Frozen streams and marshes allow access to the backcountry during winter that is not available at other times of the year.

Frozen streams and marshes allow access to the backcountry during winter that is not available at other times of the year.

Nature paves winter walkways

One of the benefits of a cold North Island winter has to do with all the lakes, streams and marshes in our back country wilderness. During most of the year many of them are not as navigable as we would like them to be, even with a canoe or kayak.

One of the benefits of a cold North Island winter has to do with all the lakes, streams and marshes in our back country wilderness. During most of the year many of them are not as navigable as we would like them to be, even with a canoe or kayak. Trying to ply a canoe down some of the small rivers, such as the Macjack, which provides access to the ocean at Raft Cove, involves innumerable portages and even then only during high water periods.

Many smaller streams running into our larger waterways, such as the Nimpkish, could provide contact with areas of stunning beauty and excitement, yet are not traversable during most of the year.

When the weather hovers around zero for a bit and there is ice on the marshes, you need to be careful when wandering there. Grasses and mosses are great insulators and I’ve filled my boots many a time breaking through what looked to be frozen. This winter, our sub-zero temperatures changed all that. During our long, cold period anything that had water in it was frozen solid. Our lakes turned into immense skating rinks; the small creeks and rivers became highways and the normally inaccessible marshes and sloughs had frozen sidewalks all over them.

The painting shown here is from a marsh along the island highway near Woss Camp. It is typical of exactly what I’m talking about. There are some lovely views achievable by walking for ten minutes off the highway, views that you would never see the rest of the year.

For the photographer or painter, hundreds of compositions present themselves, while for most folks it’s a joy just to go for a walk into new territory. It turns out to be an opportunity for those who didn’t mind having nippy noses to explore those hard-to-get-to places.

So when the temperature dives, put on your long johns and get out there and enjoy!

 

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