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Off-Grid and Free: Lake Ice Out and Springtime Preparation on an Ultra-Remote Homestead

| 5/14/2016 3:07:00 PM

Our lake free of ice.

Ice out! The lake is finally ice free — it's time to put the boat in the water, dust off the fishing rods and stalk the creatures of the deep!

In a previous post, Off Grid and Free:The Dangers of a Slush-Covered Lake, I had voiced my concerns about slush on the top of the ice surface and how those conditions complicate float plane travel. But once the lake is well on its way to melting, travel by float plane is no longer an option. The planes cannot land safely on a lake surface of rotting ice. At this time of the year, any float plane that was on skis is now being converted over to pontoons for open water. During this period of spring break up, we are truly on our own and an expensive helicopter is the only means of transportation available to us.

Thoughts on Lake Ice

"Spring break" up is one of the most exciting times of the year for us. Not only have we survived the long winter, but animals are more active and migratory birds and waterfowl have come home. We eagerly watch the lake as it slowly releases its icy shackles with the anticipation of open water, fishing and boating to come. The following is an excerpt from my book Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness:

“Lake ice doesn’t melt like a big ice cube. As it melts, the ice starts to honeycomb and melt water trickles down through small, nearly invisible fractures. It is through these cracks and small air bubbles, which were frozen in time during freeze-up, that melt water flows, eroding the ice as it permeates the layer. The lake goes through stages of melt, with the color of the ice changing from white to gray, to dark gray, to finally black, as the thickness of the ice decreases.

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