I am a northern person.
I was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. In Regina there are about 86 days a year with wind chill of -20°C or lower, 43 days it feels like -30°C or colder and 16.3 days with wind chill of -40°C or lower. In short, it gets cold.
I grew up mostly in Ottawa, Ontario. Ottawa used to hold the dubious distinction of being the coldest national capital city in the world. It has recently been surpassed by Ulan Bator, Mongolia, but still, it gets cold.
I have lived through almost 50 Canadian winters, none in southern BC, which doesn’t really have Canadian winters.
I currently live in Postville, on the north coast of Labrador. That even sounds cold.
I love winter.
Despite all of that, Plan A is always: Do not go out in a blizzard unless absolutely necessary, the definition of which is highly debatable.
When you have a 130-pound Newfoundland dog who does not like being cooped up in the house, however, Plan A is not an option.
Plan B is: Be prepared.
So, on December 28, with winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour driving heavy snow horizontally across the land, my preparation was as follows:
- Scarf to cover lower face.
- Tuque to cover forehead.
- Safety glasses.
- Snow pants.
- Hooded, down-filled parka.
- Waterproof winter boots.
- Snow shoes.
- Hunting knife.
- Matches and paper.
- Let somebody know we are going out, where and when we expect to be back.
Lady MacBeth’s preparation was as follows:
- Wait patiently for Daddy to complete 1 through 11.
We went out against the whipping wind and snow, of course, so it would be to our back on the way home. I kept my hood tightly wrapped around my hat and scarf and goggles and it wasn’t that bad because I was prepared. Lady, on the other hand, prepared by evolution and selective breeding, boldly faced the gale sticking her nose up in the air as if sampling the scents on a fragrant tropical breeze.
Once we got into the trees it was quite pleasant. There are few things quite as pretty or cozy as the black spruce forests of northern Labrador covered in snow. Overall, it was a great experience being out on the land in weather one would generally miss out on if one did not have the advantage of a canine friend who is seemingly oblivious to it. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this Lady from making her Daddy get his daily exercise.