Challenged by Winter, February, 22, 2014
If you live nearly anywhere in Canada or the northern United States, this winter has likely created some serious challenges for you. The soaring price of natural gas tells part of the story. For us here in the Discovery Islands, cold was only one part of the problem—the other was drought. For nearly 6 weeks, we had no measureable rainfall. Beginning January 4th right through until Feb 11th not a drop of precipitation fell--snow or rain. This is unprecedented over 34 years of living here. As January progressed, the temperature began to drop until it reached temperatures of -15 C. This might not sound like much to those living in the central and northern parts of the continent but -15 C is a rare occurrence on the coast and combined with the damp air, it rivaled the -25 C temperatures prevalent elsewhere.
Here at Coast Mountain, our hydro electric system began to freeze up. Imagine an 8’ pipe of moving water almost freezing solid! It was everything I could do to keep the system from freezing and I only barely managed to prevent it from doing so. A Penstock freeze-up would have burst more than 120 meters of 8” waterline which would have cost many thousands of dollars to replace—to say nothing of the wasted time and materials.
That being said, the sights and sounds of an intensely cold winter are beautiful, with waterfalls and creeks creating fantastic ice sculptures. Even sea water begins to freeze at those temperatures and ice covered most of the bay in front of the lodge. Cedar, our Golden Retriever, loved to run out onto the broken slabs of ice at low tide to play.
Today, we’re back to good old wet snow and rain but March is not far away and with it, the promise of warmer weather.
Ralph, Lannie & Cedar