Looking at the Bright side of things

Winter in Algonquin Park can be cold, white and wonderful. Almost every day has its special opportunities. A light snowfall is a perfect day to head up to the Hemlock Ridge and explore. Looking for fox, wolf, deer and moose tracks is always best after a fresh snowfall. And I’d rather be no where else on the planet some days than sitting beneath the towering Hemlock trees overlooking the ridge and Kawawaymog Lake – (Algonquin Park access #1 for interior canoe trips).
Living on solar power brings its own set of challenges in the wintertime. In general there are two basic needs:
1. Heat.
2. Generating power for things like pumping water, powering lights and electronic devices like the ipad that I’m using to write this blog post.

Usually, the glass is half empty. In December, January and February, when the days are shortest we can usually get one or the other easily. When it’s warmer outside, it becomes easy to heat with wood and radiators. It’s also usually cloudy those days, so our power generation by the sun is much lower. On days like these we use about an hour or two a day of back up generator power to keep our batteries powered up.

And then there are days like today. Sunny and clear and at the time of this writing -35 degrees C. As you can imagine, on days like this our solar power generation is abundant, while the best seat in the house is around one of the wood stoves, sitting in the circle of hot air – thankful that our Algonquin Park forest provides deadfall and firewood that can help get some of the cold out of the house.
But like a party guest who doesn’t realize the party has ended, the cold can hang around in the corners, doorways and at the windows waiting for an opportunity to send a shiver through the body – especially if you happen to step in a puddle you made by bringing snow in on your boots while bringing firewood inside, ending up with a wet sock (or two).
On days like this, the car is hesitant to start and regardless of the office or town plans I have made, they’ll have to wait for another day. It’s sometimes best to keep the firewood pile stocked high and grab a good book, snuggling under a throw blanket. Of course looking on the bright side, the clear bright blue sky is being filled with sunlight and we have more than enough power to do fill the batteries. It might be a little too cold to enjoy the snow-free ice rink on the lake today, but we’ve got enough firewood for the lakeside sauna, so we’ll fire it up to about 90 degrees C to enjoy the widest range of temperature that anyone can experience anywhere on the planet.

From -35 degrees C to 90 degrees C and back again. Not many people get to experience the chill, I mean THRILL of experiencing those two extremes on their body within just a few minutes of time.

Winter at Algonquin Park, it’s a season for looking on the bright side of things and enjoying what the weather has in store for us.

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