Remembering Summer

Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

Right now we are surviving temperatures that are about -35 C. That’s pretty cold although I have experienced colder. When it’s this cold, it’s hard to remember that summer existed. It’s just a dim memory.  

I pass this bush every day on my way to work.

And yup, I walk to work. Driving is not worth the trouble it would cause to start a vehicle.

It’s so cold that they have to be plugged in. And then there’s the scraping of windshields, the running of engines and the effort to get them out of the latest layer of new snow, even if I do have a 4Γ—4. Needless to say, I don’t have a garage, which ironically, is something I’ve always had in the south. Up here, there aren’t many of them. For them to be of any real use you would have to heat them, and that makes them very expensive.

So, I walk to work. It takes seven minutes to get my gear on, seven minutes to walk there, it’s dark, and every bit of me is covered except my eyes. I peer under my big hat and over my balaclava. I’m under the time limit for frostbite to exposed skin in -35C, although a little wind can rapidly change that formula. A few days ago, I thought I had frostbite on my cheek, but no, it was just rather cold.

Everything is slower and takes longer. It’s life in the north. πŸ™‚

How’s your winter?

30 thoughts on “Remembering Summer”

  1. Your winter life sounds like an adventure! I would probably walk to work also rather than fooling with getting a car going . I remember being very, very cold in the Swiss Alps…not sure if that compares! Thank you for posting about a feature of your daily life.

    1. Thank you for coming by. πŸ™‚

      Today the temperature has dropped to -41c (that’s about -43f I think) and the air is full of ice fog. It’s beautiful but dangerous – bundling up is a safety feature. πŸ™‚ I’ve been to Switzerland in January and it can get very cold in the mountains, but not quite as low as this.

      1. Thanks for the clarification about Switzerland compared to where you live. Your home sounds beautiful but demanding in terms of preparations and mental toughness. Good for you!

  2. OMG. I’ll have to tell people about you when they complain about it here. I don’t typically (but on rare occasion) complain about the cold, because I hated living in heat for so many years. I love the change of seasons, which I didn’t get to experience for too many years. As long as I’ve got my cozy, warm house where I can hibernate, I’m okay.

    My husband wants to heat our garage and I keep fighting him on it. I don’t want the expense.

    I’m curious though, isn’t your actual home someplace far away from where you work? I got the impression you live near where you work for certain times during the year? Regardless, that kind of cold is scary.

    The temps here have been between -30c and -9c. Suddenly this week we shot up 40 degrees, and tomorrow it’s going to go back down those same 40 degrees. Those drastic changes are rare here.

    Seriously, how do you do it? Many people here walk to work on city streets, but the frozen arctic? No way.

    1. My home is in the Okanagan Valley of beautiful British Columbia – wine country. πŸ™‚ I work in the Northwest Territories. It is something that I long wanted to do but the demands of family and all the other obligations meant that I couldn’t until later in life. I am enjoying it tremendously. My job is the best I have ever had and my colleagues are fabulous.

      It’s important to get the right clothes – I dress the way the indigenous people do – and the other thing is to just accept life here the way it is. You have to roll with it and recognise that it’s different (easy for me to say though because I sometimes forget that and start whining). It’s also a very simple life here. I work hard and I get tired but in many ways I am less stressed.

      It is very, very cold and you do have to be cautious. If you breathe too deeply the frigid air will make you cough. It’s important to cover your mouth – your entire face, actually. Your eyelashes can freeze and so can the hairs in your nose. Metal keys in your pocket will become extremely cold in a matter of minutes – fumbling with them with exposed fingers is not wise. I keep my keys in my mitt.

      When I think of all the “stuff” I have to do in the south, dealing with some cold weather is not that bad. And as to the heated garage, my two cents is to not spend the money on it. Take a nice holiday to the Caribbean instead. πŸ˜€

      1. So, you must have two homes then? One in BC and one in NWT. How often do you get back to BC? I apologize for the questions. This is not only foreign to me, but fascinating.

        I have to cover my face in the cold on occasion here, too, but I can’t breath under there. How do you breathe? My eyes get fogged up and it’s hard to see.

        It sounds great that you are able to do the job you wanted to do and are enjoying it so much. Not everyone gets that opportunity. Your advice on just accepting “what-is” with the weather is a good analogy for life, too.

        Yeah, I’m with you on the Caribbean holiday over a heated garage. But, tell that to my husband. πŸ˜‰

        1. No problem. πŸ™‚

          We do have two homes and we will be getting back to BC about three – four times a year, sometimes for extended periods. We keep lists of what we have in each place and also have designated clothes that stay here and clothes that stay there. We’re trying to get down to having very little in the way of travel bags. Sounds a bit type A but it helps to keep everything organised and then we don’t have to think about it.

          I’m not fond of breathing through a balaclava, but you get used to it. The alternative is unpleasant and you quickly get over any opposition. The cold has a way of stripping you down to the necessary. πŸ™‚ I don’t wear my glasses when walking – they quickly ice up and become a big problem so I just do without. My walk to and from work is about 7-8 minutes.

          Thanks. πŸ™‚ I like my work a lot. I hope you get a Caribbean holiday – I’ll send positive vibes. πŸ™‚

  3. I just moved to Whitehorse last week, and though I do use the once-per-hour transit system, I also enjoy walking. Minus 33 last night was a new kind of cold for me.. It seems to go straight to ones bones, forgoing any shivering. I’m right there with you, walking!

