The unbearable weight of snowflakes

Imagine it’s -44C. A gale is blasting snow crystals into your face, sharp as metal shavings. Your nostril hairs crackle in your nose, any exposed skin burns and your eyelashes are freezing together.

The trail you tramped out with snowshoes yesterday has disappeared under drifts and you’re stumbling thigh deep in snow. This was my journey to the bloody toilet most mornings in January.

The drifts outside the house are now higher than the windows. Homer is snowed into his doghouse and ice dust blows in under the back door. I won’t be surprised if we wake up one morning under blankets of soft, cold white. 

The trees and rooves are all sagging under the tremendous icy weight. Stand still for too long and we too are sagging, hoods and hats packed with it.
Travelling by snowmachine has been a frost-bitten slog of swimming the skidoos through unbroken white powder, with the wind nipping at our cheeks and the cold chewing on toes and fingers.

On one journey to town we were lost in ice fog for wha…

From the depth of darkness into flat light

December travel, eh? Cancelled trains, strikes, traffic jams, white out so bad you can’t see a foot ahead and snow drifts as high as your chest with a sheer 3,000 foot drop below.

We all have our transport issues throughout the festive season. Though when I lived in London, if the train turned up, I got on. I never dithered on the platform, wondering if it might plunge off Blackfriars Bridge into the Thames.

We made one successful trip to town in mid-December, only 5 hours each way with breaks, to pick up a new snowmachine. Since then, we got turned back twice.

We have two routes. A 160 mile round trip, heading away from town downriver for 20 miles and then going up over the mountains.

Or an 80 mile round trip, straight up the river to town. Depending on ice conditions, it is not necessarily faster. And, as it requires more checking of ice depth and bludgeoning through jumbled chunks and slabs, it is often a while before we’ve got that route in.

We had our hearts set on a booze up with …