Bear Lake is covered in ice again after a week of weather changes and dramatic wind.
Monday we had heavy rain and winds at 30 gusting to as high as 60 mph. That's enough wind to wake me in the night and send porch furniture sailing around the yard. That's enough wind to make waves on the two inches of water laying atop the lake's icecap. That's enough wind to bow windows and make one thankful for every hurricane clip and extra strap build into this house. That's enough wind to drive the rain under eight feet of porch roof to strike my the windows on the north wall. But that was then and this is now. Such is the weather of Bear Lake.
The last two nights have been clear and cold so that the ice is rebuilding and we are feeling a bit more like late February even without the snow. We have basically given up significant snow fall this year. The ice though has been reworked we were back on our Nordic skates (wrote about nordic skates last winter and the blog is still available) today scooting tentatively about on slabs of ice that now has the look of a shattered windshield. Cracks run in every directions and spiderweb the surface. We don't often get to watch the ice on the lake change and age as we have this year. The layers of snow hide the crack and breaking ice and muffle the sounds. This year without snow, the visuals and audio are dramatic. The lake was all asparkle today in the morning sun like some one spilled their cache of rhinestones. When we glided out on the ice surface we found ourselves skating across textured marble then crystal glass then pale, fine-textured granite all in the shades between black, white, and silver. Some places the ice appeared shattered and refrozen into kaleidoscopes in fifty shades of grey.
Out toward center of the lake, we crossed ice that was countertop smooth but textured into a fine sandy look -- excellent skating. This expanse stretched probably half a mile across the lake and down the center of this overflow was a major crack that gapped as much as two inches and in one part was lifted the same distance. I have to think the ice ruptured here and water came up from below to flow and freeze into this beautiful rink.
Of course, with all this cracking and shattered ice the lake has not been silent. Last night entertainment was sitting in the hot tub counting the stars and listening to the rumble and crunch of the lake tectonics. The ice has been moving and moaning for days which is fun to listen to unless it is right under your feet when you skating then, no matter how thick the ice, one can get pretty nervous. I think the ice is thick enough over most of the lake to support us skaters but every time things warm up I get nervous. The ice is thin or non existent along the shore especially where little springs bubble up through the lake bottom along the shallow south shore. Most of those places are shallow and a skater would only get wet and scared. So we skate on, cautious and jumpy, but helplessly seduced by the shattered glass lines and infinite shades of grey on the ice of Bear Lake.