5 Ways to Find Your Hygge in Rainy Powell River
The Danish are experts in coziness. So claims the fast-trending concept of hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah.”
You may have seen one of the nine books on hygge published for Christmas 2016.
The coziness associated with hygge conjures up wintertime in the north, which means snow. Colourful Scandinavian sweaters and yellow fires against a backdrop of ice, sparking under clear skies.
However, the white stuff is hard to come by in Powell River. Here, rain – mist, fog, sprinkles, torrential, and general head-to-toe cold & wetness – seeps into every corner of the holiday experience. A Martha Stewart-inspired forest hike with friends means sopping ferns and splooshes of water dropping from cedar boughs. Soggy drips mark the dash from the car to the shops. And sitting at home in front of a roaring fire, a gaze out the window reveals – not “the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,” – but dark grey light looming over grey-blue ocean.
None of this is bad. It’s just not Danish.
Which raises the question: what does hygge look like in Powell River? Can the same level of friendly coziness be achieved in rain as in snow?
1. Hot tubs
Fight the cold wet with warm wet. That chill that famously creeps in to West Coaster’s bones in October and doesn’t really leave til April? There’s just one cure.
Sitting in hot water – preferably with friends, preferably with goodies and a book, and ideally naked. Get three of four (hot tub, friends, book) at the Recreation Complex – where the region’s best conversations take place. Rent one through Powell River’s own Guy Pouliot (see Facebook). Or invest in your own chill-fighter for that fourth, added dimension. Plus delicious snacks.
Extreme heat followed by a communal roll in the snow is so very Scandinavian. Here, complementing the sauna experience – sweltering, steam, darkness, wood, and sometimes nakedness – is the ocean or the pool, rather than snow. Is it as satisfying? Probably not, but also probably not as painful. For a hygge sauna experience, hit the Magical Dome in Lund, the Recreation Complex’s sauna, build one on your property, or rent one.
After a bath, stand in front of a popping, glowing fire to warm and dry out your body – then roll into soft flannel sheets. Use your fireplace, pellet stove or woodstove to re-warm your shoes, socks and towels. Gather friends and family to roast smokies and marshmallows. Set a kettle on the woodstove for some locally-made, wild-harvested tisane. Gather around the hearth – at home.
It’s what Powell River artist Brad Collins captured in his painting on this month’s cover. Two mugs and a fire. Yes, please.
4. Find your hut
Hygge it up at one of the now-14 huts on the Sunshine Coast Trail – for free!
Which one offers the most potential for coziness? Tin Hat is fully-winterized, and has a pellet stove and killer views. Plus, often, real snow. Both Troubridge and Walt Hill are also fully winterized. Fairview Bay faces the ocean and is accessible by both trail and boat. All of these huts sleep 10 people – an ideal number for conviviality and coziness. Bring the finest spread of goodies your holiday budget and backpack can afford.
5. Celebrate with lights
Half of Powell River is not religious, according to Statistics Canada. Don’t let that keep you from celebrating Christmas, or “the holidays.”
Northern cultures near-universally hold a mid-winter festival marking light in the darkness. And gorgeous lights surround us at this time of year.
Drape ropes of colourful lights on your home and inside it; put up a tree and cover it with lights; make a St. Lucia crown and walk outside with candles on your head; wear a brooch that twinkles with mini batteries. Grab hot cocoas and go for a nighttime drive with your favourite folk to see Christmas lights cheering neighbourhoods, and park by the ocean to see the lights in Van Anda, Blubber Bay, Comox and Campbell River sparkling across the water at us.
Because while snow is pretty, nothing multiplies and bends and amplifies the warm, hygge glow of Christmas lights like the rain does.