POLAR VORTEX AND ALGONQUIN PARK WINTER ADVENTURES
As I write this on a windy and cold January night, the weather network has issued yet another “weather alert” advising of us that “another bitterly cold arctic air mass has once again invaded Algonquin Park and persist through the middle of the work week”. What a time to be heading out winter camping in Algonquin park !
Indeed, polar vortex or not, the show rolls on here at Algonquin Park with Voyageur Quest. Since early December, we have been hosting guests of all ages here at Algonquin Park access # 1 on our Algonquin lodge based winter adventures, dog sled trips as well as operating winter expeditions for a mix of schools , outdoor clubs and university groups.
What many may not realize is -25 while a little cool is perfectly normal for an Algonquin park winter day. While this kind of temperature scares the bejesus out of downhill skiers , -25 can be quite nice for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing which gets your heart rate pounding and your whole body moving, heating up.
Don’t get me wrong- we are not trying to sound non chalant or macho in normalizing these temperatures. This type of adventure can be dangerous if you are not prepared for it. Whether you re dogsledding, ski or snowshoeing- Algonquin Park winter adventure requires appropriate winter clothing – especially solid winter boots with a removable liner. But with the right clothing . temperatures with day time highs of -20 and night time lows of -30 can be enjoyable not to mention memorable. Often when it is cold, the night sky can be fantastic!
Shout out to our friends from Fleming College who visit us every January . In 2013, the temperature was -45 each night while the group camped in a hot tent in the Algonquin wilderness. This kind of night time temperature is extreme, even for Algonquin Park and some of the students were bothered by it. But the vast majority thought of the experience as unique, adventurous and a life memory. Sleeping in a hot tent is just that. Cozy, warm , with a wood stove pumping – even at forty five below.
This past week, when the Fleming bus arrived the thermometer read – 36c! For five days , the temperature went below -30 every night . And again, these students were amazing and the program was a ton of fun.
For those of you who like it a bit warmer, the good news is the coldest day is on average January 23 and is behind us. According to weatherspark.com Algonquin Park winter average low is -18 and average high -8.