Week of February 12th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 12 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 15 Feb 16 Feb 17 Feb 18
High 1 -1 4 0 -6 1 13
Low -4 -4 -5 -6 -9 -7 -1

This week started out with the usual cloudy and depressing weather pattern, but by the weeks end it was simply glorious!

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been getting the daily temperatures above from a site called Weather Underground.  They have a history feature which allows me to go back and check what the temperature was every day.

We get moderate weather being so close to the lake, but in just six weeks I’ve observed how much the temperatures are above historical norms. As I write this today (on February 15) the low temperature was -6 C.  On average for this date it is -11 C. The record low was -30 C.  This is anecdotal, but almost every day so far in 2017 the temperatures has been several degrees warmer than historical averages.  You’ll have a hard time convincing me that climate change is not real.  Georgian Bay hasn’t frozen this year other than sometimes in the morning when there is a thin sheet of ice across the bay if the wind is calm overnight.

On February 12th I walked the whole length of the beach pretty much through a blizzard.  I’m definitely getting my exercise on the snowy days because even when I try and walk on the snowmobile trails, the snow is often pretty deep.

Looking towards beach one on February 12th 2017. Walking in and out of snow squalls

In the early part of the week I saw only two people walking on the beach.  I saw tons of snowmobilers though.  We’re getting new snow every day and I’m getting to know some of the regulars too.  All the snowmobilers wave at me which is pretty cool.

Lots of snowmobiles this time of year.  I tend to walk along the waterline and avoid the trails on the upper beach to avoid getting run over

I think I took my best picture on February 13th below.   This is a cottage I walk by every day.   They have an awesome location right on the beach.  The cottage is almost buried in a snow drift in this picture.  You can see the north end is blurred by blowing snow coming from drifts along the beach.

One of my favorites pictures so far. This was taken at 17th street north walking back to my truck.

I just had too Google Map this for comparison.  Below is what the same cottage looks like in the Spring.  Most of the properties have sand blown into the yard making it hard to grow grass.

The same cottage at the north end of 17th street in the spring of 2015

One of the coolest things I saw all week was a sled with a parachute attached.  I took pictures mostly at a distance because it was hard to get the sled and the chute in the same picture.  I was on the beach over an hour, and this guy was crisscrossing beach one the whole time.  He was obviously very good at his sport.  The wind was from the Northwest, but he seemed to have no trouble tacking back and forth.

Sled attached to a parachute crisscrossing the beach on February 13th.  He was moving faster than I could run to keep up.

Although I got pretty close, a full picture up close was impossible because the chute was at 60-70 feet out from the sled as you can see below.  I see people doing the same in the summer on surf boards with para-sails.

Travelling at high-speed with the chute a good distance from the sled

The picture below is not mine – I asked my cousin Gordon Sheppard in Collingwood for permission to re-post his picture from Facebook because I thought it was cool.   Note the angry looking sky.

Picture of the Collingwood terminals taken by my cousin Gordon Sheppard.

It was rough to walk on the beach this week.  I got up the beach every day, but found myself walking at least part way on the streets (usually on the way back) to avoid the wind and deep snow.  Picture below taken just east of 16th street north.

Picture looking north from Shore Lane. The snow blows across a ridge showing the “cut” the snow blower needs to make to keep Shore Lane clear.
The cloud cover broke briefly February 16th and we briefly saw the sun for the first in a while.

February 17th was sunny and also crisp and cold.  An awesome day.  I decided to head out on the ice to check things out.  It’s interesting how the ice moves in and out. You can see the pattern below where waves crash against the shore and freezes into a berm of ice, the water calms and freezes over night, and the next day a new frozen berm starts 20-30 feet out as the waves pick up again. Where were about a dozen such berms of various sizes walking from the shore to the edge of the water.   I didn’t feel comfortable getting too close to the open water even though it was cold enough in the morning when this was taken.

February 17th – walking out on the ice to check out the layers of ice berms caused by the wave action and successive freezing.

Saturday I think will be another record high temperature.  By around 10:00 AM when I ventured out it was already 8 degrees Celsius. Crazy warm.  We’re going to loose a lot of snow.  I’ll be curious to see what the beach looks like tomorrow.  There may be a lot of water and mud.  It’s supposed to be way above normal all week.  Great to feel the warmth of the sun.

February 18th was ridiculously warm. Already 8 degrees in the morning when this picture was taken



Week of February 5th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 05 Feb 06 Feb 07 Feb 08 Feb 09 Feb 10 Feb 11
High 0 0 4 -2 -3 -5 2
Low -5 -8 -1 -8 -12 -10 -5

I’m trying to be positive about February and put on a brave face, but I need to be honest – winter is getting old.  Walking down the beach is still interesting though and different every day.

On February 5th we once again had high winds. I’ve been watching this beautiful home shuttered for the winter at the far east end of Shore Lane. The west winds were finally too much for the Canadian flag as you can see below.

The Canadian Flag in front of a home at the ease end of Shore Lane is nothing but tatters after weeks of strong west winds.

Also on February 5th as I got down toward Beach 1 I saw a family head out on the ice obviously trying to get a look at the water.  I think it is safe enough given the cold temperatures, but I would be awfully careful near the edge of the ice.  It is far enough from shore now that the water is deep, and if you fell in the water, not only are you out of sight from the shore, but it would be almost impossible to get out of the water with the high waves.

I rarely see other people on the beach in the winter so I snapped this picture of a family who had parked near Beach 1 and headed out on the ice for a look.

Rather than walking from Beach 3 to Beach 1 (my usual route), I walked from 18th street west from Beach 3 to Beach 5 a couple of days this week for a change of scenery.   There are some different pictures of Beach 4 and Beach 5 in my February 7th gallery.

A sign just entering Beach 4 – also known as the “Dog Beach” – not because it is ugly, but because there is an area for dogs to run. 🙂

On February 8th we had another ice storm and schools were closed.  I don’t think the picture below does this justice, but the entire beach was glazed in a full centimeter of ice. I tried to walk on the beach but managed only a single block and cut north to Shore Lane at 17th street where the roads were treated with salt / sand.  We had high winds again as you can see by the snowing blowing across the ice below.

The sand dune near the 18th Street North beach entrance covered with a glaze of ice.

February 9th (below) was colder.  Unfortunately it was still pretty much impossible to walk down the beach any distance because of glare ice under a thin layer of snow.  I managed to walk a block, but needed to retreat to Shoreline again where the roads were plowed.  Below is one of my favorite pictures yet – looking across Nottawasaga Bay to Collingwood and Blue Mountain.  You can see why it is called Blue Mountain!  Today was one of the few days you could have skated quite a distance on the ice right near the shore.

Looking towards Collingwood and the Blue Mountains from near Beach 3

On February 10 the we got more snow and the schools were closed for the second day this week.  (Jamie is definitely having a good week).

It was possible to walk on the beach because there was a little more snow, but underneath the snow, you can see below it is glare ice.  It was still treacherous.  You could see areas where snow machines had tried to make a turn and just skidded across the ice.  Very little traction for the skis.

I cleared away some snow so you can the glare ice covering the sand. The whole distance of the beach was like this.

The picture below taken around 2:00 PM just as a lake effect snow band was ending on Friday.  Between the snow plow clearing the roads, and the drifting snow coming off the water, it was difficult to get down to the shoreline from around 16th street.

By Saturday things had warmed up again.  It became easier to walk on the beach only because the snow had gotten sticky and there were some well packed snowmobile trails.  The picture below taken on February 11th looking to the north.

Looking north into some threatening clouds on February 11th although we had no snow that day.




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.