Tag Archives: Canada

This is Minus 40

Walk to Work 2013

It takes a lot of energy to play outside these days because it’s so cold. We’ve been basically hovering around -30C to -50C because of wind chills for the better part of a month now. Once in a while we’ve had a -25C break but pretty much it’s just been plain colder than cold.

My dogs are even challenged by it. We had a week break in Calgary over Christmas where it was a balmy +8C  a couple of times and then we had to run for home a day early to avoid a major winter storm, spent 11 whiteout, blustery, snowy hours on highways and woke up back here the next morning to -32C with a wind warning making it feel like -50C.


Today, the chill was still on but we – and I do mean WE – are starting to go stir crazy inside. I know it’s possible to play outside even in this weather. You just have to take the time to dress for it and not stay out as long but it is possible. And so, I bundled up, (can you tell? I’m smiling!)

Can you tell Im smiling

strapped on my brand new Christmas snowshoes and headed out with little True-lou the husky first. I dragged her through deep snow. She was in to her chin for most of the walk and had to hop like a kangaroo. There is method to my madness. I wanted to try out the new shoes and I wanted to maximize my effort by wearing her out as efficiently as possible before either of us got too cold to stay out any longer. It worked!

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I arrived back home drenched in sweat which is rule number one of what NOT to do in winter. Don’t sweat! Oh well… we’re staying close to home today. I stripped down a bit to dry off and rolled my old guy Charlie onto his back and put his Muttluks on. He loves those red super sneakers!! I got re-bundled up but ditched my snowshoes because he’s so short that’d be cruel to drag him through deep snow and we headed out for a walk. He did very well and loved it. I started to get drafty because I wasn’t working as hard as before.

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Back home. Shed the coat while I took the muttluks from Charlie and wrestled my nervous Nelly Great Dane Piper into them. She has a lovely matching Chilly Dogs red and black coat. She’s black and white. Looked like a runway model! There is something about those shoes that makes them zippy.

You know that scene from Bambi when the fawn is spiraling out of control across the pond? Picture my black Dane trying to sprint on hard-packed snow and losing control, stick legs bracing while she slid and spun. She loved it though and we spent half her walk running. And can she run!!!

Back to the yard, pulled the shoes off of her so she could get some grip, let the other two out and they wind sprinted around the yard for 5 mins before we were all frozen and had to go back inside. Here we are:

This is Minus 40         Checking me out

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in PonderQs


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Paddling Paradise

If someone offered me the choice between bars of gold and a canoe, I’d choose the canoe every time. I wouldn’t opt for the security of financial riches over the investment in quality of life and canoeing is sustaining for me. When I’m in a canoe life seems right. I feel confident and competent, safe and at ease and I never want to go back to shore.

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I’ve been taking myself for 1.5- to 2-hour paddles every few evenings lately and the balance canoeing breathes back into my soul is immeasurable. Hard to explain I suppose, unless you’ve spent a lot of time in a canoe living self-sufficiently and adventuring in one, relying on it to be everything from a vessel to a shelter to a kitchen counter to a sled to a party palace …

The canoe is home.

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This is an old aluminum canoe that I’m borrowing and it does feel odd that it’s empty. Tonight the wind picked up and I had to pull over to shore and put a couple of big rocks under the bow seat to weigh it down some so I could stern it better.

I saw another beaver that slapped its tail about 10 ft from the boat and two deer that I managed to sneak up on pretty well but my Canadian stroke needs some practice!

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And would I be disappointed come winter that I’d chosen a canoe over gold? Nope. I’d be thinking about that canoe all winter long with fondness and probably even visit it on the canoe rack at Bear Trap, sleeping soundly under the weight of snow. I’d talk to it. Remind if of the beautiful things we saw the previous summer and dream about the outings we’d go on at break up in spring.

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A long trip is always best but I am discovering that even a two-hour paddle on the same little lake night after night feels amazing. I love the wind on my skin and that my arms and back and abs are getting strong. I love that I know how to move a canoe through the water and wind efficiently and I enjoy the pace. Each time I go out the shoreline changes and the wildlife is different and I absolutely never tire of it. The song of waves and trees moving. The call of various birds and strange little sounds that water makes as it splashes and swirls among features like rocks and logs.

And the sky …

oh the sky and weather to guide me and decide what shore I’ll follow. Mother Nature determines how much time She will give me on the water. Some decisions are mine and others are Hers and it’s quite possibly the only place on Earth where I don’t mind relinquishing control.

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Benediction that we used to say after canoe trips followed by a Voyageur cheer:

May your paddle always pull water

May you never feel strong winds

May your footsteps never falter

Return safely to your friends.


Oom bella bella bumba-la


oom bella bella bumba-lay


oom bella bella bumba-lo


oom bella bella bumba-la bumba-lay bumba-lo


And away…                   Shady Lake 2013 040

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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in PonderQs


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