Saturday, 6 January 2018

Making the Most of Winter in Northern Ontario

Making the Most of Winter in Northern Ontario

It's been a while since we shared a blogpost so, at the beginning of the New Year, we felt it was time to rectify this. 

In Northern Ontario, we greeted 2018 with temperatures that plummeted to -42 degrees celsius (with the windchill factor) - making this one of the colder starts to a New Year for a while. 

I remember, when I first came to Canada, someone told me that we have a choice regarding our attitude to winter - we could either complain about it, or get out and enjoy it. We have always chosen the latter option. Over the last few days, we've ventured out, suitably attired, to make the most of the Winter Wonderland that our area becomes at this time of year. 

Dressed to Chill!

The route we took

On New Year's Day, we decided to go in search for deer (being Mark's favourite wild animal). Normally, we see a plethora of them at Iron Bridge; but, for some reason, they are more scarce so far this year. We did espy one on the lawn of one of the residents who feeds them, and managed to capture him before he bounded off into the surrounding forest. 

Just caught this fella as he headed to the safety of the forest

Heading north of Iron Bridge, we set off for the road which winds alongside the Mississagi River. 

Very interesting road, with great rock formations on either side

The road follows the winding Mississagi River for quite a few kilometres

So much of the river is completely frozen over, though the water is running furiously underneath the ice, as can be discerned from the speed at which it is flowing where there is still open water. It always fascinates us to watch the ice floes as they quietly float by. 

There were also some huge cracks in the ice and many of the separate chunks had pushed themselves upwards - like white tectonic plates after an earthquake. 

Large cracks in the ice

The ice-fishing season is well on its way as evidenced by the presence of ice huts on Cummings Lake. 

Ice huts on Cummings Lake, north of Iron Bridge

 We love the contrast of the lakes/rivers/rocks/trees with the openness of the tracts of farm land in between Iron Bridge and where the road meets the Mississagi River, further north. We have often seen a herd of Elk on the edge of the forest, though one of the locals told us that, a couple of years ago, the farmers erected a fence where the forest meets the fields in order to protect crops. Hence, we haven't seen them lately. 

These cows were just as interested in us as we were in them!

A lone shack - reminiscent of Pioneer Times

On the way back from Sault Ste. Marie, on January 3rd,  we noticed that some of the locals were taking advantage of the snow to enjoy some tobogganing. 

We also stopped at Bell's Falls. 

The coldest day so far was January 4th but, since this was the first day I was free of the catheter (after nearly 4 months), we decided to wrap up extra warm and take a hike out to Cupcake Rock - one of our favourite places to visit. 

Stanrock Road is smoother to travel on during the winter - all potholes are nicely filled in!

Cupcake Rock, with Quirke Lake in the background

The snowmobile tracks made it easier for us to negotiate our way through the thick snow

You can see how cold it was on that day by the way that the condensation on Mark's glasses were frozen over - that was a thin film of ice on the lenses, which he couldn't remove until we got back into the car!!!

Today, the ski hill was in operation here, in Elliot Lake. We parked the car and watched the brave folk for a while. 

Chairlifts at Mount Dufour, Elliot Lake

This guy looked very accomplished and confident:

Lastly, we visited our two local swimming beaches, Spruce Beach and Spine Beach, where ice huts are beginning to appear on frozen Elliot Lake. 

Spruce Beach

Spine Beach

No matter where we go, or how far we travel, it always feels good to see the welcome sign of home. 

We are always grateful to be living in such a wonderful area of Ontario which never fails to thrill us, no matter what the season!

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