Winter Is Here, What About the Lake?

It has been cold. On the 14th, it was -15 as a low. Most people consider that cold. But what else is happening. Is the lake frozen enough for playing on? Is it questionable? Well maybe……

Well, some people have been on the lake but others are not happy with their experience. If you are skiing happily along on a layer of snow and it breaks and you are all of a sudden standing in a couple of inches of slush, it is not pleasant. You also wonder about how thick the ice is below that slush layer. Quick calculations go through your head and often there is the thought to get back to shore. And quickly!

Along the shore, the ice mountains left over from freezing are now not as sharp because snow has blown over them and make them rounded. But animal tracks traverse the “mountain passes” and are always interesting to see.tracks

But it is also interesting to see how the snow drifts and the drifts, here, are sort of mini drifts going between the “ice mountains”.  The shapes are wonderful.IMG_5610

With the half inch of fluffy snow, tracks show up very well. The tracks here are most likely coyote. The size of the paw is right and they are doing coyote things. Coyotes are active and are heard at night and we have seen them walking along our ski trails instead of breaking through the crust which would be hard on their paws/legs. Out on the lake, there is no crust so they can travel easily. Today, there were more tracks than seen in this picture which is over the “mountains” of covered rocks and in two places we saw them making their “sign” not realizing that it is not good to pee in the lake.

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The tracks are fun to look at and you always wonder what was being thought about as they go from place to place.

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And with the little bit of snow, you sometimes think of what was going on this past summer. The nest, now filled with snow, was the nest of a yellow warbler. Built over a number of days, the bird sitting on the eggs and then feeding the young birds. Sure is different now.

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The forecast is for cold with little snow in the next week. The cold may make the lake frozen enough to travel on safely but it still isn’t perfect. If you ever venture out on the lake in winter, be careful. Springs can make thin ice where you least expect it and there are places that are always problem areas called “leads”. These places freeze late and thaw early. Dig holes in the ice to see how thick it is often if in any doubt. A cold swim is not what you are looking for.