Week of January 29th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 01 Feb 02 Feb 03 Feb 04
High -4 -6 -2 0 -4 -2 -2
Low -8 -12 -10 -5 -6 -7 -7

It’s good to be home and back into my daily routine.

Following my trip to Denver, we’re back to a more seasonal weather pattern.

We’re getting snow pretty much every day again so the snowmobilers are definitely happy.

This time of year I see more people on the beach driving snowmobiles than walking.  It’s well below freezing every day, but with the wind so high it is tough for ice to form on the lake.

The picture below taken on Sunday January 29th.

Snowmobile running along the shoreline near beach 2

It’s actually perfect weather for walking on the beach.  As you can see below, the beach is swept clean by the wind and the sand is frozen solid but not ice covered.  You can see snow squalls off in the distance toward beach one in the distance.  The photo below also taken on January 29th.  As long as you dress in layers it’s very pleasant.

This picture taken from the border of beach 2 and 3 looking east. Despite a lot of snow the wind keeps the beach clear.

On Monday January 30th I took a different route, walking from my house to beach 5 and then heading west to beach 6.  We live just south of one of the Wasaga Sands dunes (the one I showed last week), so I climbed the hill and took a few pictures below.

Taken near our house on the sand dune near the water tower on Wasaga Sands drive

The picture above is looking to the next dune to the west. One of my neighbors (who I have yet to meet) has a beautiful home on top of the dune over with an awesome view of Georgian Bay and points all around as you can see.  His road up the hill has a switch back, and even so I sometimes wonder how he gets up there in the winter.

The picture below taken from the same dune looking to the northwest.  You can see a popular sliding hill below with Georgian Bay and the Blue Mountains far in the distance.

Looking down from the sand dune to a recreational field that is a popular sliding hill for kids in the winter. The hill is hard to see from this height. There are often many cars parked along the side of the road and people bring urns of coffee and hot chocolate.

By the time I got down to the beach (below) and started walking west to beach 6, the clouds were clearing on the horizon and it was a beautiful sunset.  I don’t usually take this route, but lots to see at this end of the beach as well.

Walking on beach 6 heading west as the sun sets

On January 31st the weather was crisp but clear and I was walking my more regular route from beach three to beach one (below).  I noticed that the patio doors are now fully installed in my favorite house.  This apparently happened sometime over the last 48 hours.

House undergoing renovation on shoreline drive as seen from the beach. The third patio door now installed. Two lovely brick fireplaces in the front patio.

February 1st (below) was really neat.  The winds were high from the north, but at just slightly before freezing it was surprisingly pleasant.   I managed to get to the beach when things were clear.  We had snow squalls for much of the day.  The picture below taken at my usual entry point to the beach at 18th street north.  The snow was drifting across the beach.

A windy day walking onto the beach from 18th street north near Bungalows on the Beach

We had more snow overnight and early in the morning, but the beach was still surprisingly clear. Easy day for walking.

Looking east toward beach one. It snowed again overnight and the wind has not net scoured the beach down to the frozen sand.

The picture below was taken on my way back looking towards Collingwood. You can see the ski runs on Blue Mountain.  The large structure you see across the bay is the Collingwood Grain Terminal built in 1929.   The waves were particularly high Wednesday as you can see below.  Even though it was cold, I decided it would be a bad idea to get out on the ice and try for a better picture.

On Feburary 3rd I took a slightly different route, walking down to beach one and then walking north to the Nottawasaga River.  Below is a picture of the Nancy Island Historic Site, closed for the season.  You can read about Nancy Island here.

During the war of 1812, the British schooner Nancy was caught on Georgian Bay, and attacked by the Americans.  The ship tried to retreat up the Nottawasaga rover but was sunk.  The island actually formed around the hull of the ship.  We’re certainly going to get there this summer for a tour.

Site where the British Schooner Nancy was sunk fleeing up the Nottawasaga River during the War of 1812.

As much as I enjoy walking down the beach, I admit I’m getting tired of these strong, cold west winds.  Walking from beach 3 to beach was was easy, but coming back into the wind was brutal.  I had to walk backwards because my face kept getting dumb. The ice had crept out further from shore again with multiple layers of berms as you can see below.

Looking north from beach 3. Multiple layers of ice berms formed over the past two days owing to cold nights and the continuous wave action.

I walked a little further than I usually do towards the east.  You can see some of the protected coastal vegetation and the second boardwalk to the east of the beach one pavilion in the background.  It looks like sand below, but you’re seeing a thin layer of sand that has blown from the beach and sits on top of the snow.

