Skiing Lake Tampaja

Seems like it was only yesterday that we had our last moose (elk) migration. Well, obviously spring is getting close, because they have passed back through again heading north. It does seem that they enjoy passing by early in the morning, pretty much exactly the same time we go and get the paper.

Last Friday I headed out go get the paper. Nice sunny morning, about -15, very quite apart from the birds chirping. Just as I got to the mailbox, which is about 30 metres down the road, I nearly had a heart attack when one of the elk crashed through the bushes when it noticed me. One my heart had recovered I noticed that there were a couple of them just beside the neighbours tennis court. We all watched each other for a while before I went back and fetched Pia and my camera. Unfortunately just when we got there several cars passed by and the elk decided that it was time to leave and shot out of the bushes and onto the lake. That was when we realised there were three of them. I did try to get some photos and movie clip, but with them taking off so fast it looks more like some 60’s Bigfoot video. You wouldn’t think they could run so fast, but they cleared the other side of the lake within a minute or so and it is a few hundred metres across.

During the weekend we did a bit of walking around the section and noticed that the elk had left tracks in the empty property next door just the other side of the drainage ditch before cutting across our section by the road. Closest was about 10m from the house, about where Pia is standing in the picture. Probably just as well I didn’t go out a bit earlier then :-). And as we found out, elk have big feet!

Moose trails.   Big foot

Just to keep things interesting that isn’t the only wildlife around at the moment. Apart from the elk, birds, rabbits, rats, mice, voles and moles, Pia spotted our first weasel a week ago as well. Well, it could have been a snow weasel, or a stoat, but it seems to have made its home in the snow bank across the road. It was watching Pia when she went out for the paper in the morning and has been regularly clearing out the holes in the snow ever since.

Things are warming up a bit in the last couple of weeks now. The sun is noticably warmer, even if it has been down to -15 at night. Today was sunny and up to +1 this afternoon with the snow is melting on the roads and other sunlight places. We have been skiing on the lake for the last couple of weeks now that we both have a decent set of skiis. But with things warming up that probably won’t last too much longer. We had started cross-country skiing on a prepared track outside another nearby township, but that was a bit too advanced for us, especially the downhill sections were a bit of a killer. Not the best when we were more concerned about a bit of exercise than 30 seconds of shear terror. But a couple of weeks ago we were out walking and thought that it might be worth to check the lake across the road just in case someone had made a track there. Sure enough there was at least rough track. But as it turned out, part of it had been made with machine which was a nice improvment. We don’t know who is doing it, but they have repaired the track after each snowfall and at the moment the whole lake is circled with a machine made cross-country ski track.

So, during the last couple of weeks we have been around the lake 3 or 4 times. We haven’t timed it, but it takes something like 60 – 90 minutes to go right around. A couple of times after work and also during the weekends. Yesterday was probably the best so far, perfect blue skys, hardly any wind and just below 0. I can tell you, cross-country skiing doesn’t half work up a sweat!

Just starting   Over half way! Hopefully that doesn't sink in summer.   Nice sauna hut on the water.

Of course our lake is rather flat, but that does make the skiing a bit more consistant work. And the sights are rather interesting too – you get a view of people’s summer houses and sauna huts that you don’t during summer (unless you have a boat).

Big and white

But when you are out there it does seem rather large!