Passing the puck around on a frozen lake feels like the epitome of Canadiana.

I’m lucky to have a pond behind my house that freezes nearly every winter. Folks in the neighbourhood bring nets out each year and leave them on the ice for people to shoot at. I’m always among them, practicing my slap shot and chasing the puck into the snow when I miss the net.

This year, pond hockey levelled up. Larger lakes around the Okanagan Valley froze thanks to some unusually cold temperatures. Wood Lake, a large water surface down the hill from me, also froze to a beautiful black ice a foot thick.

I wasn’t going to let the enhanced experience slide by, so me and a buddy hit the ice to pass the puck around. His stick broke about 20 minutes into our skate, so we set up a couple goal posts and we switched off using a shovel as a goalie stick.

The evening wind picked up and blew fingers of dusty snow across the surface. But we played until it was so dark the black pucks were invisible. When we were done, we sat in the snow and unlaced our skates as we drank hot chocolate.

It was an experience people all over the Okanagan took advantage of, creating some pretty unique memories.

halcyon
Rocky shore of Arrow Lake in Halcyon Hot Springs in B.C.’s West Kootenays. (David Wylie)

Things are more likely to happen if you write them down. Here’s an ongoing list of what I plan to accomplish (or get through luck) in 2017…

  1. Sleep under the stars on the West Coast trail
  2. Ski a black diamond run
  3. Get first aid certification
  4. Win $1,000+ jackpot on a lottery ticket
  5. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe
  6. Read at least 12 books – one a month
  7. Record a song
  8. Make a habit of eating local meat, local produce
  9. Get a product manufactured
  10. Snap a once in a lifetime photo
  11. Publish a story
  12. Ditch the belly
  13. Experience hot yoga & a gravity float

*will be updated as items are ticked/new ones are added

A heron near my house has become a bit of a local celebrity.

The bird has become accustomed to being ogled. He perches on the wooden bridge crossing a little pond in Lake Country and lets people get close enough to take pictures.

I stumbled upon him and followed him around for a little while to see how close he’d let me get.

I love Vancouver, but not enough to live there.

It’s a wonderful place to visit and explore on the odd weekend. But when you’re stuck in traffic for 45 minutes because the city decided to pave a lane on Georgia Street, it’s a nice reminder that small town traffic is less rage inducing.

I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend. He was managing editor of the Penticton Herald, when I was managing editor of the Vernon Daily Courier. We used to swap editorials on days when we were too busy or too uninspired to write our own.

We’ve both since left journalism. He’s a lawyer and I’m in public relations.

He sold the trip to me as a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas adventure. The truth was much tamer: stops at Ikea and The Running Room.

We spent most of Saturday night at Steamhouse Brew Pub and got drunk off beer flights while we traded stories (and tweeted at a reporter we knew about why tequila was not a good option).

It was a great weekend.