We had a nice snow day yesterday. It started out not so good. The temperature was 35 and we got rain off and on for most of the morning and afternoon. By late afternoon, we got down to 32 degrees and then it started to snow – a wet, heavy snow. The trees held onto every snowflake until they looked flocked. Overnight we got about 6 inches of new snow. It was really nice to see.
This morning everyone was out cleaning up. Don and our dishwasher, Jon Prasil, were shoveling. Bruce pulled rank and got to drive the plow truck. Luckily he didn’t hit anything or Jason would have given him a hard time.
I tried to at least shovel the front steps but the shovel got taken out of my hands. So I went home for a few minutes late in the morning and got to shovel the twenty feet from the drive to my door. As a child, I used to shovel the driveway all the time. Sometimes I did it at night or even early in the morning before school. It is kind of like cutting the grass – both are things I enjoy doing but rarely get to do now.
Don and I went out to check the thickness of the ice the other day. As a fire department member he has a bright yellow dry suit he puts on. Then we attach a 50 foot rope to him. I hold the other end of the rope as if I was walking a dog. There is a radio in my pocket to call for help if Don goes through. We have never had to use it.
At any rate we found that the ice is quite thick and solid. Generally there was 10-16 inches of solid blue ice. At one spot where there was a crack, we only had 6 inches but that is still plenty thick. The fact that the ice was solid blue meant it was a strongest kind of ice. Sometimes we have an accumulation of slush ice on top which is not nearly as strong. Of course, there still could be weak spots where a spring hole comes up. It is hard to realize that the ice changes constantly during the winter.
At the lodge we have been particularly busy. In fact, it is difficult to tell where all these people are coming from. Tonight is also going to be busy. We don’t make a big deal about New Year’s Eve but the dining room is packed. At about 10:00 p.m. John Silliman will have a bonfire in front of the lodge. That’s our big celebration. I haven’t made it to midnight in many years.
The phones have been particularly busy with reservations. If you are planning a winter trip to Gunflint, be sure to call us as soon as you can set your dates. I don’t know if it’s the economy or us, but it is going to be a very busy winter.