Great Ice, Rain, Might Be Great Ice Again

When there isn’t snow to play with, sometimes there is nice ice. People started to get out on the ice around the 8th of January and by the 10th, the ice was about 5 inches thick. (That is what I like to see for safety.) People went out on skates and the west end of the lake had great ice while much of the east end had nice ice but covered with 1/4 of an inch of crusty snow. This made skating not as much fun. Below is a picture of people at Albee Beach getting ready to skate or getting ready to go home. Ice boats were also out and about whizzing around.

Another kind of fun on the ice is ski sailing where you use a kite that pulls you along.

The ice was smooth for the most part although there were patches of snow that sometimes would slow your skates down if you didn’t avoid them which was rather easy to do.

As usual, the ice is dynamic and pressure ridges formed that would block passage. You might be able to get across one in the morning but by the afternoon, the ice would change and you would at least get your feet wet or even fall through the ice. These form as the ice expands and contracts with changes in temperature. Ice is a solid so when it heats up, it expands and pushes things around. Cracks also form when the ice cools and these often fill with water (which then expands when it freezes). One ridge went from Sister Island most of the way to Camp Bernadette but you could get around it near shore. Another ridge went from Poplar Island to Hersey Point and it was basically impassable starting on the 12th. Below is one of the ridges near Sister Island.

Some of the formations along these pressure ridges are quite interesting. This one rose a foot or more off the surface of the ice.

Below, slabs of ice push one another into arches.

Below is crack in the ice that filled repeatedly with water and then froze. The different bands are different freezing episodes. It is about 2 inches wide.

The east end of the lake had more snow on it although some areas were free of it. It actually made for great skiing as it was crusty and about 1/2 inch thick so “breaking trail” was a snap.

Then, we got an inch of rain on the 16th and wind. As a result, pressure cracks, where the ice was weak and perhaps with open water in some places, became the “drains” for the water on top of the ice to go under the ice. This melted rather large areas of ice and they have to be avoided for obvious reasons.

The pressure ridge, shown below, was actually quite small before the rain and you could step across it but now the open water extend 5 or 6 feet.

This is looking at the sand bar on Stamp Act with open water in front of it. The ice between Stamp Act and Cate Island is always questionable.

So, if you venture out on the ice now, self rescue devices are a good idea. Presently, when the open water areas freeze, they will be black ice and not the whitish ice of the rest of the lake so you can avoid them. Not the case if we get a little bit of snow, then it will all look the same. Be smart, don’t go swimming.

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