Saturday, January 5, 2013

World record ice skating trail!?!

After all the madness surrounding Xmas, New Year and the parties, family dinners, drinks and lots of football on the telly - its all back to normal day to day life.

 We did have a nice day out on New Years day though before it all ended. It was a lovely walk along the river - but not a walk along the river in the way you would imagine - a walk ALONG the river. On the thick ice that now covers the dark cold water below.

The trail going toward the city.

A few skaters on the river

Winnipeg has a competition with Ottawa to see which city can have the longest naturally frozen ice skating trail in the world and this year Winnipeg has its nose in front. There is already about 2 miles of trail along the river from the city centre towards where we live in Wolseley.

It doesn't feel right to me though - walking along frozen ice along a river. But since there were a few  hundred other people skating, playing hockey and generally enjoying the bright sunny day - it felt a bit safer than if I was on my own.

Its not only skaters!
We walked about 5 miles in all - into town and back and loved every minute - except when the workmen who were building ladders for people to use to walk down onto the ice - drove along in their little tractors - I could feel the ice beneath my feet creaking and moving with the weight of the vehicles and I really wasn't too happy about it!! But there was no breakage and we were quite safe it seemed.

We also came across a really cool bit of ice that was clear - you could see about 18 inches down through the ice  - along a large crack that had formed and down to the river flowing below. We also found a drill hole - about 12 inches deep that had been made to check the depth of the ice. I found a large branch and tried in vain to break the ice at the hole. It didn't budge and made me feel a lot safer that I felt before.
Little kid enjoying a bit of hockey training.

A hockey game in progress..

All in all it was a fun day out and the first time I can recall walking along a frozen river. Even though it was sunny it was still below minus 20 degrees Celsius, so we didn't skate - but in January, when hopefully it will warm up to about minus 10 for a day or two - we are hoping to get down to town again and have a good skate along. Maybe by then, Winnipeg will have a new record - they are hoping for about 5 miles of trails - plus there will be lots of huts along the way where you can rest, get warm and maybe even get a coffee or a tea.

Me - in the middle of the river.

The view along the trail

We did find one bloke giving out free tea the other day - complete with tent and a wood fire burning on the ice - now that did feel a little wrong - sitting around a bonfire - a hot, flaming bonfire on the frozen ice of the river. Weirs  - but also very cool!!!
That be at least a foot deep!

You can see down to the water below.

Free tea!!

Strange place for a fire!!
If you haven't yet had a way to see just how cold winter gets in Canada and how long it lasts I found something this morning that will show you in a photo..... one household I passed while out on a walk has built their own half sized hockey rick in their front garden. It has been created by making a small fenced area and then slowly adding water over a period of time - the water has frozen solid and is now well over a foot thick...they have even added the lines to the rink and a hockey net. This just wouldn't be possible in the UK. However, over here it hasn't risen about freezing for well over 6 weeks and the warmest its been in the last fortnight has been about -6degrees. The funny thing is - you get used to it!!

Front garden hockey rink!!


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