floor is covered, a late spring, with no drought in sight.

The itch is on, to turn the seasons, pull out the canoe and test the current.  Ice flows passing with the water as the melting winter turns to spring.  Catch us in our history, as we wave farewell to winter, the icy highways turn to melt waters and the dangerous ice flows temp.  No  more the sleighs to speed us along the slippery, white rivers, now it’s canoes and boats and water craft, to take our time away.

Go back, fine fellows, to days gone by, to times of yesteryear.  To the fur trade and the brave at heart the times of the voyageur.  A dangerous time of year, this is, when winter turns to spring.  The trails are wet, the rivers are thin ice and the progress becomes slow.  Take a nap and wait a week, a well deserved holiday.  The harshness of this difficult time, will melt the winter away.  Soon the canoe will be laden, with supplies to take inland.  To visit with the natives and to find a brand new land.  Off come the winter fur coats, hats and mitts are stored.  Onto another adventure, to the watery highways of this world.

A well traveled route, the St. Lawrence, filled with Coureur de Bois.  One of the most dangerous occupations of that lifetime, to travel, explore and trade in the great unknown wild.

http://www.patrimoine-culturel.gouv.qc.ca/rpcq/detail.do?methode=consulter&id=25887&type=pge     Trois Riviers, Quebec

The canoes are large enough, they carry several men.  All trained and skilled in many ways, to tackle the obstacle at hand.  Come from far away, in European style, to make a living the hard way, adventure, in the Canadian wild.  A fearsome, mighty river, the St. Lawrence is cracking up.  Pretty soon, it will be show time, pack your bags and liven up.  No more naps or holidays, the spring torrents are flooding.  It’s an adventure too dangerous for us,  spring break up is not even for the daring.  Icy flows and chilly woes, we’ll wait for another day.  This is not the best of times, for watery, river play.

But if you were an itchy voyageur, with bills at home to pay, perhaps the tempting season, would  cast him adrift anyway.

A lovely camping trip, with lakes and rivers to follow, the Canadian rivers of highway, still bind us to our past.  Traditions of camping and canoeing, following well traveled routes.  Today, we love this great wild land and praise the nations splendor.  Our ancestors did a very fine job, of protecting and implementing the heritage that we covet today.  A land of unspoiled wonder, with historical routes to travel.  This is our fine country we still travel in style.  From winter sleigh to summer canoe, the adventure has never left us.

written by Dr.  Louise Hayes

April 18, 2018

Northern Ontario Canoe Trip,  The Nat River

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6ie5jptrgY
Winter Horse Races

Winter Horse Races

Hail Brave hearts

Enjoy the best, the wilds of winter put us to the test.  It’s dog sledding and snow shoes, skis and skates.  It’s winter camping and bonfires, with marshmallows and  hot chocolate.  It’s fireside in the cabin, cozy and warm, it’s darkness and quiet and wild winter storms.  The winter, at it’s best is the season of chill, with ice, frost, snow and wild winter storms to combat.  The fireside beckons, it calls us to be warm, come into this fine cabin to avoid the winter’s storm.  The cold winter’s icy blast, it makes our hearts sing, to have another snowfall, we’re blessed with these fun things.

Another invention, of horses and riders, take us back to our history of early colonial times.  A Quebec invention, horses, they say, becomes a competition of horse races in the winter.  Ride, you awesome champions, skilled and daring, mount your fine steeds for a flight along the icy river.  A unique experience in horsemanship and breeding, the new stock of racehorse was a special adaptation that kept it’s footing on the ice of the river.  A gaming day, to enjoy the sport, pull up your chair in minus temperatures and spend the day outside enjoying the show.

It’s early colonial times in Quebec, but this is Canada, after all.  Making the most of what life gives us, chilly cold, snow, ice and fun and the adventure of it all.

To be in a colony, so far away, from a homeland so remote, it lives in yesterday.  The future is dependent on the survival skills of all, fight off the loneliness, the questions, the gloom of despair.  Come out of your lodging, bring your chair.  Have fun in the winter, dress warmly and with layers.  Come out and enjoy this, we love it this way, with horses and snow and ice and sleigh.  Come sing, with high spirits, chase off the dark.  Enjoy this day of racing, gaming, and fun in the winter.

http://www.walkerswest.com/History/CanadianPacer.htm

The cold, the isolation, the small numbers of people, but tireless energy and determination to survive, to win at the odds of feeling cast aside.  Gather together, all you peoples, in community and spirit, chase away the dangers of illness and fear.  The numbers are still small, but we’re getting used to our lives, of hardship, deprivation, thrift and careful counting.  Make sure your larder will last until the next harvest.

Inventions are a must,  stretch your minds.  Think of something new, to make us better people.  We’re changing out here in a colony so rustic.  We’re becoming a people of our own.

