Posts Tagged winter

Spring, Are We There Yet?

Springtime paddle  It is the middle of March and the fatigue has set in and there are little reserves. The rainy season that begins when the taps open in October and pour steadily until at least April is nearly at a close, but not without a last-minute blast of winter. Weird rain that we never see out here on the wet coast, they called it snow. Is that right, is that the right word? It did that for three days straight and put my little island and the inhabitants thereof into a right tizzy brought about by power outages causing the inability to live normal lives and make coffee. Then, just as it began to melt, it snowed one more time to rub salt in the wound.

Should we complain? Yes, I feel the right to gripe about the weather even though most of this past winter was hardly a burden. Very little rain, the temperatures were mild as could be and only until the last weeks has it been, well, weathery! Ah, yes the fatigue of winter almost completely erased with that first slap in the face of sunshine that packs some warmth with it. I felt that this week so it must be all over. Time to break out the t-shirts and sandals and chill with morning cups on cafe patios while pondering what island to paddle the kayak to that day. Oh, wait the sun has been stopped by a passing cloud. Illusions damaged and time to retire indoors. I saw my shadow, I’m screwed! We are not there yet!

I had a year without kayaking and am feeling the loss from not spending time in my boat. Work and an injury caused the need to hang up the paddle for a season. Needless to say, I am itching to get on the water with my lack of strength and a newly restored and varnished kayak. Any window will do and the other morning, early with only a half cup of coffee fueling me I paddled a short 8K against a minor current on calm waters. Above me and around me I could see why we are not exactly there yet. To the north, where a small but chilly breeze was building was blue skies with snow-capped mountains on Vancouver Island looking mighty inviting as scenery goes. To the south as shown in the photo above, the signs of a new rainy day coming my way. Back to the northerly view, a stream of dark grey clouds blowing at a fast pace like a curtain at the end of a line, pulled over the blue. The fight inside me for the need for springtime was being played out in the skies above. Who will win, Blue or Grey? Only time will tell, and the forecast calls for wind and rain all weekend long so I better enjoy it while it lasts.

In a month, all this whingeing will be but a memory, as will the shock caused by freak snow storms and chilly temperatures, and heavy rains. The sun again hit my face today giving me hope that it will soon be over. The fatigue of winter is still clinging to my fringes, and I am the bear stretching and cranky after a winter cooped up in the cave where I will hibernate for the weekend and wait for the sun predicted to come back early next week. Are we there yet?

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Above the Clouds

After a few days of Salt Spring Island being held hostage by a lingering fog it was time to rise above it with a hike. The best escape from the damp cold hovering at sea-level was to hike to the top of the island’s notable landmark, Mt. Maxwell. Below us the fog bank moved, rose and fell, and played in the moving air caused by this thermal inversion. As we hopped from one rocky ledge to the next in search of the ultimate place to park in the sunshine we could not believe it was January as it could easily be confused with a springtime walk. The inversion created rising waves of air and our layers of clothing fell away in the long lingering hours of sunbathing. If this blog posts offends the rest of the country gripped and unfortunate in its dealings with ‘real’ winter, or comes across as another example of the annual west coast gloating, well it is a risk I take.  Love me or resent me, here is what I saw from the three mountain perches was enjoyed all afternoon.

Hiking up out of the fog to several ledges for some well-deserved mid-winter sunshine. Photo by Dave Barnes

Hiking up out of the fog to several ledges for some well-deserved mid-winter sunshine.
Photo by Dave Barnes

The sun highlights the ebbing tide in the narrows separating Salt Spring Island from Vancouver Island. Photo by Dave Barnes

The sun highlights the ebbing tide in the narrows separating Salt Spring Island from Vancouver Island.
Photo by Dave Barnes

An afternoon watching the fog rising, falling and flowing below our perch.

An afternoon watching the fog rising, falling and flowing below our perch.

Rising fog at the mouth of the narrows and a perfect winter sunset. Photo by Dave Barnes

Rising fog at the mouth of the narrows and a perfect winter sunset.
Photo by Dave Barnes

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Winter’s Chill

Winter’s chill made an early surprise attack on my little island freezing pipes and icing roads. We even had a minor dusting of snow the other morning that brought joy to some and panic to others. Though the snow barely settled before it was but a memory of winter’s past the chill has remained for days. About a month early for these parts and my weekend was spent partly attending to west coast winter dilemma such as rummaging about the workshop looking for that lost chicken coop heat lamp. There is nothing sadder than the scene of a chicken beak-frozen to the water trough. Alas, I take it with humour because it could be worse. December on Salt Spring Island usually means wet winter storms, high winds and power outages. I will always take a clear and chilly winter day.

With Christmas sneaking up fast and a space cleared in the living room of our cabin to be filled shortly with a tree the items under it wrapped with care and my anticipation of happiness at their giving, it is those items that cannot beat the gift of a Sunday morning coffee and a spontaneous outing to the woods at the south of the island with good company. What we found with our cameras was worth being pulled from the warmth of a coffee shop to standing chilly on the fringes of an icy lake and waterfall. Here is a sampling of what we found.

Ice forms on stones in waterfall pools. Photo by Dave Barnes

Ice forms on stones in waterfall pools.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Waterfall spray freezes over surrounding moss and leaves. Photo by Dave Barnes

Waterfall spray freezes over surrounding moss and leaves.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Nothing escapes the freeze. not even a sapling. Photo by Dave Barnes

Nothing escapes the freeze. not even a sapling.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Only in Canada, eh. Photo by Dave Barnes

Only in Canada, eh.
Photo by Dave Barnes

On a morning that I wished I had brought the macro lens for all the small textures that nature presented. Photo by Dave Barnes

On a morning that I wished I had brought the macro lens for all the small textures that nature presented.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Frozen water wishing to flow as the water moves freely below.  Photo by Dave Barnes

Frozen water wishing to flow as the water moves freely below.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Wooden pallets make a bridge to the swimming dock used all summer by nudists at a local lake. No chilly behinds to be found today! Photo by Dave Barnes

Wooden pallets make a bridge to the swimming dock used all summer by nudists at a local lake. No chilly behinds to be found today!
Photo by Dave Barnes

A shot from the space shuttle, no. Lovely textured ice on the surface of the lake. Photo by Dave Barnes

A shot from the space shuttle, no. Lovely textured ice on the surface of the lake.
Photo by Dave Barnes

Roots frozen into the ice reeds stand tall on the lake edge. Photo by Dave Barnes

Roots frozen into the ice reeds stand tall on the lake edge.
Photo by Dave Barnes

A cool winter wind met me for this shot, but it was too good to pass up. Photo by Dave Barnes

A cool winter wind met me for this shot, but it was too good to pass up.
Photo by Dave Barnes

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