The Lake is frozen and it froze with no wind. It is smooth enough for ice skating and ice boating and just walking around (if you have metal points on your feet). The ice is more than 4 inches as of 12/12 everywhere except where it isn’t. You still need to pay attention and not do stupid things if you are out there. Basically, look where you are walking. It is black ice so you can see down to the bottom where it is shallow and it is sort of eerie to be “walking on water”. Many people, perhaps the smart ones, take self rescue devices such as metal spikes or screwdrivers tied to rope around their necks…… Oh and on Dec. 13, there was a pressure crack between Mink Island and the NE point of Stamp Act. It was wide enough and not completely frozen so you could fall in. Be careful and be smart!
Open water exists in many of the “usual” places. These are generally (but not always) found at points of land and around rocks. Because the ice has been expanding and contracting (as solids do with changes in temperature), cracks exist. Most of these are completely normal and can be used to see how thick the ice is. However, it is this expanding and contracting that produces the open water. Another issue associated with the ice is that the water is being lowered to get it to the Winter Level. A period of rain before Thanksgiving brought the lake up above that level so now it is being brought down. This means that the Smith River and most of Crescent Lake have thin or no ice on them. BE CAREFUL.
Above is the smooth ice looking north with Poplar Island on the left and Loon on the right. The diagonal line near the bottom is an old crack, the rest is shiny, smooth ice.
As the water level is going down, the ice “falls” over rocks and created interesting patterns. These areas should be approached with caution although the water isn’t very deep in these areas so you probably will just get wet and cold if you break through.
Near the end of an island is where there are some nice ice patterns but there is also an area of open water. It is easy to avoid but to stay warm and dry, you must avoid it.
One of the pressure cracks near the NE end of Stamp Act was being used by a muskrat who was diving down to get mussels and bringing them back to the surface to eat them. This crack was about 6 inches wide and easy for the muskrat to get in and out.
Iceboats are cruising around the lake and with a good wind are going much faster than the fastest motor boats on the lake.
One guy was out on the poor man’s ice boat and was using a hand held sail and skis. He was zipping along, too. Ice skaters have been out and the lake is very inviting. Just be careful.
Is the ice safe for skating after all the rain last week? Merry Christmas!
Yes, the ice is safe. There are issues. Around points of land and rocks, there is open water. There are also some places where the water on the ice drained through cracks. However, if you are looking at what is in front of you, you should be safe. Most of the lake has 8 plus inches of ice.