While some of us witness this change in temperature and develop a growing sense of forboding of the long cold nights to come, the shovelling of snow, the trudging through slush, I say phooey. We live in Canada, we are blessed with four distinct seasons and I am personally rejoycing now that winter has finally arrived.
When I tell this to some of my friends and my partner’s collegues, most look at me like I have two heads. Winter is tough they say. Well now, I must admit this is true! While guiding at the log cabin it means for earlier mornings to stoke the fire, it means more layering and delayering to go in and out of the cabin, it means shovelling ice rinks and forming luge runs, and finally it means longer darker nights. This though, all of this, I JUST LOVE IT!!!
Winter is the time of cozying up to a crackling fire, bundling up in comfy layers to head out and fully appreciate the winter wonderland that is Algonquin Park, going for a torchlit skate on a frozen lake with nobody around but the owl hoots/distant wolf howls, and also the time for spectacular displays of stars with the occasional northern lights. Winter is a blessing in disguise. If you take the time to recognize the disguise and peel it away, you get to realize just what a marvelous beauty of snowblanketed trees, deathdefying luge runs, smooth cross country ski trails, and warm hearty meals that this season can provide for us.
The winter holidays this year were a lesson in contrasts. For the first time on our 20 + years of operation, we had a green Christmas. This made for canoeing on Suprise Lake, yet we built a quincy (much like an igloo if you are a winter camping novice) on New Years Eve and sat around a roaring bonfire as we counted in the New Year! There were plenty of peaceful and serene moments, but don’t let that fool you. Before the holidays were over I had personally experienced three tumbles on my cross country skis (the continual blankets of soft pillowy snow I was greatful for), the thrilling rush as I zipped down our luge track through the woods with a 58 year old father in front of me on the sled, and the heartpounding exertion of piggybacking a 6 year old up a lookout on snowshoes.
As I sit here recounting these fantastic experiences, I fully recognize that while I can describe and explain them to others, people can’t fully understand without experiencing it all themselves. Winter is a chore. It is difficult. It is cold! Of course that will naturally turn people off if this remains your sole experience, but as I stated earlier, phooey to all of that! Expand your possibilites and learn to be a child again. Remember when winter was fun? Snowball fights, mom helping you out of your snowsuit while you desperately needed to pee, and building a snowman bigger than yourself. If you are reading this, I challenge you to get out and live winter! It doesn’t have to be in Algonquin (although if one or two of you could come up to Voyageur Quest it would ensure that I still have a job by the end of the winter), but get out there and experience the fun, the cold, the snow, the crackling fire, the hearty bowl of steaming stew, the sharpness of a clear Feburary night, the silence of a blanketed forest. Just get out there!!!
And watch your back… cause now that there is snow I am packing snowballs and I am a crackpot shot 😉