Sunday, February 11, 2007

Spectacular Skating

Wow. This evening, we had a short, stunning skate on the surface of Lake Superior, at sunset: a simply stellar experience!! (Especially for the alliteration lovers among us)!

A rare event indeed: Lake Superior, the world’s largest lake by surface area, is frozen a ways out from shore near here AND it’s skate-able! The Lake hasn’t been freezing all that much lately, and it hardly ever freezes over completely. But right now, we have something so amazing here that even WF was convinced to buy some used skates and make a quick, all-too-rare pilgrimage to the Lake to celebrate this fleeting wonder!

The ice is just lightly rippled and very clear; the recent cold snap has frozen it quickly, with no snow on top. The ripples mean that you get that slightly jiggly view of the scenery, but looking down is quite amazing: water and ice are so clear, you can see all the rocks below, almost as if flying over them. I’ve had the same experience in a kayak in nearly the same spot: so odd to be coasting over the surface at full height!

There were quite a few frozen cracks, but no hazard if we watched for them. Some loud “phooomps” and pops happened, but not much surface movement. Lake Superior, capable of 30 ft waves, often “breathes” even when calm: big rollers or subtle shifts of the water mass cause an up and down motion (even moving the ice) that really looks like the breathing of a giant being. It is rather soothing to watch from shore, but a bit disconcerting while one is on the ice! We took off our skates on some ice boulders just off shore, and DID feel a bit of “breathing” and hear tinkling ice along the shore behind us as the whole surface shifted. We made it to our car as the sun completely set. Amazing!

(Wow, I miss the Lake. I spent a couple summers and a winter living alone very close to the shore, and that motion is partly what really makes her seem alive.)

Pictures? Alas, no… Help me repeat this 50 times: I will bring my camera to town. I will bring my camera to town. I WILL bring my camera EVERY TIME I go to town! Sheesh. But the new/old skates are still in the car, so many we’ll get another glimpse of this novel beauty one day this week after work. It’s experiences like these that remind me one the main reasons I wanted to live up here so badly, and also reminds me that I just might be ALIVE! Wheeeeha! (Yes, the Lake makes me giddy….)


Anonymous said...

what a wonderful day it sounds like you had. I love that lake (even have a tattoo of it). i'm new to your blog and have been enjoying reading the archives. very fun. keep it up.

Tina T-P said...

What a great adventure to have! I hope your ear is healing up - that looks mighty painful. We had cold weather earlier in the year here in the Pacific NW, but nothing as cold as you've had back east - (I'm just thankful I don't live in upstate New York!)

I wondered if I could quote your previous post on the "reality of blogging" in an upcoming service that I'm doing at our Unitarian Church on "The Community of Blogging" If it's ok, could you please leave a comment back on my blog :-)

Thanks! T.

Prairie Chick said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I also love the lake, but at a distance- except for a Vista Cruse many moons ago..

Tracy said...

That must have been amazing. I've never skated on a lake that big. It's been a long time (too long) since I've skated, but I do remember how very cool it is to look through perfectly clear ice to the bottom of the lake.

BurdockBoy said...

Sounds great.

We have a little snow over here so we don't get the "clear" view of the lake.

The neatest experience I had with ice was at a rock quarry in Illinois when I was a teenager. The ice was so clear and the water so deep it was almost scary. It was like glass.

GTR said...

Indeed, it was a great, brief evening experience. Anonymous: A tattoo?! Wow. Once when I was homesick and lived on the edge of the bible belt, someone told me that I had a "God shaped hole in my life". I responded, "No, I think it's more of a Lake Superior shaped hole!"