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Surviving Winter in the Canadian Woods

Surviving winter in the Canadian woods, a blog post about a day in the life

Have you ever dreamt about packing up all your stuff and moving to the mountains? In the middle of nowhere? With no cell service? Where your most frequented visitors are the local deer and bears?

Take a walk on the wild side, and get a sneak peak of what life looks like in the booneys of Mabel Lake, British Columbia... 

For us out at Mabel Lake, we are pretty isolated. In the summertime, the local area is bustling with tourists coming to holiday at the lake, resort and golf course. Come mid-September, the whole area turns into a ghost town. Where before you couldn't drive faster than 20km/hour because you're scared to run someone over, to now going for a walk and not seeing a single soul. It's a stark difference.

But we like the quiet. The peacefulness. The isolation. In fact, we love it.

Our winters are the hardest and yet most relaxing time for us. With little markets, shows or events, we have the time to enjoy the solitude... and simply try to survive our winters in the booneys!  

We used to live in Calgary, where life in the winter was easier. You flicked a switch and had heat. You took a wee shovel and shovelled your driveway, maybe the neighbours too. A grocery store was just down the block and the power rarely was out. Cabin fever was a thing of the movies and your nearest friend was just a 10 minute walk away.

Out at Mabel Lake, BC things are different.

Our home, wood shop and guest house are all heated with wood burning stoves. Romantic, right? Maybe the first couple years it was novel and exciting, but nowadays its just another day in the life.

We have to search out, cut up, transport and chop ALL the wood we need to survive the winter, BEFORE the snow comes. This means many days out in the forest looking for the right fallen trees. Hauling it back to our property and chopping/stacking it ALL.

wood pile for woodburning stove in canadian mountains

Every morning, we wake up in an ice palace. The first order of daily business is to head downstairs and make a fire. Oh, there's no wood stacked in the house? I guess it's on with the mucks and up to the wood pile in your morning robe to bring in a load! Fingers crossed the wood is dried out enough to start a fire easily.

Once the fire is going, it's on with the kettle to make a fresh cup of coffee. Ahh... the best part of the day. The morning in silence. On the deck. With a fresh cup of coffee. Overlooking the beautiful mountains in front of us. A fresh blanket of snow covering everything.

Snow? Fresh snow?? MORE SNOW????

Here we go again...

We get lots of snow out at Mabel Lake. We're talking about the heavy, wet kind of snow. You know? The kind that breaks your back when you shovel it. We have a nice sized property with plenty of outdoor pathways that are used daily. So... let's finish off that coffee and grab a shovel.

Or should I say quad??shovelling the snow in the Canadian mountains means using the quad!

Yup, that's right. We use this bad boy to shovel our snow on our driveway – this alone can take a couple hours. And it's absolutely necessary to do... because if we neglect it, we'll be snowed in in no time!

Honestly, when there's so much snow on the roads, we don't even want to drive that 35km road into our nearest town. We're happy enough raiding the pantry.

Okay, the house is warmed up... the snow is finally all plowed... it's 3pm, gonna get dark soon.... let's relax and watch a movie.

Just kidding. Power outage. Chances are the power will be out for at least the night... maybe even a couple days. Board games and candles it is!

I think the one thing that people who live in the mountains never tell you is this: CABIN FEVER IS REAL.

Yup. It hits us all differently and at various times. There's something about being cooped up in a mountain house in the middle of the long Canadian winter that just makes us all a little crazy.

Call it what you want.. Cabin fever. The Grumpy Bug. Winter Blues. Temporary Insanity. Whatever. All I'm saying is, it's real!

Fat orange cat with cabin fever looking out at the snowy Canadian landscape

All in all, life in the booneys during the Canadian winter isn't cut out for everyone... but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, when is Spring coming???!?!


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