Walking down the beach this time of year takes more energy than in the summer. The snow is too deep in places to walk. The snowmobile trails are better, but you still sink a couple of inches into the snow with each step.
This week started with more snow, and mid-week we had a significant warm-up. We reached a high of 12C (late at night)followed by a flash-freeze that caused school busses to be cancelled on Friday. The roads were treacherous the later part of the week, but I managed to get down the beach every day.
Parking was a challenge this week. My usually reliable 18th street public lot was blocked by banks from the snow plow. I nearly found myself stuck after over-estimating the depth of snow my beloved truck could walk through. Luckily I adhered to my brother’s golden rule: 2-wheels in, 4-wheels out. A few days I needed to start my walk from beach one because I couldn’t find a safe place to park.
Sunday, January 7th, 2018 – I recall this was taken at 15th street. I was finding the beach too hard to walk on, and cut up to Shore Lane for the remainder of my walk back. This picture taken looking north. Blowing snow from the beach is adhered to the cedars in the top right.
Sunday, January 7th, 2018 – Taken on Shore Lane near 15th street looking south. It’s a winter wonderland with all the trees covered by blowing snow.
Sunday, January 7th, 2018 – This picture illustrates why walking down the beach is hard in the winter. In places, the beach has a few inches of snow, and in other places the drifts are three feet deep as shown above. An accident of the wind has carved away a drift above to expose how deep the snow actually is. You’d never know without the exposed gulley. Hard to judge the depth of the snow.
Monday, January 8th, 2018 – We were up near freezing today and the snow was wet and therefore packed and easier to walk on. You can see the snowmobile trails I’m relying on in the foreground.
Monday, January 8th, 2018 – The reason the sky looks so dark is that I used the zoom on my camera to capture floating ice far out in the bay. Near shore the bay is frozen solid, but further out the ice comes and goes. I’m pretty sure this was solid ice because I couldn’t see any movement from waves.
Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 – I couldn’t park @ 18th street today because the snow was too deep so I started my walk from beach two walking west from the Municipal parking lot at 5th street. I’ll think carefully before doing this again. Despite snow pants, a base layer, and heavy socks, my boots got full of snow.
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 – Today was actually quite pleasant. This picture taken right at 18th street shows how much blowing snow has been coming off the water. The south side of the building is a giant snowdrift.
Thursday, January 11th, 2018 – So today was too warm. I went down to the beach briefly, but it was well above zero and not feasible to walk on. The beach was nothing but slush and mud. I elected to walk down Shore Lane instead and to walk an equivalent distance I ended up venturing further west than I usually go. This cabin, called “Whispering Pines”, always captures my imagination. I fear it may be abandoned because I recall it being boarded up last summer as well. This was and hopefully still is an awesome summer vacation property for somebody.
Friday, January 12th, 2018 – Back to the deep freeze. I can’t begin to tell you how cold today was with a steady wind directly from the north. My skull was aching despite my rabbit-fur hat. The beach that was slush and mud yesterday was frozen solid today. Where the sand is exposed it is easy to walk, but you need to watch for glare ice in places.
Friday, January 12th, 2018 – At the edge of the ice pack there was open water with waves driven by the winds crashing up on the ice. If someone ended up in the water out there, they would not stand a chance. Hard to see from this picture because open water is too far out.
Saturday, January 13th, 2018 – Saturday was more pleasant than Friday, but a similar dynamic. We still had strong northwest winds. You could safely walk out on the ice today with confidence because it was frozen solid. I wouldn’t venture too close to the edge of the ice though.
Saturday, January 13th, 2018 – Looking east toward Collingwood – the melted and re-frozen remnants of earlier snowmobile trails.
Saturday, January 13th, 2018 – Looking toward the beach from 16th street and Shore lane.