Winter has arrived

I was saying in my last post that winter had not arrived yet. Well it has now. Big style. We’ve had snow… lots of snow! But when it’s not been snowing we’ve had some OK days and I’ve got out and done stuff, including snowshoeing, so the last couple of weeks have actually been pretty good.

It first snowed the middle of the week after my last post, on both the Tuesday and Wednesday. It wasn’t a huge amount but it was enough to make the roads a little interesting at times although it did also things look rather prettier so it wasn’t all bad. I went out for a quick hike at lunchtime on Thursday and took some photos that I liked, including with the new lens I got for Christmas. I definitely like the bokeh you can get with it.

That weekend was the first of two Eagle watch weekends. They feed the eagles in the mornings and allow people to watch and take photos and it’s only about a half hour drive from me. I didn’t get a chance to properly see it last year as I’d only just moved here so this year I was determined to go. Turned out it wouldn’t be that Saturday though. The forecast was for quite a bit of snow and there was. They’d ploughed my street by the time I was awake but not my car park so there wasn’t much chance of me getting out. By the afternoon things had improved a bit, although driving still seemed a dumb idea so instead I walked down to the reservoir park and then used my snowshoes for the very first time. Ended up doing rather more walking than I thought I would. Not being that used to snowshoeing I decided to play it safe and not take my camera so no photos.

Sunday I woke up early to try and go and see the Eagles. The first time I woke up I couldn’t see the end of my street due to blowing snow so went back to sleep as if I couldn’t see the end of my street there didn’t seem to be much chance of seeing Eagles. I woke up again an hour later, still blowing snow. The same thing a little later. So I gave up and properly went back to sleep. Only to find that it had turned into a nice day when I got up around 10. So I drove out to the Eagle viewing place to see what was going on. The main event was clearly over but some of the Eagles were still hanging around and I did managed to get some decent photos.

After seeing the Eagles I went to go snowshoeing again. The first place I tried to go I couldn’t find anywhere to park due to the snow so instead went back to the trails through the woods at my work. Several other people were snowshoeing and it was clear a lot of others had been earlier as well and so the main trail was pretty compact and you probably didn’t need snowshoes. I went off trail to where someone else had also been at one point and there you most definitely did need them. I enjoyed that bit the most and it made me even more confident with snowshoes. I was already more confident after the day before so this time I took the camera and so there are photos.

Thursday things went a little wrong. It was mean to storm again Thursday evening so I decided to get a quick boulder in before it hit too bad. That was the wrong decision. The roads were horrible by the time I left and I couldn’t get up the hill to my apartment. It would appear that the slightly milder day had melted some of the snow which had then turned to ice, which now had a layer of snow on top. Several people were having fun! After quite a while trying every way I could think of to get home I dumped the car in a parking lot and walked home. That was a bad idea as they towed my car so they could plow the lot. That cost me a fair bit of money.

Not wanting that to happen again I decided to get winter tires so went to Walmart on the Friday to try and get some. I’d not needed them last year as there was no hill involved but this year it looked like I’d have to get them. On the plus side by leaving it so late I managed to get them on clearance. So even with the cost of the tow it was still cheaper than if I’d get them at the start of winter. So at least that was something. Walmart had some in stock but they were earmarked for a customer. However the customer had ordered them in December and still hadn’t actually had them fitted so the manager said he’d see if they actually wanted them and get back to me. In case they did he also ordered some in for me although they may have taken up to a week to arrive.

Saturday I once again woke up to maybe go and see the Eagles. The weather was OK but not great and as the forecast was better for Sunday and I was tired I decided to be lazy and go back to sleep. Thankfully I didn’t live to regret that decision. After lunch I made a quick visit to New Minas where I was able to arrange for snow tires to be fitted the next day – they would give me the tires earmarked for the other customer as they had never called back. Once that was done I headed to Mount Uniacke to go snowshoeing. Most of the trail had only had cross country skiers use it so snowshoeing was hard work – but good fun. Only did about three and a half miles but it felt like I’d done quite a bit more. While there I also played with the fisheye attachment lens thing I’d got for Christmas. Much cheaper than a real fisheye and obviously not as good but still fun to play with. Photos both with, and without, the fisheye convertor are here.

Sunday I finally went to see the Eagles at the proper time. It was bloody cold to be standing around and the Eagles didn’t actually come and get the (dead) chicken that had been put out for them for well over an hour. I got cold and went back to the car to warm up. I’d only been back at the viewing area about 5 minutes or less when they finally decided to start feeding. The wait and the cold had all been worth it. It was amazing. I took a stupid amount of photos. About half of them have made it into my gallery. At some point I really will have to edit them properly but until I do you’ll just have to cope with them all!

After seeing the Eagles I finally went and got my snow tires fitted. Hopefully no more expensive tows for me! That done I headed to Blomidon for another snow shoe. This one involved rather more uphill than any I’d done before and so was hard work. Still it was fun and there were some nice views. The weirdest bit was a section at the top of the hill where there was virtually no snow – I can only assume it was the effect of the wind as there was quite deep snow all around. I once again played with the fish eye a bit but all in all didn’t take that many photos.

Yesterday I went for a hike down on the South Shore. It was a bit of a drive but I wanted to go somewhere a little different, especially as I know I’d probably be stuck inside all day today due to the massive snow storm. I took the snowshoes with me but the snow really wasn’t deep enough to warrant them so just went for a hike instead. It was an enjoyable 6 mile hike along the coast and some of the frozen spray on the rocks was amazing. Not sure the photos really do it justice. The forecast for today was for a foot or more of snow, and we’ve certainly had that. As I write this in the afternoon things have calmed down a little but I still have no desire to go outdoors.

So I didn’t get away for either long weekend. The first one as I wanted to see the Eagles, this one due to the awful forecast for today. Am going try to do some work today and tomorrow and maybe get away for a long weekend next weekend if the weather’s nice. Still it’s been an enjoyable few weeks and I have managed to use my snowshoes quite a bit so they no longer seem like they may be a wasted buy. Especially now we’ve had even more snow!

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