Sunday, January 30, 2005

Snow at the door.

It just keeps coming

It is still snowing.

There is about a metre of it out there.

Yesterday was beautiful with bright blue sky. We skiied up to the view behind our cabin that looks over the lake.

The snow was dense and skiing was a bit of a slog. The trail was hard to find. The tracks of rabbits and squirrels looked deep and didn't leave behind just the markings of feet, but underbellies too. We tapped the snow off heavy looking trees, relieving them of their weight.

At the view we dug out something of a snow den and enjoyed hot chocolate. There was just enough cloud for colour to stick to as the sun set.

Apparently we're just a few inches away from a record snow fall. It's still coming down.

This is a Ruffed Grouse. There are a few of them around the cabin. When they see you they puff up and pretend they are tree stumps. You can't see them here, but he has furry little legs like an owl.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Coronal Mass Ejection Alert

Yesterday I was alerted to some serious coronal mass ejection. My source directed me to this website.

An entire website dedicated to predicting northern lights like some websites prodict the weather. Brilliant.

Unfortunately there is a snow storm blocking our veiw of the coronal mass ejection.

I have the camera and tripod ready to go should things clear up.

For now, here are some photos of frozen water in a Nalgene bottle. Not exactly aurora borealis, but it's something.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

It's not just cold

It's warming up now a little. -22 today.

Warm enought that 5 caribou felt they would cross the lake this morning.

I can't believe how warm -22 feels after a week of -40.

When the temperature drops below -30 it's not just cold anymore. It's more like a shift in molecular structure. Things sound different and feel different.

It's over for now.

We did get out for short walks and snowshoes, but for the most part we were inside keeping the fire going. Here are some cabin fever photos I took while it was too cold for the camera outside.

Our favourite quilt

Yeah, radio.

My favourite cabin fever pastime

My favourite creams

My favourite sweaters

My favourite coffee

Four legged figures

This happened before the temperature dropped.


Right now Jay is on a solo ice fishing adventure.

The funny thing about living up here is that we're never really sure what is safe and what is stupid. I tend to air on the side of caution, Jay airs on adventure.

It's back up to -3 today and the lake has about 2 feet of ice covering it, so what could possibly go wrong?

He packed sandwiches, coffee, auger, rod and chair. He'll be fine I'm sure, but this doesn't stop me from running down to the lake with binoculars every half hour to make sure he's still visible.

After searching through the white of the lake and the white of the sky I finally found the dark horizon through the binoculars. Back and forth across the horizon a few times I find Jay. Still on his skis, pausing and looking behind him. Strange, but he's still visible and not splashing around in freezing water clinging to large chunks of ice.

What else could possibly go wrong? I think to myself. ANIMALS! WOLVES! We had after all just seen three cross the lake before our holiday. Just as I was about to laugh out loud at myself for being a completely paranoid FREAK, two moving four legged figures crossed infrount of the binoculars. I couldn't believe it. I tried to focus as my arms shook. I couldn't make out what they were!

I panned back to where Jay was paused. He was looking in the direction of the four legged figures. Oh God. What could I do? Go and get my skis on and try to help scare them away? I've heard that wolves don't like numbers of people. I could run to the neighbours and get them to shoot a few shots in the air. Why doesn't he have a gun!? Why? Why?

The four legged figures were moving closer and closer to him. My arms were shaking with fear and strain from holding the binoculars that refused to focus. Just as the four legged figures moved into the same frame as Jay a RAVEN FLEW INTO THE VIEW! Raven's are scavengers of death!

As the figures moved towards and then passed Jay I realised that they were actually quite far in the distance and that binoculars kill all depth perception. The stride of the four legged figures didn't break as they passed him. I could see Jay looking in their direction. One of the figures turned back to look at him. The way the figure's head moved did not look threatening, it looked like a caribou. I couldn't see what it was, the raven kept flying into the view.

As the figures continued along the lake and I deduced they were caribou. After all a sign went up on the highway warning of the Carcross caribou herd crossing.

I bundled up and skied out to where Jay sat on the lake fishing.

"Did you see those wolves?!" he said.

*Unlike we are lead to believe by popular fairy tales, wolves do not attack humans unless there are many wolves together, they are starving and the human is suffering deadly bleeding. I know this now.

Going fishing with the wolves

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Yes, it is cold.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Praise the outhouse

I swear, if we didn't have an outhouse we'd never see the Northern Lights.

Last night, on the way to the outhouse, Jay caught the beginnings of a fantastic Northern Lights show. When you're looking at the beginnings of a Northern Lights show you're never really sure if it isn't just some clouds reflecting light. It always looks like the smoke from someones bonfire. But when it suddenly pushes up into the sky and starts flowing and getting greener and greener you know and it's wonderful.

They were HUGE and slowly moving across the sky in a sultury dance. There were big green streaks with red trim. It only lasted about 5 minutes. The first few minutes I watched in awe. The last couple minutes (which were slightly less remarkable) I spent fiddling around with my camera and tripod.

These are my pathetic attempts to capture Northern Lights on digital film.

Northern Lights?

See that green tinge in the lower left of the black? That's them.

Monday, January 03, 2005

It's really nice to be back up here.

Devonshire cream on scones, ploughmans lunch and Christmas pudding at this lovely tea shop was the icing on my holiday cake.

Green Christmas

I'm back from a wet Christmas holiday with friends and family in and around Vancouver Island.

It was lovely and green and salty and damp.

Ironically, Whitehorse had the highest temperature in all of Canada on Christmas eve.

Of course when we arrived on December 29th the forcast was calling for HIGHS of -38. With the help of the airport runway management truck we were able to start our car and grab some groceries before the cold snap set in.

We were planning to have a New Years party but our plans were botched by -40 weather. Everything grinds to a hault when it's -40. Cars don't run and outhouses suck and cabins freeze if you aren't around to stoke the fire.

So we ate a dinner of snacks, drank champagne and brought in 2005 with the best of CBC radio 3. We bundled up and walked out on the lake at midnight to hear nothing. We felt like we were on the moon in moonsuits so we went back inside.

We're back up to -15 today. It's amazing how relative temperature can be.

Here are a few pictures from the holidays...

This is the Christmas salmon that went with the Christmas turkey. My cousin went fishing just a few days before and it just might be the best salmon I've tasted.

Someone special got two special white tigers for Christmas.

You'd be amazed at how excited you get when you see one little white cloud amidst all the grey ones when it rains for days.

This foggy crane gathering made my brief trip to Langley a highlight of the holidays.

The tree I miss the most.