I have been accused of falsely predicting that winter is here. Today I am telling you that it really is here. Yesterday we got 6-8 inches of beautiful white snow. Everything is gleaming this morning with a new coat of snow.
Even during the middle of the night, the moonlight showed us a winter wonderland. As people my age tend to do, I was up wandering around in the early morning hours. Without any lights on, the moon lit up the snow in the yard. It almost took your breathe away.
This morning the clouds have passed. The lake is steaming as it cools down before freezing. The wind had not come up when Eva and I were walking. It looked like there were several places in the middle of the lake where the water might have been skimmed over with ice. Of course, once the wind comes up, these skims will break apart.
In order for the lake freeze, we need a clear skies, calm winds, and cold temperatures. Large sections of the lake must freeze at a time. So now we have Magnetic Lake frozen. Some of the bays like Charlie’s Bay and the Summer Home Bay are also frozen. Next will be the bay in front of Moosehorn. Then the ice may start to work its way across from our side of the lake. My neighbor predicts that the lake will be frozen within a week. I think he is correct.
Last year the final freezing of the main lake happened during daylight hours. It took a bit before we realized what was happening because usually the freezing occurs at night. Throughout the day the ice slowly covered the entire surface of the lake. It was just fun to watch the process as the day passed.
Once the lake freezes, we have a period of time when it is not safe to go on it. Theoretically you can walk on new winter ice when it is only 3 inches thick. None of us would go before it is 4-5 inches thick. At that point we might send someone out to test the ice. We might also decide to just wait another week because there is no rush. The Native Americans who used to live across the lake were traditionally the ones who declared the ice safe. Now we just wait and wait until there is no doubt. The results of walking on unsafe ice (a cold bath at a minimum) make us all willing to wait.
Once the lake is frozen, it is not a static thing. Snow loads and varying temperatures constantly change the ice on our lake. But that is a story for another day. Today we will just enjoy the new snow and steaming lake.