Winter perspectives.

This year, winter in Winnipeg has been brutal.  I have held off on this post for a while now, because the cold is one of those things that you really don’t want to draw attention to, at least while you’re still going through it.  Instead, it’s better to just focus yourself on getting through it day by frigid day, breath by frosty breath.

But – we survived!  I sat on the frozen riverbank just the other morning basking in the sun’s forgotten warmth, and it seriously felt like I was getting a tan at -4 Celsius.

But for all its extremity, winter is also beautiful and should be appreciated.  If nothing else, the contrasting season makes us appreciate the others even more.  The presence of the birds and squirrels; the smell of the thaw; the feel of the wind on bare skin…these small things are a sensory delight after months of hibernation.

For respite, a lot of people living here follow the birds’ lead and fly south to the Caribbean, to lay on the beach and have a love affair with the sunshine.  Contrarily, I like to rent a cabin in the woods and find a quiet beauty next to the perpetually stoked wood stove.  This year was exceptionally cold, with temperatures hovering between -40 and -25 Celsius, not even accounting for the wind gusting to 80 km/h.  Humbled, through the windows we watched visibility come and go, thankful for our warm little sanctuary.

Desolate Prairie Highway

Who says driving on the prairies always induces yawns?  A road that drifts in and out of view certainly keeps you alert.

Distant island, sometimes visible.

Arrived at the cabin, a distant island fades in an out of view as gusts of wind whip snow up on Falcon Lake.

Ski trail closed.

Despite the conditions board still saying that this cross country ski trail was groomed and good shape, I think the trail was closed for the day.

Sun shadows across windswept ice.

After a day of stormy weather, a high pressure system settled. Despite the rays, the temperature plummeted even further. Notice the trail marker in the bottom right. Also notice the lack of trail amidst the shadows cast across the windswept ice.

Frosty Thermometer

The air temperature reads -35 degrees Celsius at this point. It’s cold out there. And no, that’s not even the lowest we saw the mercury drop.

Icicles on roof's edge.

Icy contrast.

Warmth in a coffee cup.

We actually spent quite a bit of time outside, but knowing we could return to a warm and cozy cabin to warm our bones sure helped. A good cup of coffee every day was also part of the thawing-out routine.

Bare footprints in snow.

It was a cold dash to the hot tub on the porch…

Winter hot tubbing.

…but once settled in it was so worth it.

Falcon Trails Sunset Cabin.

Falcon Trails’ Sunset Cabin at sunset. It is nicely nestled in amongst the trees and wildlife.

Outer layers.

A solid outer layer is essential. So is a base layer and something thick in the middle. Getting dressed takes a considerable amount of time in the winter.

Snowshoeing together.

We knew of a shelter on the edge of High Lake, and decided to snowshoe out to it one day. Look, we made it!

Blue jay watching.

Usually there are lots of birds in this area, even in the winter. This year only the larger birds were out though – I think the smaller ones would have blown away had they done the same. Here, a blue jay watches closely through the falling snow.

Snow, on snow, on snow.

Snow, on snow, on snow. Watching it slowly accumulate.

Snow drifts.

Snow drifts form miniature skylines everywhere you look.

A moody sunset.

A moody sunset to bid us farewell.

Northern Lights Vertical

Despite the cloudy horizon, the Northern Lights were still dimly visible.  Their whimsical dancing made me realize just how long it has been since I have seen a good Aurora show on a dark sky.

Northern Lights Wide

A lone cabin on the horizon lit against the sky, also lit.

Stoked wood stove.

And of course, our perpetually stoked wood stove that warmed our hands and dried our clothes many times over these days.