    1. I hear you! It really can go right through you! I am in the South Slave region and there is no bus service (the population is too small) so it’s walking for me too of course. πŸ™‚

      Good to meet another Northerner. I have always liked Whitehorse. πŸ™‚

  4. Stunning pictures!
    So far my winter is exceedingly mild, though the locals disagree. πŸ˜›
    Temperatures have remained comfortably around 0 Celsius, with a dusting of snow here and there (practically shorts and t-shirt weather for Canadians and Northern NYers).
    A few nippy days in December. Enough to dig out the flannel shirts.

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚

      Hahaha. πŸ™‚ My home is the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia and the winters are usually quite mild. I might be able to do -41C (our temp today here in NWT) but shorts in 0? No thank you πŸ˜‰ I understand that the US has had some unusually cold weather this year though.

      Enjoy your easy winter. πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, my home (near Lake Placid, NY) has seen a bit more cold than usual. We’re rather used to Lake Effect Snow (from Canada, with love…) and the odd freezing spell (aka shrieking brass monkeys cold), but judging by mom’s noticeable uptick in using and creating ever new curse words, it’s pretty bad this year.

        Being stationed in Germany right now I’m half relieved, half disappointed. An easy winter is a nice change of pace, but I do miss the snow – the real snow,
        as opposed to this … whatever it is. I do not miss the shoveling of same, however. So I guess it evens out in the end. πŸ˜‰

        1. Lake Effect – how lovely. πŸ™‚ We actually get it way up here too because we’re on the Great Slave Lake – world’s 10th largest. Till it freezes, that is.

          I used to live in Germany – Braunschweig – and remember the winters well. I enjoyed living there but the January and February weather was represented by some sort of grey sludge. But yes, I did not have to shovel the rain and fog. πŸ™‚

  5. Yours looks absolutely beautiful but it must feel awful! (I can’t bear being coldπŸ˜Šβ„οΈβ„οΈβ„οΈ). We’ve just had lots of dull, boring rain. Everything looks grey. I’m looking forward to March. Happy New Year x

    1. Happy New Year to you! πŸ™‚

      It is extremely cold and as I explained to Lori, all kinds of nasty things can happen. I prepare for it, I dress for it, and I don’t try (for the most part, anyway πŸ™‚ ) to impose southern standards on it.

      One amazing thing here is that despite the short days, we have had beautifully clear, sunny days (courtesy of a continental arctic air mass – very dry and cold). And there’s something about the air here too – it’s cleaner but also has the loveliest baby shades of blue and pink (the sun at very low angles bouncing off ice crystals).

      I don’t miss rain at all, although one advantage is that you don’t have to shovel it. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh my…I’m getting the chills just thinking about walking in those temperatures. Your photos are beautiful, but I don’t think I’d be able to handle those conditions, Lynette. Instead of hot flashes, I get cold flashes. LOL! Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you! πŸ™‚

      Yes – it is cold. Chilly doesn’t even begin to describe it. πŸ˜€ And it is achingly beautiful but also dangerous. It is a beauty that has to be treated with respect. πŸ™‚ But hot flashes? All they do is provide you with a pleasant warm spell. πŸ™‚

  7. Magnificent photos! What struck me the most was the couch under the tree with snow having a sit down on it. What’s the bird in the 2nd shot? It looks enormous.

    The kind of cold you described is surreal to me, and I’m happy to keep it surreal to me. Looks great in a photo – how do you take photos in that kind of cold? Doesn’t it affect the machine and how do you press buttons if you’re wearing 20 pairs of gloves? And why would you stop if you risk freezing to death? (since it’s you, I can guess why, you’re a daredevil)

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚

      That couch is amazing. There’s a whole set of furniture around the other side of that bush that seems to get a lot of use for fire pits in the summer. πŸ™‚

      The bird is a Great Grey Owl (this type of owl is awake during during the day). There were a pair of them hunting snowshoe rabbits and I tried to get a picture of that but I need more experience with snapping fast moving birds. πŸ™‚ We saw one of them flying off with a rabbit, the other joined and then they disappeared into the forest. It was amazing to watch. I’ve seen so many animals up here. I’m completely taken with the huge, regal-looking wolves in particular. I haven’t even tried to take pictures of them because I can’t stop watching in the moment.

      I wear Thinsulate gloves inside my mitts. They work very well to keep your hands warm for short periods and also don’t interfere much with dexterity (I learned all this stuff the hard way πŸ™‚ ). I also keep my camera in a large insulated pocket. So, when I take a picture, I push my hat back (It comes down very low), take off my mitts, maybe wipe my eyes if necessary, and click. I don’t waste any time. Efficiency is best in these northern climes. πŸ™‚

      I sometimes don’t stop, but there are times when I just have to and risking a little cold is worth it. It’s that daredevil part of me I guess. πŸ˜€

  8. Beautiful place. I am envious (yes, even with the extra work). My winter – is meh, not very cold, wet – sort of like the summer… cloudy with a chance of over-privileged c***s. That’s life in the UK!

    1. Sounds grey. And that’s okay for many people if it means warmer temps.
      Sorry to hear about the over-privileged, but they can be heard anywhere.

      It is beautiful here, in ways I didn’t expect. πŸ™‚

  9. Winter?
    We don’t have one, here
    It’s just like one rainy day after another
    [Albeit seasonal]
    In a considerably everlasting summer

    (PS: And I sure love the pictures) πŸ™‚

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