Field of Science

Why I did not blog this weekend...

Happy New Year, everyone! (hey, it's still January...) While I did only get back a week ago, with plenty of urgent offline matters to attend to, I was totally going to dust off the blog this past weekend. But I didn't. As much as I enjoy protists and writing for you, I just had to take the liberty to sneak off from the internet and enjoy THIS:

That's right, I actually went outside and explored those pointy things outside my lab window up close and personal. (have I mentioned being able to see snow-capped mountains from the lab pretty much year-round, except for maybe late August-early September? ;p) Tried out backcountry skiing (telemark) for the first time, though that didn't work out too well due to a combination of an impressive sheet of ice, steepness, busy trail with ruts and holes everywhere and bindings that didn't want to fit the skis were mostly carried. Uphill and downhill. Ah well, will actually check snow conditions next time (some seasoned skiers also resorted to carrying them so we didn't feel so bad).

Went with a pretty large group (university-affiliated), the point was actually winter camping. In snow caves. Igloos too, but those are freaking impossible to build, it turns out. If Canadians really did all live in igloos, we'd all be structural engineering geniuses up here. My friend and I resorted to a simple cave to start with:

Yes, you really do wake up to that shade of blue. Does the ceiling look thin? There's a good half a metre of snow up there. Amazing how much light it lets in. It had pretty good insulating properties, kept things warm - at around 0˚C. The other option was -12-15˚C outside...oh yes it was freaking cold. Meanwhile, in the distance lay the city with it's non-freezing temperatures and sane people who got to sleep without worrying about hypothermia and frostbite. Without their hair freezing to snowy walls even!

Sure they had the warmth and luxurious comfort, but did they have this to surround them when they woke up?

Did they get harassed by these rather bold birds as they tried to eat breakfast? Seriously, that little grey bird (apparently a jay) would approach you to about 20cm away and not care. Even the ravens were a little more cautious...
And where there is ice, there are ice sculptures. Natural or man-made. (neither of them are mine)

One of the wonderful things about camping is that you get a rush of euphoria from the simplest things. Like hot tea. Or getting home with all your toes still intact. Somehow, those things become much harder to appreciate back in the city.

Apologies for total off-topic-ness and protist-less-ness (was going to sample but it was waaay too cold), but it's kinda fun to step back and look at a different scale from time to time, especially for a microscopist. And I'm ashamed for not having taken much advantage at all of living in such a beautiful place. Anyway, protist blogging shall return later, after I get back from ScienceOnline 2011, which should be after the 19th. Also, there may or may not be some exciting announcements to make. Watch this space...


  1. Wow. I didn't realize the mountains had that much snow on them right now o.O

  2. That was a treat thanks! Loved the shot from inside the ice cave. I love molecular stuff - but I love all of life too.:-)


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