The Cabin – February 2021

Length of stay2 days
February 2021

Ontario has been under a strict lockdown with a stay-at-home order in effect since December 26, 2020. While some restrictions have begun to ease across different regions of the province, the stay-at-home order was extended in Toronto until March 8, 2021. While the rules around the stay-at-home order are a bit confusing and unclear, the goal is to encourage people to remain at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out. The pandemic fatigue has really caught up with us over the past couple of months. With the Family Day long weekend coming up, we decided to break the rules and spend some quality time up at the cabin for a change of scenery.

The game plan was to drive up Saturday morning. Except there was an extreme cold warning in effect up at the cabin with wind chill values near -35°C. The temperature was supposed to warm up later in the morning, but overnight it was forecasted to plummet to -22C°C. That’s a bit too cold and would require us (usually me) to get up regularly during the night to feed the fire. Instead we drove up Sunday morning as the temperature was more mild (-15°C feels like -20°C). Along the way we stopped at Emily Provincial Park and Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park to go for a hike and make some progress on our Ontario Parks Challenge.

Despite the cold, the sun was shining and there was next to no wind. It was the perfect day to go for a hike and spend time outdoors. By the time we arrived at the cabin, or rather the road leading into the cabin, it was just after 2:30p.m. There was well over a foot of snow, so we strapped on our snowshoes and forged a path into the cabin. We could tell more people have been visiting their cottages this winter as there were quite a few snowmobile tracks through the area, including on our property.

It felt like -10°C inside the cabin by the time we arrived. While K got a fire going, I made a few more trips back and forth to the car to bring in the rest of our supplies. After returning from my second trip, K joined me outside for a break. Here we are, standing outside the front of the cabin when a snowmobiler comes up from across the lake and just drives in front of us and along the path we just snowshoed along. Thanks. While the snowmobile helps to pack down the snow, it can make it challenging to snowshoe on as the path is now uneven.

I made one more trip back to the car, all the while grumbling about how our snowshoe path was ruined. On the way back, there were even more tracks from the snowmobiler. A bit bold considering this is private property and we’re clearly using our cabin.

We settled in, made a late lunch, and spent the remainder of the day reading by the wood stove and playing some board games. K made an attempt to chop some firewood. Except it doesn’t work so well when the wood is frozen. We’ll have to save this for another time in the summer.

After eating a late breakfast the next day, we cleaned up around the cabin and decided to head out a bit early. The weather forecast issued a special weather statement and we were supposed to get 15 to 25cm of snow this evening. So naturally we wanted to get back to Toronto well before the snow started. We initially planned to go for a hike on the drive back, but it looked miserable outside. It had started to snow and it was windy. We’ll have to save it for another day.

Even though our stay up at the cabin was shorter than expected, it was still nice to get away.


70 thoughts on “The Cabin – February 2021

  1. carol hopkins says:

    I am so happy for you to have a place to escape the city and the rigors of the pandemic. Here in AB restrictions are slowly being removed. The people in larger cities have to wait a bit longer, but it is confusing and often rules and regulations are unclear. That’s true everywhere, it seems.

    I love your photos, it looks so pristine there. Stay healthy and safe and keep visiting the cabin – I don’t think that’s breaking any rules since you are still technically at home. It’s just your second home, so to speak. 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. We feel so fortunate that we’re able to escape from the city every so often and just spend time up at the cabin surrounded by nature. When you put it that way, it has become our second home during the pandemic, so we are still spending time at home. Either way, it’s not as if we’re interacting with others. Restrictions have been easing in certain regions in Ontario, however the downside to living in Toronto is that we’re always the last region to re-open. We’ve been under lockdown for what feels like forever.

      • carol hopkins says:

        Yes, Toronto will be the last to be able to re-open and it’s got to be so hard. I really feel for you. I also have a brother in Toronto and a sister in Brampton. As well as their children and grandchildren. I worry about them through this pandemic. I am glad that the vaccine is here but it will take time before the entire population (well almost entire) is vaccinated. Hang in there, freedom is coming. Until then continue to enjoy your cabin and the beautiful nature it is surrounded by. Stay safe!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. We actually just bought a house outside of Toronto. I always assumed I’d live in the city while I’m working, but the pandemic has really changed my thinking about a lot of things, including where I want to live. I imagine we’ll have to return to work at some point, but who knows when that will be. Working from home will be here to stay in some shape or form. It’ll be nice to have more space and an actual backyard to grow a garden.

      • carol hopkins says:

        We lived in Orangeville for a couple of years. You might like it there. It has all the amenities and is close enough to the city if you need or want to go there for anything. I loved Orangeville. Just a thought. I hope you find the perfect place to suit all your wants and needs. 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Orangeville is very nice. It’s surrounded by a lot of green space and close to lots of great hiking trails. We’ve been looking in Georgetown, which is also small, but the GO train runs through there. We figured we’ll have to return to the workplace eventually so it would be nice to commute to Toronto via train rather than driving in.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        No kidding!! I imagine once people have to start returning to the workplace the drive to and from Toronto is going to be even worse. So many people like us have been moving out of the city.

