Lake ice. It’s been with us so long, far longer than any normal winter. It felt as though it was never going to retreat. But this week I finally saw signs of a thaw, thanks to a trip to the Twin Cities. There the weather is undeniably milder than the Northland. And I admit to being thoroughly enchanted with the rising temperatures, sun that penetrated my exposed skin with its warmth, and the mild breezes. Well, breezes that did not cross lake ice, that is. The latter still felt distinctly polar.
On a bike ride that included circling Medicine Lake, the beginnings of ice-out were distinctly visible. Perhaps it was the long wait that seemed to make it special, but I found the resulting patterns charming. A river developed in the middle of the lake, as the shrinking ice separated and created a channel across the lake. The blue water in contrast with the surrounding ice was a pleasing sight.
Other sections offered open water against the shore. Migrating birds were drawn to the available water making it a great place to watch for species not normally seen in that lake. I’m certain I saw a loon, and numerous ducks paddled the waters.
At the far end of the lake I came to a sudden stop. A mound of snow crossed the bike path, blocking my way. But what was more impressive were the huge piles of snow, ice and boulders that lined the shore. They were not there the day before, and I learned from someone who witnessed it that they were created in 30 seconds flat! Strong winds had been blowing the free lake ice from one side of the lake to the other all day, when all at once something gave way, and it all piled up on shore creating the ice mountains I saw before me. How I wish I’d seen it happen!
With the warm weather, the lake ice is quickly turning to black ice as it thins out. It’s not nearly as pretty, but I approve of the trend. I’ll sacrifice some photo opps for open water. Now let’s see about that ice Up North – is it on its way out yet?