The bummer summer. The summer that wasn’t. The wettest, coldest summer on record. Whatever you want to call it, this year was the year La Niña denied Smithers a proper summer.
When people first mentioned that it’s not usually like this here, I thought maybe they were just making excuses. How would I know? I moved here at the end of last September.
But then, a surefire sign that the lack of sun and heat really was out of the ordinary: people complaining about the weather. In Smithers. Unheard of. That’s something people do in southern Ontario, where I came from; people in Smithers don’t complain about the weather.
But here we are, back to school sales ending, and most of us seem to be sitting around wondering what happened to the summer that wasn’t.
So I decided to run through a list of all the things I’ve done over the past few months, to crunch the numbers and figure out whether I really and truly did miss out on summer.
First up is mountain biking. First class trails, and although they were muddy, they were a blast, and still are. Sure, I could have used a paddle the first time I pushed up the access road on the Bluff, but it’s mostly dried out now, and I’m finally pedalling almost all the way up – a sign that I have been getting out often enough on the bike.
Next, fishing (mostly unsuccessfully) and camping (successfully). I managed to camp a few weekends on the Kispiox, probably as often as I would have in Ontario – but without spending several hours in gridlock bumper to bumper traffic on a four lane highway in order to do so. If I’m recalling June correctly, I believe I might have even got a sunburn that first weekend.
How about music festivals? Well, not only did I attend two, but my wife and I played at both of them as well. Bonus points: no rain for almost the entire weekend at Kispiox, and playing the indoor stage during the rain at Midsummer.
Okay, so what about the garden then? Again, it’s our first summer here, so we have nothing to really measure against; but we’ve got more lettuce than we can eat, daikon radishes as long as my forearm, a freezer full of chard, raspberries and rhubarb, garlic shoots all over the place, shelling peas so tasty I’ve given up chips as snacks, and two trees totally loaded with apples. If this is a bad year for gardening, I don’t know what we’d do with all the produce from a good year.
Add to that three road trips to beautiful destinations, Prince Rupert, Stewart and Hyder, and Mount Robson. And it was sunny in Prince Rupert the whole time we were there.
Now that I’ve done the math, I realize that I’ve probably enjoyed more quality outdoor time this summer than the past two combined. Plus I saved a ton of money I’d normally be spending on sunscreen.
Bummer summer? Not even close.