Nice Out On the Lake

The winds that helped get rid of the ice died down and Easter Sunday was beautiful on the lake. Three Poplar Island people were out at their camp and eagles and loons were present. Looks like it WILL become Spring after all.IMG_2763

Yes, it was a beautiful day and a kayaker was out. Full sun, no leaves on the trees but very pleasant.

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A loon was organizing feathers after a dive for fish and, below, the pair seemed to be having a good time together back on their lake. This pair was around the Sister Islands but another pair was heard toward Warren Sands. There may be more….

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On shore in a few places, there are still large ice cubes that were pushed up before the melting began but there is no ice in any of the bays and all shores can have boats launch from them.

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And last is a picture of the eagle nest. One of the pair is on the branch to the right preening but, hiding behind the stick on the left part of the nest is the head of another eagle. Either sitting on eggs or keeping the kids warm. Hope that they are successful again this year. It was cold and windy for quite a few days when they were sitting in the nest. Glad I wasn’t out in the elements as they were.

1 Comment

  1. Jockey Cap

    Ice Runner:

    Saturday April 19th; there was open water along the shoreline’s periphery and the islands’ perimeters. Several large ice sheets remained on Wentworth. The one I was interested in was just off Allen “A” Beach extending almost to Sister Island. All it needed was the push of a strong west wind. Each melting mass was of irregular thicknesses with many weak spots and the fissures of which I was to take advantage.

    I have been coming to Lake Wentworth since the early 1950’s and had grown up an islander. My fondest memories are of those years; night crossings while falling asleep to the humming motor, my father carrying me inside to my warm sleeping bag or waiting out thunderstorms in my mother’s car at Mast Landing. For the young islander the prerequisite to boat use permission was navigational knowledge and skillful boatmanship. Once gained; forever utilized. I can, over the years, remember countless trips hauling lumber dropped off at Mast Landing to build various additions, docks and doghouses, towing refrigerators, bringing groceries in the pouring rain, struggling with 200 pound propane tanks and ferrying soaking wet company back to shore. Perhaps we then, as islanders, learned the lake better than most through the necessity of transportation. The isolation afforded by copious rocks with tricky channels and a life of outhouses, gas lights and propane refrigerators bred in us a certain mentality of ruggedness and spirit (At least that is how I remember it). Perhaps late night boat rides where the stars are at their most spectacular in that blackest of pitch are my fondest recollections and still thrilling. I find no greater pleasure than speeding around Stamp Act and the islands while admiring the constellations; the confidence in my navigational skills earned by years of experience.

    This past winter for the first time I spent the winter on the shore. Yet it was the islands that still were my focus and destinations. January 1st (the day I deemed travel safe using my ice chisel testing system) commenced my morning’s pilgrimages. So bundled and frosted whether by snowshoe, crampon or skate I would travel between Poplar and Sisters Island to Mink around Stamp Act finally returning to Holden Shore – 4.7 miles; in snowstorms, rain and sun. Perhaps 90 times I have done it, missing only a few days; the infatuation of a madman; or of one who still, even after all these years, cannot absorb enough of this place. The air, walks, views, memories and many ice fishing characters met helped clear my mind for the day’s endeavors. There was one imagined experience left and so finally came Saturday morning.

    The ice could have gone out any time last week I think. A light east wind was all that kept it. Saturday morning as the west wind started to build I, by kayak, broke my way into that ice sheet off Allen”A” and waited. It was my plan to float towards Warren Sands and “go out” with the ice. As the winds increased the ice mass began to move, not at a fast rate, perhaps only a mile or two an hour. I kept my paddles perpendicular to my kayak for balance; the ice sounded as an old wooden boat creaking and cracking; it and I as one. By the north end of Sister the ice started to break up as the waves which at first had buffeted the edges now began its undermining. A pair of loons floated alongside and a small flock of Canada Geese ice roosted off to my right. All together we moved; the loons fishing, the geese honking and me mesmerized. By the north point of Stamp Act the ice had broken into three of four foot sections. The geese flew west; the loons to better hunting waters as the ice scraped and ground along the shores of Bass and Stamp Act. Onward it drifted towards the Sandbar, Cate, Brummitt and Townsend Shore.

    This was far enough for me. I paddled through the now mostly ice cube sized pieces to the Sandbar and rested in its dead calm sanctuary. Not 100 feet away the creaking, breaking ice moved on along with assorted dock planks, mooring markers and one paddle. The sound was now more of the strong westerly winds and rushing waves. I felt exhilaration and awe; exhaustion too as perhaps I had gripped my paddles too tightly. What I had expected to be a force of immense power (which it was I guess) felt not at all dangerous or foreboding but rather perhaps as a tiny tectonic plate its movement imperceptible. It would have been foolish (perhaps more than I had already been) to push my luck any further and risk being “stacked up” against a beach or shoreline.

    My trip home was a much more difficult task, a paddle that normally was 30 minutes took over an hour in the rough weather; 25 MPH winds and 1 to 2 ft. waves. It was necessary, twice, to pull off to Stamp Act’s southern shoreline where I grabbed onto brush or rock allowing the passage of some peripheral ice flow. Struggling west I glanced east between Loon and Stamp Act, noticing the ice still off Triggs; it was in motion duplicating what I had just experienced.

    Finally and exhausted I made Holden Shore. I sat my Kayak for a few minutes catching my breath and gathering the strength to get out and walk inside to a warming fire. Had I been foolhardy? Perhaps, perhaps not – I’ll do it next year if I can; this time hopefully remembering my camera. I noted the time; it was 12:15 – ice out was officially declared three hours and fifteen minutes later.

    JO

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