Real Winter

It’s been a while since I last posted because I’ve been doing a bit of hibernating due to the bitterly cold and snowy weather. We’ve had our fair share of sunshine this winter too, so sitting inside, in the sun, is something that I’m enjoying.

Both Saturday and Sunday this weekend were outstanding sunny days, with light winds, so I headed out for a couple of longer walks. It was cold, but I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable, since the sun is getting stronger every day now.

Next week is the big Fishing Derby, probably the most active day for this little town all winter. There will be hundreds of people out on Horne Lake taking their best shot at catching the longest fish in the three hour period that the Derby runs for. People come from all over the province to enter this Derby and it’s no secret why. The first prize will likely be in the neighborhood of forty thousand dollars.

However, weather does play a key role in this Derby and, if it’s not favorable, it could really put a damper on things. Last year we had a very cloudy winter. I could count the sunny days we had on one hand. Still, we did get one of those sunny days for the Derby. This year, we’ve had all kinds of sunny days, and many of them on the weekends too, so I’m wondering how long this kind of luck can hold out.

I don’t do any fishing these days, there’s just too much regulation for my liking, but my brother and my son have expressed interest in coming up for the Derby, so weather will definitely play a big role if that is to happen. All we can do is wait, because relying on the long term forecast is the worst kind of joke up here, and even the day before forecast is not a slam dunk, so there might be a bit of risk taking involved.

Anyway, I was certainly happy to take advantage of the magnificent weather we had this weekend. Let next weekend take care of itself.
Here’s what I was able to enjoy today;

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Walking down Hillside Dr. towards town, you can see that they keep the sidewalks pretty clear during the winter. They don’t use too much salt around here though, mostly sand. They will use salt on certain critical areas, but the secondary roads are usually just plowed and a thin, hard layer of snow/ice forms on them. Studded tires are recommended.

It doesn’t take me all that long to walk from town into the bush. It’s not a big town and it’s in the middle of a very remote area, so any direction you take from town will soon lead into the wilderness.

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Here you can see animal tracks heading into the bush, probably a fox. I did see a fox later in this walk, but I was unable to get a picture of it because it was very camera shy, and also because I didn’t really have my camera set up properly to take the shot.

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There’s a lot of snow on the ground this winter, unlike last winter. I’d say there’s probably three feet right now. Any time I walk off the road or the snowmobile trail, I sink up to my waist. I’ve tried the snowshoe thing and it’s not for me, but snowmobile trails are great to walk on and very firm.

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This is what the secondary roads look like up here. It’s basically a sheet of hard packed snow/ice. The main highway is clear though, at least for now.

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Milliken Mine Road is one of my favorite places to walk in the winter. It’s pretty quiet and there are always wonderful sights to see.

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It’s a pretty good hike to get up here, so I very rarely see anyone else walking. I’d say I put about 15km on my feet today.

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With scenery like this, plus the quiet of the forest, it’s really worth the walk to me. If you look real close at this picture, you will see the moon up there.

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Here’s a better shot of that daytime moon.

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The foxes are really busy in this area. There are tracks criss-crossing all over the open areas and in the forest too.

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This is part of the Sherriff Creek Sanctuary. It’s probably the most popular area, that’s close to town, for hiking.

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The snowmobile trails up here are in excellent condition right now, with a very good base. They are groomed regularly by a huge, new grooming machine that was just purchased last year.

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The snowmobile trails are quite hard and well packed down, so they make an excellent walking surface.

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They are everywhere, and they go for hundreds of kilometers, so I could never run out of places to walk. I did meet a number of riders on the trail today, but they are never a problem, since I can hear them coming from a long ways away.

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Here’s where the trail crosses Horne Lake. Right here is where they will be holding the Fishing Derby next weekend, and there will be over seven hundred holes drilled in the ice. The snowmobile trail will be closed for this event.

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Speaking of ice, this is one year that no one will need to be concerned about falling through the ice. I’ll bet that ice is two feet thick after all the bone chilling temperatures we’ve had this winter. Also, there’s probably about two feet of snow on top of that.

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Still walking along Horne Lake.

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My friend here, at the Miner’s Monument, looks a little on the cold side.

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He will have lots of company next Saturday, just behind him there on the lake. This town will be jam packed with fishing enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes.

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This is the Miner’s Monument parking lot. They close it in the winter because the snowmobile trail runs through it, for those who do not want to ride across the ice.

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Here’s a young fella riding his ATV on the lake. I was really surprised, because that snow is fairly deep, but he was doing just fine. Not as fast as a snowmobile but, in my mind, a better investment for both summer and winter use.

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The highways, and walkways, of the north in winter. By the way, don’t let them catch you riding an ATV on these snowmobile trails. You’ll be lynched in the bushes, and someone will find your frozen body hanging from a tree.

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