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USA Washington

Snoqualmie to Yakima, Washington

Snoqualmie to Yakima, Washington Road reports from Snoqualmie Pass indicated that aside from a bit of poorer visibility, I should have no problems with road conditions. Snoqualmie Pass and a couple of other ridges between Snoqualmie and Yakima were the areas that concerned me the most when I was planning this winter road trip so getting through this area without any serious issues would certainly help keep me on schedule. Therefore, after making a tourist-style stop as Snoqualmie Falls, I was on the road again heading skyward into the mountain passes. Although the road was clear and dry, up ahead I could see that I would be soon encountering fog and possibly snow squalls. DSC_7476-roadway DSC_7479-roadway DSC_7480-snow-ahead DSC_7482-snow-ahead DSC_7487-road-signs DSC_7499-fog-ahead Although the fog and low-lying cloud cover reduced visibility to near zero for some short stretches of this portion of the trip and required a drop in speed on occasion to 30mph, there was no area where the roads were slippery so no need to install chains or rely on the 4 wheel drive capability of my brother’s truck.  At some locations, there was a heavy coating of frost on the trees and fences and gave the landscape a truly magical appearance. DSC_7500-Roadside DSC_7504-frosted DSC_7506-one-way-sign DSC_7507-frosted
DSC_7509-Truck-kayak-fog

Made it into Yakima, Washington without encountering any new problems once we began to drop in elevation form the higher passes and ridges.  Next day, would be the stretch from Yakima to Twin Falls.

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Canada Explorer Old Quarry Trail Ontario Ottawa Ottawa Greenbelt Trails

Feeding The Deer – Old Quarry Trail

Weather was nice today. Above freezing , sun shining and limited wind. A couple of days ago, I had decided to go out on the Beaver Trail with sunflower seeds in my pockets to feed the many Chickadees that frequent that trail. Today, I decided to head over to the Old Quarry Trail to see if I could find some deer to feed. With both carrots and sunflower seeds in my pockets, I was prepared for both Chickadees and deer. I had expected the trails to be wet and slippery so wore my better, water-resistant, boots. I was glad that I did!

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Polar Bear Jump – Video and Additional Photos

As promised, here is a short video from this year’s Polar Bear Jump into the Ottawa River. Click on the image below and shiver along with the participants.

Polar Bear Jump – Video and Additional Photos

Below is a collection of additional photos from the day. Enjoy!

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Polar Bear Jump – New Years Day – Ottawa

Polar Bear Jump – New Years Day – Ottawa

In support of Stopping Children’s Cancer, SEARS holds the Great Canadian Chill. This year, the event was located at Britannia Beach. (Location) The Great Canadian Chill is basically a Polar Bear Jump. Similar to a Polar Bear Swim except that, instead of running into the cold water, you jump in.

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Polar Bear Swim – New Year’s Day – Britannia Beach, Ottawa, Ontario

Polar Bear Swim – New Year’s Day, 2011 – Ottawa, Ontario

Update: THe cold water is waiting for the 2012 event – see our 2012 blog

Graeme and I and my father got to Britannia Beach (Location) this morning for the “Great Canadian Chill” a.k.a. Polar Plunge. Just posting a few quick shots from the Polar Bear swim preparations in place before the actual activities of the morning began. Will be adding to this post later this evening but have other responsibilities first.

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Another Snow-free Fall day – Kanata/Nepean, Ontario

Another Snow-free Fall day – Kanata/Nepean, Ontario

It was a nice day (-3C) to be outside in the fresh air as long as you found a bit of shelter from the wind. Unlike other parts of North America, the area around Ottawa has escaped any serious snowfall (so far!). Had a good rainfall this week though, so lots of puddles with coatings of ice and interesting ice patterns.

As I was driving along one of my unmaintained trails, I came to a spot where the rain had flooded a bit of the rutted road and decided to turn back. Couldn’t trust that the frost had firmed up the spot enough and certainly didn’t want to walk a mile to the nearest farmhouse!

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Kanata (Ottawa), Ontario – A bit of Freezing Rain

Kanata (Ottawa), Ontario – A bit of Freezing Rain

Ottawa residents awakened this morning to an ice-covered wonderland unless, of course, your car was parked outside and you wanted to get to work, in which case, it wasn’t such a wonderland. Temperatures were hovering around -4C this morning so a lot of scraping was being done in near darkness.

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Winterlude Ice Sculptures – Ottawa – 2010

Winterlude Ice Sculptures – Ottawa – 2010

“Winterlude” is the name chosen for the winter festival celebrated in early February each year in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. For many the main attraction is skating on the Rideau Canal. For others it is the on stage entertainment. For me, it is the ice sculptures. I enjoy seeing the ice artists transforming large blocks of ice into translucent objects of art using such unlikely combinations of tools such as chainsaws, Dremels and household irons.

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Canada Explorer Carp Home and About Ontario

A drive through the countryside

A drive through the countryside

It was cold but the sun was shining so I took a bit  of a break and drove through the countryside looking for something a bit different to photograph.

At one point a bridge over a rushing river near Fitzroy Harbour gave me a chance to get some shots of ice and water. I had to have the tripod feet in the river to take the shot. Later realized that the rushing water was shaking the tripod and had to modify that approach.

A short distance away a wonderful iron bridge crossed the same river. Getting to the brdge wasn’t too bad since I had the strong wind at my back as I walked along the railway tracks. Walking back to the car was a different story as at -20C the wind in my face had a real bite to it!

Church of St. Thomas the Apostle

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Canada Explorer Home and About Ontario Ottawa

Winterlude 2006 – Ice Sculptures

Winterlude 2006 – Ice Sculptures

One aspect of the Winterlude festival in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada’s Capital city) that I enjoy seeing is the talented work of the amateur and professional ice sculptors. Amazing what they can do with blocks of ice as they use all sorts of instruments to remove the bits of ice that they don’t want. Sometimes, it is a chainsaw that cuts away the large bits and then there is a whole collection of smaller tools such as knives, axes and Dremels but the really interesting part is when they go to work with irons and blow torches to smooth out the finished product.

This photograph appears in a NowPublic news story:Rideau Canal named UN World Heritage site.