After an incredibly warm Holiday Season and start of the New Year, Old Man Winter came back with a vengeance this past week. We hit a low of -35 C one night, with the remainder hovering between -25 and -30 C. Daytime temperatures were actually not bad up here in the mountains – ‘warming up’ (it’s all relative!) to between -15 and -10 C. Usually calm, sunny days and crystal-clear nights. I understand from Chris that the prairies did not fare so well . . .
Machines – and other ‘moving’ parts like my hands and knees – tend not to like to work when we go COLD. They all have to warm up before they will even think about starting. Sometimes, you have to get inventive when you live off-the-grid. I had an insulated “box” built for the generator before the holidays and when it gets really cold, I can light up a Coleman lantern and stick it in the box for an hour or so . . . rather than drag the generator into the cook house, get the cook stove going and WAIT for several hours before dragging the generator back out. It works . . . mostly. Saves my back anyway. As long as I remember that NOTHING happens in a hurry!
The Wildlife: We’ve been very fortunate to spot Lynx twice in the past few weeks right on our 3-km trail from the Rock Lake Road to the cabins. Mark and I saw 3 lynx on our way home from a supply run – what appeared to be a mother and two almost-full-grown kits. Then Pierre, Kelly and I spotted one lynx – appears to be a youngster – on our way back from skiing at Rock Lake. Wolves had been conspicuously absent from our area until about a week ago when we found fresh track at Rock Lake. Today, the wolves came into the Munn Creek valley and were serenading me most of the afternoon (Molly tries to join in, bless her, but her howl is such a pitiful imitation!).
We’ve seen a LOT of cougar track this year, both at Rock Lake and the Munn Creek valley, and I would love to actually see one. Elk were in the valley for about a week – creating very artistic (I think!) designs on guest vehicles while licking off road salt. The elk seem to leave my vehicle along . . . maybe I don’t get out much.
Moose track in the valley, fox track running down the Rock Lake Road, the occasional marten and weasel track, and loads of squirrel, snowshoe hare and mouse tracks. I did see a Golden Eagle circling the clearing around the cook house (likely trying to find the cat!) a few weeks ago when we were really warm. Guests told me they saw two different Great Gray Owls on their drive in over the weekend. The Gray Jays are ever-present and our residents patiently wait for their morning feed of left-over pancakes or toast. A flock of Pine Siskins has been around for several weeks – both at the cabins and Rock Lake – and are cheerily singing despite the frigid temperatures. The Pine Grosbeaks have finally made an appearance, although I missed having them around as Nature’s ornaments over the holidays.
According to the weatherman, tonight is supposed to be our last frigid one for a while – and more snow is on the way! Just in time to freshen up the ski trails for upcoming Family Day Weekend.
Until next time . . . Happy Trails!