Thursday, March 14, 2019

Skating on a (Possibly) Frozen Lake

The lake froze! The lake froze! This is a big deal!

Okay,  maybe not for you. But since I don't live next to an ocean (and I miss that every day), Wallowa Lake is the next best thing. It's my swimming pool in summer (kind of a cold one), my view when I run along the moraine, and a good place to just hang out at any time. I've lived here for eleven winters, and the lake has frozen four times in its entirety.

Some years we get an icebox in December and the surface stays frozen for months. In the best winter of all for ice, 2017, we skied and skated on the lake most days. Most winters, it's disappointingly cold but not enough to make the ice.

I had given up on this year. It's been really snowy but not that cold (when I say that, the temperatures have been in the single digits, but not below zero, which is what the lake seems to need). Until one day when I was driving by after a run and I noticed something odd. No open water! This was in March, which is exceedingly strange. I raced home to get my skates.



One thing you should know is that I am a terrible ice skater. I was better in Alaska, where our lovely Swan Lake reliably froze and I was able to skate often. (My friend L got fed up with trying and left her skates on the ice with a note saying they were free.)  I honestly don't know why I keep doing something that I am so bad at, but there's something about gliding over glass, knowing that you are above three hundred or more feet of water...I don't know. It's spellbinding, really.

There wasn't anyone at the lake when I returned with my skates, and I wasn't quite sure how completely frozen the lake was. Something my friend R always said flashed through my head: "If you die in a stupid way, I'm not coming to your funeral." Okay then.

I inched out onto the ice and put on my skates. Some slush greeted me, and I knew this was from the snow skiff melting, but it was still worth avoiding that area. I made my way to a clear patch. And it wasn't pretty, but I was skating on a frozen lake. Though I was still terrible at it, I couldn't help but think that this was the culmination of a pretty perfect winter. I am actually sad to see it go.


8 comments:

  1. I can only imagine how lovely it is to skate, but with these surroundings it must be quite surreal.
    Our crappy summer is very reluctant to say goodbye but did send a storm last night that brought heavy rainfalls over a vast area, desperate for it to happen.

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    1. Sorry it has been a bad summer! But 'winter' over there sounds quite nice.

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  2. Yu gamme then a nu werd: "skiff". Thankee. A liekum.

    Alzo: https://blindpigandtheacorn.com/a-skiff-of-snow/
    En: http://www.word-detective.com/2009/08/skiff/

    "My grandmother has told me that when they first were back there, and they'd be snow or anything, a skift of snow around the pens, they'd be bears and wolf tracks all about there trying to get the stock from the barn."

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  3. Interesting. I hear skiff used all the time out here. Not skift. But maybe that is what it evolved from

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  4. How cool that your lake froze enough for skating! It's been many, many years since I've skated on a frozen lake.

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    1. It probably should be many years before I do since it is pretty pathetic, I am not sure I can call it "skating". Shuffling along on skates, perhaps. Oh well! It's fun!

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  5. Hi Mary. I have been having trouble leaving comments. Apple was helping me, hence the above comment. Hopefully it is now sorted.

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