Protected vegetation east of Beach one. There are lots of rare plants on the beach that are protected from foot traffic in the summer.


Week of January 22nd 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28
High 5 2 1 4 1 2 1
Low 2 0 0 0 0 -1 -3

This week my walking habit was interrupted due to a business trip to Denver. Like the previous week, the week of January 22nd was unusually warm.

The pictures below were taken on Sunday January 22nd.  I made a point of taking this picture because for the first time in a long time I had company on the beach.! Not one, but three people out walking!  It was a balmy five degrees. There was still ice on the shore, but no walking on the ice this week.  The beach was muddy and dirty.

This is one of my favorite houses on the shoreline.  I hope the owners don’t mind me pointing it out.  It has been under renovation for as long as I’ve lived in Wasaga Beach (a year and a half).  I noticed the patio doors getting installed today so I snapped a picture.  This home is very nicely done.

On my way home from the beach, I snapped the picture below.  This is the sand dune just north of our house on Wasaga Sands.  With the warm weather we’re losing all the snow on the hill.  Kids often slide down this hill in the winter. You need to be brave though and watch for traffic because it is more than a little steep and there is no stopping once you start down the hill.

By January 23rd (below) the boardwalk was pretty much completely clear of snow and ice for the first time since early December.  We lost a ton of snow in just a few days.

Below is the same house under renovation I mentioned from Shoreline drive also taken January 23rd but from the backside.

Leaving for Denver in the morning so no beach walking for a few days.  I’ll be walking around Aurora, Colorado instead by the Denver Tech Center.

By the time I got back home from Denver (January 28th) things were cooling down again.  The picture below is looking north towards Georgian Bay.   This picture taken early morning Saturday so still below freezing and once again easy to walk on the beach.


Week of January 15th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Jan 15 Jan 16 Jan 17 Jan 18 Jan 19 Jan 20 Jan 21
High 0 6 0 3 2 3 4
Low -3 -3 -3 0 1 0 1

The third week of my daily walks down Wasaga Beach saw some welcome warm weather followed by an impressive ice storm.

It’s unusual to have so many warm days in January.  I guess global warming is the new reality.  By January 15th the snowmobile trails that cross the upper part of the beach were turning to mud.

There is still ice on the shore as you can see (to the left in the picture below).

I decided it was safe enough to venture out to the edge of ice to have a look given that last week was cold and the ice had retreated back close to the shore. Note all the slush and ice chunks floating in the picture below.  This picture is taken looking towards blue mountain which is visible in the distance.  You can kind of see why they call it blue mountain!

With warmer weather, the beach was challenging to walk on.  This picture below was taken mid afternoon January 16th looking west. There was still ice on the beach a slick of water on top made footing treacherous.  I made it the whole distance, but decided it was probably a bad idea.  I need to survive the year without a sprained ankle if I’m going to keep this resolution after all.

January 17th was even worse. The schools were closed due to an ice storm.  (I think our fourth day schools were closed from the start of the month).  The picture below was taken from our front yard. You can see the ice on the driveway.  Footing was even more treacherous and they were asking people to stay off the roads so I didn’t venture out on Tuesday.

I realized there would be some days when I couldn’t make it down the beach (such as when I was travelling for business or when there is extreme weather) so I decided I’d need to go twice some days to make up for the days I could not get down there.  So my policy was revised to 365 walks down the beach in 2017, but not necessary a walk every single day.

We had some excitement due to the ice storm early morning on January 18th (Wednesday). I awoke a few times after midnight as our power was flickering off and on.

When the power failed for the second time around 1:00 AM, in the dark of night I could see what looked like reflections of flames on the ice outside our front yard.  I was convinced our house was on fire, so I woke up Michelle and Jamie in a panic.

Turned out the issue was a block south of us.  A downed hydro wire was arcing on Sunnidale lighting up the sky just south of Wasaga Sands.  I got there just as emergency vehicles were arriving. They were crawling because the roads were treacherous.  Nobody was hurt thankfully.  We got power back a little after 4 AM.  The pictures don’t to this justice, but in the black of night with no streetlights, the whole sky was lit up.

January 18th (below) following the adventure the night before was a little better.  I managed to get down to the beach and walk my regular route although there was still a lot of freezing rain and ice.

January 19th and 20th (Sunday / Monday) conditions were about the same. The weather was warm and the beach had become pretty muddy.  I set my camera up on a sign post near beach two and took the picture below with the camera delay setting.

I managed to walk down the beach every day for the balance of the week and made some evening trips as well to beach 6, but as you can see below the conditions were pretty horrible.  Foggy and in places very muddy.