Don’t look back, look forward, prepare and plan.  Become the genius we all know you can.  Invent the horse, play games anyway, invent your recipes, plan your stay.  The colony is forever, we can’t give it up, so make the most of it, live well, drink from this cup.  It’s a warm winter’s day, time for some fun, head off to the river to enjoy the race.

Written by Dr. Louise Hayes

February 21, 2018

Enjoy the Winter

Enjoy the Winter

Hail Brave hearts

Oh to the lucky ones, who walk these paths.  The great mighty river has presented it’s wonder.  The uproar of nature, a beautiful site, it catches us off guard.   It’s so impressive and different and interesting.  A phenomena of sorts, with it’s unusual beauty, we walk these paths often and have never seen this before.  The freeze, the thaw, the freeze, the thaw, the mighty river flows.  The enormous upheaval of ice and water, breaking up huge chunks of ice, as the river starts to flow.  This is January and a mild spell during the winter has created an unusual scene.  This area should be frozen solid and the thickness of the ice proves that it was, but the mighty river flows.  These ice pieces are about one foot thick and have been heaved all along the river bank.  It was a marvel to look at and to speculate the dramatic change that would have caused this.  For us, this powerful act of nature is new.  It’s exciting and beautiful and the power of the water is awesome to see.    This kind of ice break up is what happens in the spring, but this is the dead of winter, with temperatures hovering around zero.  Too warm to keep the river frozen and to keep the ice in place.  We should be able to walk along this river, but we can only walk along the ice shelf by the river bank.  Global warming and climate change are presenting winter to us in a dramatic new way.

It was only  a few weeks ago that we saw that the river was frozen and planned for a winter afternoon excursion. There’s value to seeing the park from the rivers.  It gives us new photographs and a new perspective of the mountains and the terrain.  Sometimes the walking is easier and with careful consideration of the dangers of ice travel, we stay near the shore, travel in groups and pay attention to the changing surface.

The river heaves and swells and the ice forms in dramatic flows like waves.  It’s dangerous and we stick to the shoreline.

We need the winter, with it’s cold and snow.  The fluffy white stuff is full of fun and winter is a favorite season.  The warmth has made it more fun, with less inside time drinking hot chocolate and  more outside time on the ski hill.  We play more with temperatures like this and it still snows!  The winter activity is good for our souls.  It pushes us to outside sports and to cautious winter travel.  It teaches us about nature in a different way, about weather and avalanche, snow travel and preparation.  It teaches us to be hardy and strong and to learn survival skills.  We love it this way!  The great white north, with all of it’s beauty, it’s back country cabins, pot belly stoves, tracked trails into the wilderness.  All of this presents it’s own dangers, thrills, unique experiences and exhilaration.  It’s magical and wonderful and full of winter fun.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-camping.html  –  Winter Camping

But now, something unusual.  Travel cautiously, oh brave hearts and enjoy the great winter.

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

January 30, 2018

 

Heavenly New Year

Heavenly New Year

Hail Brave hearts

Joy to you, in this awesome new year.  A year of hopes and dreams to fill.  Good luck to you with all of your plans, resolutions and pursuits.  The new year is upon us and it is with smiles that we carry on.  A warm winters day, a fun filled way to adventure.  Skating and skiing and joy in participation.  The easy relaxation of family and friends, social gatherings,  companionship and fellowship.  A new day, a new year, everything hopeful, bright with cheer.  In like a lamb, the new year is pleasing, warm and sunny, not bone chilling and freezing.  It’s wintertime, snowy and dark, but for us, this is outstanding.  Just cold enough to  keep the bears in hibernation, they sleep in their dens, and pass this season away.

The deep chill of Christmastime designed to keep you cooking, is now followed by the joy of the new year.  Smugly we skate, the ice is superb, tobogganing later is just what we need.  We fill our thermos with tea or soup and spend glorious hours in sun soaked snow pits.  A winter tan, sun screen is a must, the slopes call us to linger at the top of a mountain, enjoying a view that’s quite a climb in the summer.  We glide effortlessly out to the middle of a lake, to take the photos that we rarely see in the summer.  It’s a joy, this winter of blowing, biting snow.  We love it this way, winter wonderland don’t go.  Not yet.

https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/canada/articles/the-most-romantic-honeymoon-destinations-in-canada/

Not yet, in this dead time of winters darkest nights, with dazzling bright stars to guide us at night.  Don’t pass yet, as we wander with snowshoes in hand, to take on a river, impossible at other times.  The snow, the ice, the cold all help us, to explore the great wild at a time when the animals are less dangerous.  They lay and watch us, but no one is mating, the call of a championship duel is no longer heard.  Silenced are the males, their courtship has ended and now quiet in winter with snow softly falling, we strap on our snowshoes to tackle the trail.  The endless white beauty, of the soft winter snow, the clear, chilly air, that makes it all possible.  At the best of times it’s nothing but play and we know that when the storms come, they send snow our way.

