There are some days that you wait for all year long. Days you wait all year for even though sometimes those days never come.
This time of year, when temperatures are really cooling down and we're settling into the winter months, we hold our breath, wondering if this will be the year we'll be able to skate on the frozen lake.
Ice is finicky stuff. While it's guaranteed that at some point soon the lake will completely freeze over, transforming our backyard into a highway for snowmobilers, skiers, and ice fisherman, how that ice - which in some spots will be two-three feet thick by the end of winter -- will form is determined by the weather.
Just because there's ice doesn't mean there's skating. If it snows while the ice is forming, the snow pushes the ice down, allowing lake water to come up over the ice and creating slush which freezes into bumpy, yucky, un-skateable stuff. If the wind blows while the ice is forming, it can push the ice up on itself and create ridges. Again, not great for skating. When it comes right down with it, smooth, skatable ice is a pretty rare occasion.
But we haven't gotten any snow since Saturday's six inches and as the temperatures drop lower and lower with little to no wind, things are looking pretty promising for skating this year. In fact, last night Andy and I ventured out on the bay. There's still open water outside of the bay and there was just about an inch and a half near the shore: enough to support us as long as we didn't stand too close together. (Ideally you want at least three inches of ice before going out on it. . . Do as I say, not as I do ;)
I stayed very close to shore when I was skating: only going out so far that I would only fall up to my waist if I were to go through. If the snow stays at bay, we could be skating on the entire lake by the end of the weekend. How cool would it be to skating on the same territory we were boating on just a couple months ago?