I managed to stay in summer and spring like weather for over a year but then I got the brilliant idea of going to a freezing cold and snowy Canada for a couple of weeks. After all it's not that of a big detour flying up there first on the way to Guatemala instead of going straight from Mexico. Ok, that's a tiny lie, but hey it was good timing to go and see Canadian Boy one more time before heading south in Central America and then finally return to Amsterdam. So again I went to the small town of Edson two hours outside Edmonton and that's how I found myself go ice fishing for the first time in my whole life...
I normally don't say no to something I haven't tried before but fishing is something I never in my life had the interest of trying so when getting the question of going ice fishing when it's -10 degrees celsius then my answer was a "no, let's go for a hike instead". But Canadian Boy changed his tactics after a third attempt of asking me about going ice fishing, instead he said let's go to the lake tomorrow... I'm a clever girl so managed to quickly to figure out that he was still talking about ice fishing but I reluctantly gave in and agreed. So we and the neighbors drove to the nearest lake about 10 minutes from the house.
It took about two minutes for my toes to freeze in to block of ice so was very happy that a fire was arranged as soon as we got there. Not sure how I felt about setting up a fire on ice thinking "fire+ice=water" which in my mind would mean that the fire would eventually sink through the ice. I left it to the experts though and of course there was nothing to worry about. You don't need to have a truck belonging the the fire department nearby when making fires in Canada by the way, it just happened to be that the neighbor was on call and that's where he works. And yes that's a propane tank used to start the fire, apparently that's how things are done here...
I can't say that I put much effort in to the actually fishing, I did feel that I needed proof that I done it though so had a one minute photo shoot where I sit and try to look excited. It looks more like I'm crying but a close up shows a small, brave smile. So what did I do when not putting an effort in to the fishing??? Oh I kept busy, I drank a lot of coffee to help me stay warm, I highly enjoyed my grilled cheese sandwich and half of the boy's grilled cheese sandwich while the kids were eating burnt hot dogs! I sat by the fire and tried to get my toes to warm up since the rest of my body at this stage had adjusted to the cold. After all the coffee I had consumed, I also had to go for a toilet break in the bushes and that took some time due to all the layers I was wearing, I don't recommend peeing in nature while wearing two pairs of running tights and a couple of long layers on top in -10 degrees celsius, it's hard to keep the balance trying holding tights down and tops up, at least the snow minimize the splashing! Ok, it might not have been -10 but it was below zero and felt extremely cold. After a couple of hours I started to hope that the kids would get bored and complain that they wanted to go home since that's what I wanted to do but felt I didn't want to be a nagging high maintenance bitch!
In the end the neighbors decided it was time to pack up and i wasn't to disappointed that we quickly did the same. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get a single fish though. It might sound like I hated every single moment of this experience, that's not entirely true. Yes, there was times I felt like crying because my toes were so cold but I always enjoy the outdoor so I would give it another go. This time I would want some guarantee of keeping toes warm and I would want a lake that is not an "urban lake" where you have train tracks on one side and some sort of industrial thing on the other side!!!
So as you might have guessed, hiking in the winter is a much more preferred thing to do for me then ice fishing. Why is that? You are constantly moving so you stay warm, if you dressed for the weather that is. Maybe not a good idea to hike in snow wearing flip flops, a singlet and a pair of shorts. But with a few layers of clothing, some good boots and a woolly hat and you all set. It's never a good idea to hike in flip-flops by the way... Other reasons hiking is the choice of activity over ice fishing includes that you get to see views as the one above (where I'm in my pink wooly hat), you sometimes get to see some wildlife if you lucky and also it's more challenging and fun, especially when you hike trails where not many people hiked recently so you sometimes have to half slide half climb down some hills.
What is not fun to hike though is when you decide to do a 8 km hike (4 km there and 4 km back) on a closed road and you realize that most of it is just one long stretch with no curves or bends. The only thing you see is a never ending road...
I think I can even say that I preferred the hikes I done in winter in Canada then the ones done in the summer. There is less people around, because people seems to be clever and they don't want to go outside when it's freezing outside. You also get to "hike" or maybe i should call it walk, in places you can't during the summer time. Like in the icy pictures above, the Maligne Canyon in Jaspers. I visited this place when I was here in the summer as well and the place looked completely different and best of all we could actually go down in the canyon and walk on the ice. Had a great time exploring a tiny ice cave and looking at ice formations. I didn't even complain when my foot got soaked after one of my feet got through the ice.
Ok, I did tell one minor lie in this post, the deers in the picture was actually not spotted during a hike. We saw them during the time we parked this big work trailer where you actually can see some houses so not as idyllic as the picture might show!
I decided that it was time for a career break. So handed in my notice to the company who I worked with for the last ten years. It's time to pack my bag and depart from Amsterdam which been my home town for the last 4.5 years. -"Amsterdam, it's not you it's me and I need a break!". Read more
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