Sorry for the probably overused title, but it’s true. Kelowna is a glorious summer playland of sun and heat and the spring and fall are also very excellent with their colors and easy temperatures. Living here for the past 6 years has exposed me to four distinct seasons. In Vancouver, I’d grown used to four weeks of sun, then a mix of rain and cloud for the rest of the year.
This summer has been truly excellent. My bike and I have logged many kilometres exploring together. My wife and I spent a lot of time at the pool right in front of our yard. Oh yeah, and I got married.
But winter looms. The leaves outside my office window are fading from green to yellow, soon to show only bare branches as the temperature drops. After an entire 3 months of bare feet in deck shoes and shorts, I’m wearing socks and pants. Socks AND pants! Luckily I do love me some fun socks.
Winter is cold and dry here, dipping for days at a time to below 15 degrees C. Gravel and salt cover the bike lanes. The lush trees and greenery is reduced to sticks and branches. My lips stay dry and cracked for months. So many layers of clothing! It’s dark when I get to the office and dark when I leave for home again at the end of the day. Playing in snow is fun but walking down a sidewalk on my lunchtime hunt for food is always a treacherous game of “don’t fall and break your ankle”.
Our visits to Vancouver become more frequent after October, and what was once a scenic, chat and podcast filled pleasure of a 5 hour drive becomes a white-knuckled, sometimes terrifying chore. The mountain passes we drive through become dotted with cold, dead carcasses of abandoned cars on the side of the road, and sometimes in the ditch. Giant trucks with their blinding headlights careen by at 120KM/hr over highway that always looks too slippery to be driving over at any speed faster than 80.
Don’t get me wrong – I like what comes as the new year approaches. Lots of reasons to visit with friends and family, in costumes, to eat, and just to be together. The only problem I have with winter sometimes is its affect on my mood. Stress from work gets to me easier when the days turn darker and colder and the long nights feel even longer. I get noticeably more irritable and sometimes withdraw socially.
Last season was actually one of the better winters I’d had here – because of the wedding I’d shelled out too much money for a personal trainer to make sure I went to the gym and exercised for an entire hour. I really don’t like gyms. I felt good most of the time and the hard work paid of in time for the wedding. This winter though, I won’t have that expense thankfully, but I will have to find something that I can buy into a few times a week to keep myself active. I’ve fallen hard for cycling again so when the snow comes an option will be to set my bike up in our tv room with a wheel trainer – essentially turning it into a stationery bike.
There are two great cross country ski clubs within 30 minutes of here, and they always make for an awesome escape from the clouds in the city. You get high enough to see down from above the clouds which makes for spectacular views and blue skies when you are on the trails.
There is also a spin studio around the corner from my office so maybe I’ll try that too.
We usually spend a few days near Powell River before the new year starts to recharge and soak up the chilly humid Pacific Northwest air. This year we’ll be headed for Mexico for a change to swim with turtles and drink tequila.
I guess don’t seem to dread the upcoming winter slog as much as I thought I would.