It’s joy to us, we sing the praises of this season.  Smiles, hot chocolate, winter gear and cold.  It’s just what we wanted.  Go up to the skihill for a day of fresh air.  The northern lights are streaming, they fill up the sky, with a wonder so stunning, it captures our eyes.  Brilliant displays of colors in heaven, so fascinating and captivating.   The stars shine brightly, the moon is full, put on your headlamps and go out for an evening skate.  The temperatures are mild, only -10 and the hour of exercise is relaxing and pleasant.  Surprisingly, we had company that night, families with children in sleighs and on skates.  The fire was burning, a warm place to rest.  It’s wintertime and it’s warm out, this is the best.

written by Dr. Louse Hayes

January 3, 2018

The Horse Drawn Sleigh

Hail brave hearts

From long ago, in our glorious past, a sled was born, to slide the winter blues away.  No more trudging through the snow, the sleigh gave birth to a new kind of day.  Winter wonderland once more, the land was conquered by man and animal.  Teams of horses, teams of dogs, led the way across the snow.  The brilliant, glittery, fluffy stuff is part of our fun filled days.  Oh for a ride on a horse, but instead an open sleigh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sled

A team of powerful animals, groomed and trained in draft, quickly become our glorious present, from an inspiring past.  The sleigh will take you places that you always want to go.  Mostly over hill and dale and always through the snow.  This romantic lifestyle beacons to us, come to join the ride.  A wagon in the summer, in winter  a sleigh to rush and glide.  The winter is upon us, a favorite of seasons no doubt.  Along the windy, snowy path, the horses and the sled pull out.  The jingle of the bells, their harness is gleaming with polish.  We hear their music in the air and smile and run to the road.  A wave at the passing sleigh, filled with tourists delighting their day.  A pleasant reminder of days gone by, when horse and sleigh were the mode of transportation.   Now in the eve of wintertime, when the solstice quietly passes.  The winter is here already, get out and join the masses.

 

 

 written by Dr. Louise Hayes
December 22, 2017
A Man’s Best Friend

A Man’s Best Friend

Hail brave hearts.

Your company is here!  Fast and furry, friendly and happy, this is your very best friend.  Your dog is your companion for life.  Easy to care for, easy to please, all they want is a warm home, to be fed, and to be included in all of your life.  We have nurtured the companionship of dogs for a long, long time.

A trainable friend, a fiercely loyal companion, a lovable pet, your dog is a strongly supportive part of your life and your family.  Train him to do whatever he can, fetch a ball, play with sticks, swim in the lake, take a walk, guard the premises, guard you, pull your sleigh, be your business, own the  company, take him wherever you can.  This is not just a pet, this is a big part of the family.  This is the pet that can be your eyes, alert you to danger, pull you to safety.  This is the pet that can be trained to be a working dog, taking care of the disabled, protecting the property, protecting the people.  This is the pet that lives for you, you are all of his life and it can be a wonderfully fulfilling time of mutual companionship.  Take the dog for a walk, to play in the park, to stroll down the street, to meet your friends.  This is an important part of his day.  A little fresh air, some exercise, the walk will do  both of you some good.

Dogs are with us in history, helping us to build a nation.  Sled dogs carrying people and supplies, opening trade and transportation routes, bringing people together in a sparsely populated country, where no roads had gone before.  Great explorers like David Thompson, used the sled dog to carry him across the country,  adventuring and exploring along the way.

 

 

Train the dog to be a part of a team, pulling the sled, running for joy.  Most dogs welcome the activity of a good run and the dog team is a companion sport, dogs and humans in the cold winter time, speeding across the countryside together in a sleigh.  It’s an age old sport of Canadian history.  Run the dog team to an adventure, to exploration, to connect to one another.  It’s an unusual and clever idea, to hitch a dog to the sleigh, run him over to the neighbors farm, over hill and over dale, running through the snow.  The fast, light dogs enjoy this too.  They can run for hours through the snow.  Winter coats and hats, boots and pants, pull on your warm attire.  The season of winter fun is here.

This is a sport that you might want to try, just to experience the historical culture of the nation.  Imagine being the master of a dog team, sliding along in the wintry chill, sled piled high with trading goods, to sell at your next stop.  How far will it be today?  20 kilometers only, or maybe an all day stint, rushing through the forest, sliding across the lake, the trade routes are open, come out all of you, to experience the skills  that a life like this  would take.

