Winter in the Cariboo is no place for cats and dogs

BY STEVE BERGSMAN Modified: November 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012
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The only ones to brave the elements were Karen, the group leader; my wife and I; and another woman named Darlene, who hailed from Manitoba. Our first stop was the only hiatus, a beautifully serene scene of a horse behind a wooden fence with a red barn in the background. I took out my camera to take a picture, but nothing happened. Apparently at 20 below cameras don't work, either.

Karen, who leads the 90-minute fitness walks at the resort, was a determined pathfinder, and once she got us onto the groomed trails that thread throughout the mountains and valleys, she set the pace and we all had to keep up. The climbs were the most troublesome because the hard work, even in the frigid cold, caused us to sweat, which only made us colder. My wife decided against the highest hill, which was OK with me.

During our extended walk I encountered the same problems I have faced while skiing in severe cold. I was wearing a touk that when pulled up would cover the lower part of my face, but that would force my warm breath upward, which would then fog my glasses.

I needed to keep the touk below my mouth so that my exhales would be forward, but that would leave more of my face exposed. About an hour into the hike, when we are full in a groove and my body was working hard, no matter where I placed the touk, my sunglasses fogged badly. I knew when we were finally on the trail back to the resort because there ahead of us was the dead Cat, waiting for warmer weather.

The next day was the killer. When we awoke, the temperature had dipped to a record minus 41 degrees. We were scheduled for dog-sledding, but that didn't happen. The musher couldn't get his dogs to the property because his truck wouldn't start in the cold. First, no Cat; then, no dogs.

Undeterred, my wife and I waited until the thermometer rose to minus 20 degrees. Then we strapped on our snowshoes and went back out on the trail.

WHEN YOU GO

Although the drive from Vancouver to the Cariboo is picturesque, I don't recommend it in the winter. We flew USAir from Phoenix to Vancouver (www.usair.com) and then Central Mountain Air to Williams Lake (www.cmair.bc.ca).

We stayed at Hills Health Ranch, but don't let the words "health resort" deter you. This is a fun, congenial oasis: www.hillshealthranch.com.

For Information about the Cariboo Region, contact Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association at www.landwithoutlimits.com.

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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