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Worth the wait

Apr 29, 2014 12:45 pm | Sam Macdonald

The unthinkable truly happened today, I was able to walk to work in a windbreaker, only wearing a t-shirt under it. Itís been a long time coming, but itís finally starting to feel like spring.

Unlike the wet, mushy chaos of wind, rain, and fog that characterizes the transition from winter to spring in the Maritimes, Iíve found the changes in Alberta to be much more incremental. And certainly, the season changes a whole lot more slowly in April and May than it does in late October, here.

Yes, the service roads are mucky and gross. It may have been so foggy this morning that I couldnít see either of the phone towers in their entirety for the first few hours of the day. Itís hardly warm, but itís a good start.

I arrived in St. Paul around the beginning of March last year and had just gotten a taste of the tail end of winterís brutality out here. Having endured days where the temperature dropped down into the ballpark of -40, days like this feel tropical.

I donít think Iíll ever get used to the extreme cold snaps these parts see, on-again-off-again, from December to March. But dealing with it makes the slow changes we see starting in April that much more welcome. When the barometer finally starts to climb 20s, itís almost exciting.

I anticipate the dry heat and fleeting rain that comes with the summer. Winters here might be atrocious but the summer more than makes up for it.

Something Iím excited to see gone as quickly as it came is the snow. As nice as it was to see for the first few weeks after its first appearance in October, the snow wore out its welcome pretty quickly.

I learned the fun way that this is no place to be gallivanting around for the duration of the winter with a set of all-season tires. In fact, whoever decided to call them ďall seasonsĒ must have had a sick sense of humour, or lived somewhere with boring weather.

I donít know how many times this past few months Iíve found myself spinning my ill-equipped tires trying to get traction at stop signs and intersections, or sliding past where I intended to stop in a flash of existential terror. Yes, that was a lousy idea, and yes, Iíll be forking out a little cash next October so I wonít be so ill equipped for the hazards and occasional biting anguish of winter driving.

On a more optimistic note, one thing I anticipate this coming season is the camping. After one excursion to Stoney Lake, I realized at the end of last summer how much of it Iíd missed out on.

Doing my homework over the winter and reading up on every park from here to north of Lac La Biche, I feel that this summer will be well worth the wait.

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