Monday, February 20, 2017

Winter Weekend at Home

We often wander great distances to find adventure, but sometimes it can be found right in our own backyard...literally.

Last week we had the first snow that we'd had in a while. Friday night we received about 7 cm of snow. I didn't think much about it given that the high for Saturday was forecast to be 5°C. We took care of our Saturday morning errands and came home and our son was so keen to build a quinzee that we could sleep in. Fortunately, the forecast had changed and the high was now only supposed to be 1°C. So we decided to go for it.

We scraped the ground clean of snow and piled it into a large pile then let it settle for a few hours.

Giant Pile of Snow
Then came the hard part of digging out the quinzee. I worked on the inside while our son worked at moving all of the snow out of the doorway. It was tough at first since there was so little room for the shovel, but it seemed to get easier as we went. Before long the quinzee was dug out and we were soaked, both from the inside and the outside. I'm not sure how we'd manage all our wet gear if we were out in the woods.

All Dug Out
We headed inside for a warm meal and some dry clothes. We dug out our warmest pyjamas, a pair of sleeping bags each and a bottle of hot water to throw in our sleeping bags. Before heading out our son said to me "If we survive, we'll be able to go winter camping". I hope he realizes that I had no intention of not surviving. Once setup we were both too warm. We peeled back a layer or two and turned in. The temperature outside dropped to -10°C but we were quite comfortable in the quinzee. We woke up around 6:30 and headed in for a pancake breakfast. Our outing was a successful one and we are ready to give it a try in the wild.

It snowed all day on Sunday and the puddles had been around as a result of the rain, freezing rain and thawing from before were now buried and frozen solid. The kids decided to shovel them off and slide around them on their boots. They were having a great time so I suggested they get their skates out. So they did.

Just the Right Size

Rink-side Seating

Having a Blast

It's All About Balance
So much fun right in our own backyard! We were so grateful that winter decided to make an appearance. We all seem to enjoy winter so much more where there's snow.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

We Found Winter at Arrowhead!

If you're a fan of snowy winters and live in southern Ontario, this likely has not been much of a fun winter for you. We've had a lot of rain and freezing rain this winter along with some mild temperatures. Recently we decided to set out to find winter by booking a cabin at Arrowhead Provincial Park for the middle of the week. We had such a blast there last winter we thought we'd go back.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. The Ice Skating Trail reopened the day before we arrived and there was lots of snow for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The temperature was below zero every day we were there and as it seems to do every time we go, it snowed every day. The first couple of days brought a couple of centimetres each and on our last day we must have received close to 10 cm. All of the extra snow meant that the tubing hill opened on our last day.

Snowshoeing at Mayflower Lake

Time for a Rest

Mayflower Lake Trail

Short Loop or Long Loop?

Taking a Break at the Amphitheatre

Resting on the Way Back

Walking Hemlock Ridge

Happy Together

Hurray for Winter!

Friendly Chickadees

Table for Two

So Many Chickadees

Family Skate

One Stride at a Time
Staying at the cabins at Arrowhead Provincial Park provided us with an amazing winter location. The scenery was spectacular, the activities were plentiful and the company couldn't be beat. The time away allowed us to really connect as a family. The distractions of work, school, extra curricular activities, jobs around the house, etc. all faded away for a few days. The only important things for those days were being together and being outside. We can't wait to do it again.

What are your favourite winter destinations?