It’s winter in the north country. So naturally, we headed further north, for our first trip to Canada, in two years.
Are we moving?
After completing paperwork and Covid testing, we arrived in Lévis, a ferry ride away from Quebec City. The St. Lawrence River still had plenty of commercial and ice traffic to watch and we took a few ferry rides back and forth.
Most of our activities took place outdoors and when we had to venture inside, proof of vaccination was required.
But there was plenty to do outdoors and we were prepared for cold weather. We spent hours walking around the city, visiting the outdoor German Christmas Market and tucking in to warm up periodically.
We visited an interesting exhibit in the Musée de Civilisation about merde, more commonly known as shit! It actually was very informative although we skipped the aroma exhibit. Too much of the world lacks access to clean water and sanitation.
Back in Lévis, there was a light show in a park just next to our AirBNB, complete with ice sculptures.
On our way home we skated in the magical Domain du Foret Perdu, or the lost forest, where there were 15 km of ice skating trails through the woods. They even have a Zamboni, so the ice was smooth.
Not smooth enough for me however. I took a face plant where I truly landed flat on my face, luckily in a snow back. No broken bones.
Once home, we enjoyed a quiet holiday. The evergreens were decorated, inside and out, and the geraniums are blooming, despite the snow outside.
In my mind there are six seasons in the Adirondack Mountains: summer, fall, winter, ice, mud, and spring. The one to really avoid is ice. It happens every December and January. We get early snow, then a thaw and sometimes rain. The end result is ice, black ice, crusty ice, you name it. It’s all slippery. And dangerous. Each year there are a few broken bones and head injuries; sometimes even death.
This is our driveway this morning. I keep a pair of mini crampons (microspikes) on a pair of shoes that I wear to do chores in these conditions and to walk to the hot tub. On Thursday night, my winter 46’er ( he climbed all 46 peaks in the Adirondacks above 4000 feet between December 21 and March 21) slipped on the ice on our front step and shattered his wrist.
We drove to our local ER where they confirmed he had indeed shattered it beyond what they could set there. They arranged for us to meet our orthopedist in the ER at the hospital in Lake Placid. The problem was we had to cross two mountain passes with ice on the roads and get there in under an hour because it closes at 11 pm. With some white knuckled driving on my part we made it.
I expected some violent maneuvers to get the wrist back in position but it was all very gentle with traction and weights. Then it was cast and we were sent on our way back home. We’ll know in a week or so whether it remains in position. The ride back home was much more relaxed, my 46’er had pain medicine on board and we were no longer under a time constraint.
Until we reached the last hill right in front of our house. It was sheer ice. I made it halfway up, slid into a 45 degree angle on the road and couldn’t go any further without skidding. Going downhill would have meant sliding into a snow/ice bank, which I had done once before under similar conditions. We were stuck. And it was 1 am, well past my bedtime.
We decided to abandon the car but still had to get to the house without another fall. I thought my socks would stick better to the ice than my Blundies. They didn’t and I had to drop to my knees and crawl and slide, uphill to the car, to the side of the road where I had better traction. Then I walked in my socks to the house. I retrieved our microspikes, brought them back to the car and then we walked carefully home.
We called the highway department to let them know I had left the car stranded. The next morning as I was checking the temperature to decide if it was time to try to move the car, there was a knock on the door. The plow driver had walked up to my house and had a plan. He had backed the whole way down the road in the event he couldn’t make it to the turnaround. He had sanded behind the car and the crew had hand shoveled sand in front of the car. All I had to do was drive forward, straighten the wheels, roll back down the road in neutral and let the plow pass with more sand and then come up the hill. I chickened out and asked if one of them wanted to do it. One did – with aplomb. He slipped and skidded the car so it was no longer at an angle, rolled down the hill and then gunned it and raced up the hill right into my driveway. How lucky are we to live here?
Here are some photos of the more photogenic seasons in the Adirondacks.
It seems I don’t have any pictures during mud season.
Christmas brought an ice storm to our region. Then it warmed. The sparkly, ice laden branches dripped ice and it sounded like it was raining. My neighbor’s birches haven’t straightened up yet and I hope they survive. I’m conflicted because they look so pretty as bowers.
Now the temperature is plummeting again. Our roof has been making some sort of explosive noise now and then. Not to worry? I didn’t see any big snow heaves on the ground and am not sure what causes it.
The cold weather, of course, gives me the opportunity to stay inside and play. I was on my own for a few days last week and confess I stayed in long johns and slippers for most of (more like all of two) the day. I managed to put winter garb over my warm clothes and ventured out with microspikes on to take some photos. The base surface is a sheet of ice. These thaws and freezes have acted like a Zamboni to make a smooth treacherous surface. Microspikes are little crampons which slip over your boots (or crocs to the hot tub) like galoshes. They allow me to walk the ice almost fearlessly.
I had a few requests for knitted gifts and tried my hand at slip stitch knitting. Both hats have a twisted braid brim and I think I’ll use this instead of turned hems (my second favorite hat brim) whenever I can.
Then I’m back to the loom where I have a few towels to finish weaving. I was dismayed to find my warp was crooked because the warp stick got caught on something. So I get another wonky towel. I give away the good ones and keep the “seconds”. If you saw my linens, you’d think I had no idea what I was doing. Do I?
At least I’m not getting blisters on my keister anymore thanks to a little cushioning on the weaving bench. Now I look forward to a new year filled with unions, reunions, births and PROJECTS!
First of all, Christmas has already come and gone in my house. Kids live afar, families are complicated, so we celebrated with the whole famn damily thus weekend. It was a blast.
But, how did this weekend pop up so fast? I look forward to it all year long and suddenly it was here. It arrived in the middle of an ice storm, during which our county was in a state of emergency and travel was strongly discouraged due to iced roads and fallen trees and power lines.
As a result, we stayed inside for 36 hours before we broke out and went skeet shooting and sledding, wearing microspikes and snowshoes. And a good time was had by all.
To keep things simple we had our first white elephant gift exchange. I supplemented it with a white elephant knitting exchange. I included four hats, two woven scarves and a rope trivet. Gifts were stolen, trades were made, everyone was happy and it warmed my heart.
We spent three nights (short for me since I went to bed after 2) in the cabin to make room in the house and I slept like a baby. The wood stove kept us warm in the loft, while I heard trees cracking outside and coyotes howling in the woods.
And now they’ve headed off to other family gatherings, the house is quiet and only the ice remains.
I’m happy I received a digital photo frame, which already has this year’s pictures to make me smile.
The temperature is gradually turning warmer but ice abounds. I had heard the ice jams at Ausable Chasm were at their peak. I may have missed it by a few days, but it was still pretty spectacular. There were both frozen and flowing waterfalls.
This is the view from the road. These amazing rock formations were purchased and made private in the late 1800’s, even before the Adirondack Park was formed. It is one of the oldest “attractions” in the United States.
Can you pronounce chasm? I usually mispronounce it and our neighboring town, Schroon Lake. Think school not shroom.
It was so cold the other night, we awoke to ice on the inside of the windows! It’s the perfect storm of a propane fireplace heater, which creates moisture, a new, well insulated house and arctic temperatures. We’re trying different combinations to prevent it. I guess the easy answer would be to simply turn the heat way up but noooooo.
To keep warm, I just keep brewing and drinking tea and photographing the pretty reflections.
Reflections on tea
I saw tracks outside and was convinced two snowshoe hares must have been exploring the field with a duck-footed hop. I don’t think we actually have snowshoe hares but it was a better thought than tracks of a bear awakened from its winter sleep. On closer inspection, Tim told me they were left by humans.
The absence of electric wires continues to pay off.