The snow that was on the lake was melted by an inch of rain and some warm days. Unfortunately, only around 5% of the lake is good for skating, there wasn’t enough rain to smooth out the lake. However, you can still enjoy walking around the lake if you have spikes on your feet. Someone was out there hitting golf balls, too.
Before the rain, the lake looked as, perhaps, it should in January. People were snowmobiling on the lake as well as doing some of those “new” sports such like kite boarding on skates. With the exception of a few places, the entire lake was frozen enough for travel by foot. The few exceptions are between Cate and Stamp Act as well as off to the west end of Stamp Act. You also have to be aware of bubblers that keep the ice free around docks. Most people who use them put up the required warning signs, as required by law, but some have failed to post- be careful when you venture out on the lake.
After the rain but before it froze. Snow was still present.
The next morning, things were pretty well frozen although there are mounds of good ice that make it unpleasant skating as well as places where the snow didn’t quite melt. This causes skates to stop quickly and can lead to an abrupt fall. enough so you skates stop quickly. There are some small areas that are great skating but they are few and far between.
Below is a picture of the east side of Cate Island and you can see smooth ice mixed with snowy ice.
The sand bar on Stamp Act Island shows quite a bit of sand at the winter water level.
Below is the typical “pressure ridge” that forms between Cate and Stamp Act, generally over where the sand bar is. As the ice warms and cools, it pushes upward (or downward) but the ice is not firm. Be careful in these places.
The eagles are still here. They start nest building around this time of year but don’t lay eggs for another month or so. Fingers crossed that they will nest again, it is so great to see the chicks, fledge and learn to fly in the summer. The nest tree that was used last year (and most like predated by a racoon) has a metal band around it now to prevent racoons from climbing. The eagles may or may not nest in that tree this coming season.
Finally, the Stamp Act Open was held on Jan. 31st. The timing of the golf tournament varies depending on ice conditions and wind. The ideal conditions for this event is an icy surface (which we now have) and no wind. Wind can really throw a wrinkle in game play, it can lengthen the a player’s drive if it is behind you, but side wind makes it difficult to find your ball. This player has learned that it might end up behind you.
The historic starting point for the Stamp Act Open is on Point of Pines with the course going around Stamp Act and back to Point of Pines. The rules are that each shot is teed up (on a piece of foam) so each shot is a drive. Metal spikes are, of course, allowed/ encouraged. The winner of this year’s event took 17 shots to get around the course averaging about 330 yards per shot. Five shots to Little Bass Island, another five to north of the channel between Loon and Stamp Act and then seven more to get back to Point of Pines. Beautiful day, bright sun, no wind.