Riverview Winterlude

After the Groundhog Day Storm and the relentless never ending snowfalls here in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada we have started to learn the importance of never taking a mild sunny day for granted. We have been shoveling out from Nor’Easter after storm after Nor Easter and the snow piles on the side of our driveway are now about 8 feet high! We’ve already had over 200cm of snow this winter and there is more on the way.

Knowing that another storm will be following that Groundhog Storm business we decided to not waste a moment of the day today when we saw the sun shining and the high temps were expected to be around freezing.

The Riverview Winterlude started yesterday, running two weeks, full of winter activities like free skating, free skiing, sliding on the Riverview Toboggan Hill, sleigh rides and the like so we decided to get out the skates and start the day by going for some free skating at the Bridgedale Community Centre.

When I saw free skating advertised in the Winterlude booklet I had visions of gliding over the Rideau Canal on a long meandering stretch of ice on a river or lake…oops…we found the outdoor skating to be about the length of the fish counter at Sobeys and the width of, well…half the length of the fish counter at Sobeys.
No Matter! We hadn’t been skating since back in the days at Brome Lake and with the sunny blue skies we wouldn’t have been upset no matter what the ice size!

It didn’t take too long before my legs were feeling a bit of a burn and my ankles were starting to heat up under the strain….but it was sooo fun! DD warmed up and grabbed a hockey stick and was giving pointers to the other woman skating with us. I had to go sit on the bench after 20 minutes but DD get doing laps and turns and having fun.

A papa and his kids came to rink and it looked like it was the first time for the little son to be on skates. He was only up to his papa’s waist and could hardly stand up. His papa finally sort of held him by the arms and started skating with the little boy’s skates barely touching the ice…he was so happy! HE started squealing and yelling: “I’m skaaaating! I’m skaaating!” It was such a big thing for that little guy to be skating! We all laughed…he was a real cutie patootie!

After the skating we decided to go to Canadian Tire and see if we could get some crazy carpets to do some sliding at the hill…they were sold out…must have been a major run on crazy carpets with the impending Winterlude coming.

Oh well…they had snowshoes which was also on our list of things to do..so I got my first pair of snowshoes since when I was living in Yellowknife. Back then the snowshoes were authentic Dene snowshoes made of sinew and huge formed wooden beams. I remember when we used to go snowshoeing it looked like duck feet prints in the snow….those old-school snowshoes were so wide you had to walk like a bowlegged cowboy or you’d trip and end up with your face in a snow bank.

We went to Home Hardware to try our luck for Crazy Carpets…They had them!! It was our lucky day because they were cheaper than at Canadian Tire. That new Canadian Tire in Riverview is nice to have but it probably takes a lot of business away from the Home Hardware…but every time I go to Home Hardware I always find what I need and often cheaper…oh well! The important thing was getting our two crazy carpets so we could go sliding.

The Sliding Hill in Riverview is awesome! There were four separate downhill runs and with all the people crowded at the top we were afraid it would be a free-for-all rock-em-sock-em parade of pile-ups and collisions on the hill but everyone was waiting their turn, in lines, fairly organized…whoa…what place is this?

DD and I did a few runs on our new red sliders…it was great fun! Everyone was having fun!

There was this British fellow who went tobogganing with his big white dog, looked like a Malamut or something of a Husky Dog. He went down the hill with one of the big dogs on the toboggan with him…the dog squirmed a bit but seemed to enjoy it as much as a dog could!

For some reason seeing this fellow with a British accent sliding with his dog made me think I was watching Karl Pilkington in the Canadian episode of An Idiot Abroad! I can just see Ricky Gervais calling Karl on the phone telling him. “Ok now Karl, we’ve arranged to send you to Riverview to do some dog sledding carrying a dowg on a toboggan….” And then Karl on the hill with his toboggan and this big dog replying “Y eah, ok, so I did but why did I go down the hill carrying the dowg? Isn’t the dowg supposed to be pulling me like an Eskimo dowg team?” And Ricky says “Yeah, but I wanted to see you to carry the dowg down the hill for my amusement! Sky 1 viewers don’t want to see you running a re-enactment of Sergeant Dempster’s 1920 Patrol through the Yukon, they want to see you and a dowg squirming and farting down a toboggan hill!“

It was worth seeing! It was brilliant television!

No offense meant for the fellow on the hill with his two lovely dogs…I just thought it was hilarious seeing that little puppy flying down the hill and it made me think of the absurdity in Pilkington’s adventures! Pilkington is the type who would find himself careening down a hill holding a 90 pound dog who was squirming and farting all the way down the hill!!

So much fun but we were getting tired so went back to go try the new snowshoes…and we needed a little bite to eat…ohhh….walk past the trailer selling hotdogs and hamburgers…bad bad bad…whenever I see a “person of abundance” walking from the canteen with 3 hotdogs and French fries in their hands I realize why I mustn’t give in to the temptation!

So we drove to the Sand Hill Side Trail on the Dobson trail which is one of our favorite spots to walk the Dobson. If you start at the trail head in Riverview you will often find lots more people…and dogs…and of course lots of dog poo. It’s impossible to get lost in that section…the trail is glowing yellow!

At the Sand Hill Side Trail it is usually quiet so we drove there to do some snowshoeing.

DD had packed us a nice picnic lunch and a snack so we sat in back seats of the car with some hot chocolate with marshmallows, some peanut butter wraps, and a banana to re-charge our batteries. I could have probably had a nap in the backseat but the sunny skies were calling us to hit the trail.

I love my new snowshoes! Last week on the trail I was sinking in to the snow and it made for too much effort….with my new snowshoes I was rocking and rolling on the trail.

After all the snow from the Groundhog Storm and all the snow here in New Brunswick the trail was picturesque…truly awesome. The trail was a well defined swathe through the snow with edges rising up 3 feet on either side of us from deep snow banks. The trees were all powdered and glistening with icicles…it is so quiet on the Dobson Trail.

How lucky we are to be in this place on these mild winter days on the trail all alone with only the sound of the wind and the occasional chickadee who lands nearby in a tree to say hello.

We turned left at the beaver dam and soon got to a fallen tree where the trail was unbroken. We broke the trail for a few hundred feet…it’s quite a challenge to cut a fresh trail in that deep snow but I was keen to do it with my brand new snowshoes! We finally got to a sunny opening and decided to make a little picnic area.

I stamped a little spot flat around a tree and we had a picnic lunch. DD packed us some dehydrated vegetable soup with some cheese and crackers. We had the thermos of boiling water and it was so amazing! How come food, even the simplest soup and crackers, can taste so fantastic when you’re out in the bush?

It was a wonderful moment sitting there on our Heat-a-Seat leaning against that friendly tree just listening to the quiet and having a tasty lunch!

After lunch we headed back home to clean out the woodstove and relax…nothing like a hot bath a warm fire a cold beer for DAMI and a nice cup of kava for DD…ahhh…what a great day! …but wait…what is that feeling? Oh my…after skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing all in one day I’m starting to feel like Rocky Balboa after 15 rounds with Apollo Creed…we’ll sleep well tonight but tomorrow don’t expect me to move off the couch!

Oh wait…isn’t there another snowstorm coming??

Merci la vie for that incredible day…a little break before another day of shoveling!!