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

December 17, 2017

It’s Hockey Time

It’s Hockey Time

Hail Bravehearts

Now is the time, when you’re young and free, a time to learn a skill and a time to play.  This is the time of your life.  An adventure is here, it’s waiting for you, an all Canadian sport that is precious to us.  Play!  For the time of your life, play!  The great Canadian wild beacons to us, the ice is here, it’s strong enough, grab your skates, your hockey sticks, a proud sports hero might come of this.  Play!  The air is chilly the ice is thick, the ducks have flown and the quiet of winter is calling to us.  The world has changed in this frigid climate, the bears are denned, the dear retreat, the goose have flown and soon the snow will pile high.  Now is the time for ice skating on the lakes, hockey and fun, chilly with hot chocolate on a chilly fall day, refreshing and cool, we can play for hours in this quiet pre-Christmas time.

Each season has it specialties, but the month of November is so underrated.  The doldrums of grey, which is not yet winter, but cold and dreary.  The trees have dropped their leaves, the harvest is in, the pantry is full and the feast is over.   Snow is in the mountains now, with rain in the valley, but freezing overnight, to keep the ice solid.  It’s the early season start to a great Canadian winter.  Still warm enough for lighter coats, but chilly enough for snow.  It’s a time for baking and winter shopping, Christmas is coming and find a tree.  November is grey, but the ice is here,bringing it’s winter sports to us in an exciting and refreshing and spirited way.

On these chilly autumn days, when the ice is clear, you can see to the bottom of the lake, to view the lake foliage, sometime swimming fish, sand, rocks and weeds.  A new perspective  or a simple pleasure, ice skating is a superb pastime for sport and fun.  It’s early in life that we learn these skills, how to skate, pass a puck, hold a hockey stick,be a part of a team.  That’s it!  Be a part of a team!

Come out all of you, come out to play, the frost and the ice are calling you.  Bring your helmets and your skates, we need you for the team.  From the time that you were a little tot the ice has called your name.  The outdoor skating rink is one of winter’s finest feats of sporting pleasure.  To glide on the ice, to try tricks and spins, to enjoy the company of friends and family.  This cool dreary November has become a dazzling delight, of fresh fallen snow, ice and sport, hockey and friends.

We move with ease from one season to another, each with it’s great outdoor specialties and indoor charm.  We’re thrilled with the enthusiasm for the November chill, it only gets better from here.

written by Dr. Louise Hayes

November 26, 2017

The Great White Mountains

The Great White Mountains

Hail Bravehearts

It is with great pleasure that this winter is warm and snowy, and that it brings us sport.  Fabulous pleasure, a great day for a ski.  Downhill skiing is the easiest sport in the world.

The balmy mountain weather hovers above -10.  A warm, sunny February, brings us out of our snug homes, to smile and greet yet another sunny day.  Stay home this winter, no need to travel south.  As the snow birds fly away each year, to sunny summer climates, in the warm tropics, those hearty winter lovers, stay home, for the delightful winters time.  Peace to us all.  This is a great one.

The drive to find snow, this year, has made this an easy, more carefree year.  The pussy willows are out, a sapling in a warm spot has started to bud,  the snow melts on the sidewalks, energy bills plummet.  Global warming is a nuisance. It brings too much cold in the East and fabulous, warm, sunny skies in the West.

A day on the slopes, warm enough to stay out all day!  Our weekly snowshoe day has taken us on excursions to find that soft fluffy snow. We lather on sunscreen and snowshoe in our shirts.  Too warm for winter coats.  The birds sing to us as we pass and flocks gather in the trees.

It’s beautiful and warm and a day on the ski hill is just so easy.  No frostbite, no frozen cheeks, no frost beards, or icicle eyelashes.  No chalet skiing, from days too cold to stay outside.  No complaints of frozen toes and frozen fingers, too long in food lines and too long drinking hot chocolate.  The warm winter weather gives us a boost of excitement. We can play outside in the snow!

I push off from my spot at the top of the mountain and fly down my usual terrain.  Easy, easy, it’s just so exhilarating. After thirty years of this, skiing is easier than walking.  The mountain is so familiar, I know these runs well. Perfectly groomed, all the holes have been patched and we compliment the groomers on yet another year of snow moving, that makes the mountain more enjoyable and less dangerous.  No slipping over rocks and crashing down the hill.  No entanglements with saplings as they catch your skis.  No snow monsters or snow snakes, tripping you on your way.  No, this is just perfect.  It’s a perfect day for a ski.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilRI4zKoBPo  extreme skiing

Global warming has it’s drawbacks, we gloat to one another, as the snow is starting to fall.  Our winter wonderland of fluffy white stuff is now a drive away.  Smiles and nods as the weather is co-operative.  The roads are open. Tourists flock to us and fill our town.  Trapped.

I know that the joy of today, is the doom of tomorrow, as our glaciers are slipping away.  As yet another natural wonder crashes off the mountain, and our water supply is threatened. That harsh reality will rear it’s head again this summer.  But for now, push off that mountain and glide your way along those dreamy snow covered slopes.  Fill your mind with winter.  Winter fun and winter play and how much we still adore it.

Written by Dr. Louise Hayes

March 2, 2016