      • carol hopkins says:

        I remember a time in Ontario when there was rent control. I think it’s time it was brought back. I honestly do not know how people who work in low paying jobs manage.

  2. Little Miss Traveller says:

    I’m sure you made the right decision to spend some time in your cabin and felt better for getting away for a short while. The photos look splendid with the sun and the snow. Hope your weekend is going well.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I like to think so too. It’s been a bit challenging to live and work in the same space for over a year now. So it’s good to get a change of scenery and go somewhere different. We’ve had fabulous weather the past few weeks and signs of Spring are in the air. All our snow is now long gone. Hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Take care.

  3. travelling_han says:

    I think it’s lovely you have this escape, it’s so important to prioritise your wellbeing and get out and about safely. The snow with the sun low above it is absolutely beautiful 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Mental health has been a big concern during the pandemic. The lines between work-life balance have blurred since we’ve been working from home. So it was good to get a change of scenery. The cabin is one of my favourite places to go to just rest and relax and spend time in nature.

  4. Planet Paul says:

    Nice. At the risk of being cheeky, I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of what the cabin looks like.

    Planning some hikes here in the UK for when we’re allowed (Soon). Can’t wait!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We plan on going back to the cabin for Easter, so I’ll be sure to take more pictures of what the inside looks like. I imagine it’s starting to feel like Spring over in the UK. Hopefully you can get out for a hike soon and enjoy the warmer weather.

  5. kagould17 says:

    A change of scenery is always good, especially when you live in a big city. With variant cases now increasing, I expect more restrictions are coming. As to the interloper on the snowmobile, I find that many people have no respect for private property, walking tracks, snowshoeing tracks or cross country ski tracks. They just drive or tromp wherever. This used to drive us crazy when the City spent time and money setting cross country tracks, but hikers, dogs, etc. just tromped right over them. People!!! Stay well. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Medical experts in Ontario indicated last week that we’re in the third wave of COVID-19, largely because of the rise in variant cases. No additional public health measures have been announced, instead restrictions in some regions have eased. Agreed, it doesn’t seem like many people have respect for shared spaces or even private property. We’ve had issues at the cabin with ATVers in the past where they would come through and try to create their own path through our property. We tried to put a stop to that by piling a bunch of dead trees and branches to block them from one of the access points that they created. So now they at least use the unmaintained road instead of their own path. Ugh, people!!

  6. Ab says:

    Your cabin always looks like such a wonderful treat and time away!

    It’s weird to think this was just a month ago, what a difference it makes in terms of the amount of snow and the temperature.

    I can imagine it’ll be even busier in cabin/cottage country with the Easter long weekend coming up in a few weeks!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It really is. It’s nice how it’s secluded in the wilderness and just gives us time to reconnect with nature. And yes, hard to believe that this was just over a month ago. The area around the cabin tends to get substantially more snow than Toronto and I imagine there is still some snow there. We went hiking in Boyne Valley PP, which is near Shelburne, on Sunday and we were surprised to see so much snow and ice on the trails. We’ll be adding to the traffic over Easter as we plan on returning to the cabin. I guess Easter marks the start of the cottage season and many people will be heading up to get their cottages ready for the season. Hopefully we’ll continue to have nice weather.

  7. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Snowmobilers (and others) can be incredibly inconsiderate. As Allan says, the cross-country tracks can be ruined too. Very annoying.
    It’s great that you can get away like that, especially now when the patience is at a low ebb. We are very near the magical 75% and still no word on when we will be able to cross the boundary (here you have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days when you come back after leaving NWT, whether you have been vaccinated or not). People here are starting to get restless and irritated.

    Beautiful photo of the sun on the frozen lake.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, there was zero consideration for our snowshoe trail or even that it was private property. A few years ago we had a bunch of ATVers who tried to create their own path through our property so we ended up piling a bunch of dead trees at one of their access points. Instead they started to use the unmaintained road, which still isn’t great, but better than before. I had no idea that the rules were that strict in NWT. But makes you wonder what would have happened if all of Canada had stricter rules near the start and whether we’d still be in this position today. A lot of people are getting restless and aren’t willing to give up another year of their lives staying put and at home. Myself included, which is why we continue to visit our cabin.

      • Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

        It seems that the rules could have been much, much tighter. The border was supposedly closed, but guarded by a gauze drape. It seems that there was a lot more travel than there should have been. The Christmas shopping that kept happening while the case rates were soaring is the one that gets me.

        How rude that people would do that! Exactly – zero consideration.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Agreed. More could have been done early on to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even now, a year later, we’re still not doing enough. Variant cases have been rising. Medical experts in Ontario announced last week that we’re in the third wave. You’d think the government would try to be a bit more proactive this time instead of just reacting to the situation after things get bad.

