As I look out of our cottage windows today, I see big snowflakes tumbling down, coating east Tennessee with a white blanket. Since I don’t have to venture out and the heat is comfortably working, I can admire the decorated landscape and marvel at its beauty.
It’s been a cold season here in east Tennessee, but I can’t even begin to imagine how tough it is right now in northern locations such as Churchill, located in the Manitoba Province of Canada. Staked out in a vast wilderness and next to the famed Hudson Bay, the 800+ residents here truly endure winter hardships.
polar rovers vehicles in the distance, storm clouds overhead
The landscape is flat and mostly barren. The arctic winds are wickedly strong. To add to the harsh environment, the ground consists of rock formations, shallow soils, and subsurface permafrost. It is not a surprise that the flora around Churchill is sparse and stunted.
ice forming along Hudson Bay shoreline, storm clouds in the distance
Black spruce trees are dominant, and there is also some white spruce to keep them company. (HERE is a terrific guide on how to tell the difference between the various types of spruce.) Don’t let their small size fool you. These specimens have been around a long time. Trees have been found as old as 400 years in the Churchill area!
small forest in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area
An ice/snow pruning effect is quite noticeable on the trees, with less branches remaining on the windward side.
After looking at these photos from our November 2012 journey, I’m ready to fix myself another mug of hot tea!