The winter escape

Image Via: Belize Tourism Board

Just so there is no misunderstanding, I love winter. Thanks to our magnificent cold season, we Canadians get to experience the outdoors in ways that are near impossible for much of the world to even comprehend: tracking game through fresh snow, casting for steelhead in a near-frozen river and, of course, catching fish through the ice.

Yet thanks to the marvel of modern travel, there’s another side to winter for many Canadians—the week-long getaway to the sunny South. Leaving your house wearing a parka and heavy boots, you drive through the snow, trudge across a slushy airport parking lot and, like magic, a few hours later you’re buttering your face with sunscreen and exposing your pasty legs as the locals avert their eyes in horror.

It’s pretty decadent, really. That’s why true outdoorsfolk would never spend thousands of dollars to travel across the continent in search of sun, sand and blender drinks. Because we love winter, we couldn’t possibly give up a weekend on the ice or snowy fields for something as trivial as lounging on a towel by the turquoise sea. But when those waters hold exotic fish of mythic power and beauty, it’s a different story.

Pursuing a lifelong dream of catching a marlin or a bonefish or a peacock bass or a tarpon—now that is a worthy reason to board a plane in the dead, er, heart of winter and head south. And if all this happens to take place in a tropical paradise where the boats return to shore at 3 p.m., and good manners dictate you make an appearance at the beachside cabana to sip a frosty beverage and wiggle your toes in the snow-white sand, so be it. It’s wintertime in Canada, and you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner

Outdoor Canada associate editor and fly-fishing columnist Scott Gardner is happiest when he's on the water fishing (especially from his kayak) or just surrounded by trees, preferably out of cell phone range. Since joining Outdoor Canada in 2010, Scott has won nine National Communication Awards from the Outdoor Writers of Canada for his adventure travel and fly fishing articles, and been nominated for five National Magazine Awards.