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.

 

Week of January 8th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Jan 8 Jan 9 Jan 10 Jan 11 Jan 12 Jan 13 Jan 14
High -9 -2 6 7 1 -3 0
Low -13 -12 -5 0 -3 -9 -11

 

The week of January 8th started with snow squalls.  It was around -10 C when I walked down the beach Sunday morning, but with the wind chill it felt much colder.  I realized for the first time I would need some more serious winter gear to stay warm.

I tried to park at my usual spot on 18th street, but enough snow had fallen that I couldn’t get into the parking lot, so I parked instead up near beach one and walked from east to west instead.  The picture below is taken from near the end of the boardwalk looking west.

You could be forgiven for thinking the photo is blurry on the right, but this is a snow squall come in from the lake.  At times visibility was very poor.  It was so cold it was hard to hold onto the camera.  Your hands freeze rapidly with the wind and spray blowing in off the lake.

Overnight the ice had extended dramatically, and was out about 200 feet (my estimate) from shore.  You can see the waves off in the distance past the ice ridge. I didn’t venture out on the ice because I wasn’t sure if it was safe.

There was no ridge from the snow plow up near beach one for some reason (they must have removed it because the banks were large elsewhere), so I had no trouble getting into the parking lot.  As you can see, there is little competition for parking spots in January.  This lot would be packed any day in the summer.

January 9th was a little warmer, but the wind was still pretty nasty.  You can see in the photo below, that just one day later the beach was being swept of snow providing a hard surface to walk on.  Pictured to the right, the ice berms are getting higher as waves continue to crash up forming more ice.

On January 10th we had more snow.  I took a different route and came across a raft lodged in the ice near beach six.  I doubt this came across the lake because it doesn’t look nearly damaged enough.

By the end of the week I realized I was probably going to keep a proper journal of some kind, so I started to carry a better camera with me to take pictures.  Most the pictures after January 10th are taken with a Sony Cybershot already sometimes I still snap pictures with my phone.

The picture below is taken on beach one looking toward the pavilion on Beach street on January 14th.  I have no idea how the large ice chunks got there.  I saw pictures on the news that Beach Drive had been underwater at one point because of high waves so I suspect this is the fallout.  Some heavy equipment must have been piling up snow and I’m guessing the waves eroded the snow banks.

By January 14th enough snow was swept off the boardwalk that you could walk on it again.  Note how the sand from the beach is mixed with snow.  This picture is taken looking from the west end of the boardwalk toward beach one.

 

Week of January 1st 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Jan 1 Jan 2 Jan 3 Jan 4 Jan 5 Jan 6 Jan 7
High 3 3 2 1 -5 -5 -5
Low -1 -4 1 -8 -8 -12 -12

 

Welcome to the first day of my new years resolution.

When I resolved to walk down Wasaga Beach every day for a year, I wasn’t thinking about a website or photographs.  I was thinking mostly about trying to get outside for some exercise through the winter months.

The idea of a website didn’t occur to me until a few weeks later as I came to appreciate that every day on the beach is a different experience. I found myself taking pictures with my phone, and sharing interesting things I saw on my daily walk via Facebook.

Bugging my friends every day with random photos seemed like a bad idea, so Wasaga365.com was born!

Some days I walk from my house down to the beach, but most days my habit is to park at at the municipal lot at 18th street north and Shoreline (empty in the off season) and walk down to beach one and back.

We’d had some harsh weather in December, so by the time I started this adventure, the beach was already pretty interesting. The picture below is taken January 1st looking south from the water’s edge near 17th street (beach two). You can see ice chunks mixed with sand caused by the waves pushing ice onto the shore. Further up the shore, now covered with sand, are ice ridges caused by an earlier winter storm.

The second picture (below) is taken at beach one.  Note the ice ridges from the storm I mentioned covered with snow just beyond the snowmobile tracks.

During the winter months I rarely see anyone on the beach. Sometimes just the odd person on a snowmobile. This will change of course in the summer months assuming I can keep to my resolution!

By January 4th the weather was getting a little nastier with high winds and blowing snow. The photo below was taken just west of the end of the boardwalk.  The north side of the trees were covered with snow and ice.  Note how the growth of the trees is affected by the steady northwest winds.

Below is a satellite image showing where the photo was taken.  You can see the foot paths to and from the beach.  When the weather is harsh, I sometimes take these paths and walk parallel to the beach on Shore Lane to avoid the northwest wind.

The photo below was taken January 5th looking north toward the beach from 18th street  (where I normally park)  by Bungalows on the Beach.  You can see that with the high winds Georgian Bay is ice free.