  8. leightontravels says:

    Nice short getaway for you guys, which is sometimes all one needs to feel refreshed. You have built quite a collection of beautiful wintry photos. Love especially the first one with the sun coming through the trees and snow.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. It’s always nice to get a change of scenery, especially since we’ve been living and working in the same space for just over a year now. It was great to get away for the weekend and not be on our phones or laptops. We’re hoping to return over the Easter long weekend for more rest and relaxation.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Why thank you. And thanks for the tip about chopping frozen wood. We’ll have to give that whirl next time. Either that or just chop all the wood during the summer so we won’t run into this issue again during the winter! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  9. Christie says:

    It looks like you have a nice piece of property out there. I hope the cabin is not too far from where you can park the car during the winter! I bet it is a heaven during the summer months🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The property has been in the family since 1903. The cabin is quite rustic, but it’s nestled in nearly 50 acres of forest, so it’s quite secluded. The other side of the lake has become more developed in recent years, but it’s nice to have this little stretch along the shoreline that’s completely free of other cottages and cabins. The walk in during the winter isn’t too bad, it’s just under a kilometre. And we could use the exercise these days!

      • Christie says:

        How neat is that, so glad for you. I noticed you go quite often, and no wonder, I only imagine how beautiful it is. And now as spring is approaching, and the forest is coming back to life, it is just a little heaven🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Prior to the pandemic we used to visit the cabin a few times a year. Now that travel options are limited and Toronto has been in lockdown for what feels like forever, we’ve been visiting the cabin about once a month. We’re hoping to return over Easter. Come May the mosquitoes will be out in full force and we typically stay away until mid summer. We plan on doing a major clean up and cleaning at the cabin at some point this year, which should be fun.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The cabin always looks so magical in the winter when the forest is covered in snow. It’s usually a lot more work to get there as we have to walk in with all our supplies, but it’s totally worth it. It’s always nice being able to escape from the city and spend time in nature.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You bet. A few years ago we replaced the wood stove with this one that is more energy efficient and has a clear front so we can actually see the fire. It’s made such a huge difference in terms of adding some extra light and who doesn’t enjoy watching the fire?

  10. winteroseca says:

    I’m so happy for you that you were able to get away. This easing then tightening restrictions is really grating now! Looks beautiful there even though it’s obviously cold!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know. The rules and restrictions seem to change every week and differ depending on which region you are in. And now there’s talk that Ontario has entered a third wave of COVID-19 due to an increase in variant cases. It’s good to take advantage of the nice weather and freedom while we can as who knows whether there will be additional restrictions in the coming weeks.

      • winteroseca says:

        I have heard a lot about Ontario. It sounds like it really super sucks over there! Sounds about as bad as the US sometimes. Hope you can definitely get out as much as possible and stay safe and healthy. Btw, I forgot to tell you I changed my blog site from UCan2 to thirdculturekidcan

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Yah, our government really dropped the ball during the second wave (and now possibly the third wave). Unlike other jurisdictions, instead of having a curfew, we had a stay-at-home order which no one really understood. You could only leave your house for essential reasons, but yet some non-essential businesses stayed open. I just hope they don’t shut down our parks, otherwise I’ll be spending most of my summer at the cabin! I noticed that you changed your blog site and was wondering why. Lots of changes in your life over the past few months. 🙂

      • winteroseca says:

        Yeah, I have friends in Ottawa who have told me all about what’s going on there. My government is trying to look good by saying, “At least we aren’t Ontario!” UGH!! I actually learned early on to go with common sense in the pandemic because governments will either make bad decisions or completely screw up! Plus, my Dad is a scientist so we have some basic understanding of how viruses work. Yeah, I felt it was time to change my site. Own my TCKness!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Oh gosh, I love how Ontario has become the “what not to do” of the provinces during COVID-19. What a hot mess. We’ve been logging 2,000+ new cases a day now and yet the government continues to ease restrictions. So much of this could have easily been avoided if they responded earlier on. Good for you for changing things up with your site, it’s always good to embrace who you are!!

      • winteroseca says:

        It sounds so much like many states in the US. Of course, at a time like this, you make honest mistakes and there is downright carelessness. It’s important to distinguish the two. And thanks! I feel I can really embrace being a TCK here!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s awesome. When I first started this blog it was largely to record our travels and force myself to go through and organize my pictures. Over time I’ve come to really appreciate the community here through WordPress. It’s been great being able to connect with others and get inspired.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve been living with COVID-19 for over a year now. Being in lockdown and not seeing family or friends has been hard on many of us. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have the cabin to escape to every once in a while. It’s nice to just get away from everything and spend time in nature.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s incredible. Ontario clearly hasn’t done a good enough job of keeping COVID-19 in check. The rules and restrictions seem to keep changing and are often introduced when things get bad. Ontario is now in the third wave because of a rise in variant cases and yet no additional public health measures have been announced. It’s frustrating how we’ve lived with this for over a year and seem to be getting worse at handling the situation. No wonder the Atlantic provinces have formed a bubble to keep the rest of us out!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. While it’s a lot more work to visit the cabin in the winter, the area looks beautiful covered in snow. We’ve had mild weather over the past few weeks and all our snow has melted. Signs of Spring are in the air here too. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I like to think so too. I don’t think it’s good for anyone’s health to remain indoors for an extended period of time. We usually bring our groceries with us and the only stops we make along the way are to visit a provincial park to go for a hike. It’s hard to keep track of all the rules and restrictions, but we try our best to social distance.

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