Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Embracing the Swan Song

Dispatch and Photos by Ryan Edwardson 

Truth be told, and I know many others feel the same way, winter is not my favourite season. It’s a guttural instinct.
Yet if anything, winter gives me more than enough justification—the ability for self-beneficial rationalization is a lovely thing—to head towards warmth when the chill sets in.
Mekong Delta tributaries, Nicaraguan volcanoes, Amazonian jungles, Indonesian rainforests... sweltering temperatures at the other end of the mercury thermometer are my wintertime allures, my version of the snowbird exodus. I’d rather bake amongst the red brick temples of Bagan than feel February slush seep through the stitching of my boots. 
Yet now, with the harshest February on record (or so I’ve read) having passed and casual rainfall eroding the remnants of snow in Toronto, I find myself on a plane headed northward.The cargo-hold carries our cross-country skis and snowshoes, a cold weather tent and a downy sleeping bag. I am, in essence—and oh so ironically!—chasing winter.
Doing so may not be instinctive, but it does make a lot of sense.
What better time to engage in wintertime than on its margins? The shoulder of the season means a greater availability of prime campsites, fresh trails of untrampled snow, and crackling trees uninterrupted by voices from afar.
Winter at its most serene. We are well-served in remembering that the flip side to springtime’s joyous arrival is wintertime’s swan song. Add to that the reasonable daytime temperatures and the longer hours of sunlight for photography, and one could not ask for better timing. The skis and snowshoes thus share a bag with a camera tripod.
My trepidation is replaced by anticipation of the creative photographic possibilities. Now it is about light and shadow and whatever the last gust of winter bestows as we make our way towards the Sleeping Giant.

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