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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Travel In A White Winter Wonderland

by Doug Harvey

Winters in Canada are part of the very fabric that makes us Canadian. As a child I remember winter as a time that would begin with that very first snowfall. From that point on, life seemed to change, the look, the feel, everywhere you went, that magical shift to that pure white background seemed to be the missing link in a cold weather void.

It didn't take long for me as a child to realize that this White Winter Wonderland that had transformed our landscape into a perfect picture postcard seemed to have some very serious shortcomings. Even getting out the door sometimes seemed to be a problem because of growing snow drifts created by a cold North wind. I was fortunate enough to learn early that in order to have the necessary fortitude for any attempt at a successful outside experience, that one must be prepared wearing the proper cold weather attire, for without it, one might not return.

Another point that quickly became quite clear, is that the amount of difficulty one will experience during any kind of movement in the snow, seems to be directly related to the quantity of snow that covers the path you wish to take, times the quantity of other people taking the same path. Using this formula will dictate how far one can get on any given day, but extra travel time should also be added during any additional snow accumulation.

Extra caution must also be taken in all directions travelled due to many shrinking plowed roads and forever growing snow banks that seem to limit visibility and access from road to many areas with a sidewalk. With roads being first to get plowed, sidewalks seem to take a lot longer to get cleared, tempting more people that walk to use the road as a way to get around. A sharing situation on narrow winter roads raises the risk of a possible disaster for someone, but keeping a watchful eye on that easier path competition could be the only solution to a successful outing.

The last tip I would like to share is one of being prepared for worst type of situation that could occur on any winter trip. While traveling as a child with my parents during a Christmas vacation break returning home from a visit to relatives, the weather changed drastically only halfway from our destination, from a light snow to a full fledged blizzard. My dad did a great job of driving through the white out conditions, out in the middle of nowhere with no place to stop, just the occasional farmhouse. While driving slowly in a long sweeping curve, we came across a four foot snow drift that filled the full width of the road, and ended up sideways stuck in middle of this white mess. It was pretty cold that day so the falling snow was nice and light, but getting out of that snow drift proved to be impossible. Both my parents got out of the car on the passenger side because the drivers side was covered by the snow bank. While outside in the snow, a farmhouse could be seen, and a decision was made to not stay in the car but to go to the farmhouse for refuge. At the farmhouse we were greeted by a friendly couple that said that people get stuck in this stretch of road just about every time it snows, and that we were more than welcome to stay for as long as it took. This event in my life happened in the sixties, way before cell phones, and has always left me with the thought of what would have happened if that farmhouse would have not been there.

Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2017 16:39:43 PM EST

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