It was about 40 degrees as I rode down Harrel Road to Stipp, and then rode downhill really slowly because of all the grit on the road. At the lake the ice was still hard on top, and about 2 inches thick, so I headed east towards the main body of the lake.
I crossed over the first cove, and noticed several soft spots, so I went around them. I knew the lake was shallow here, but I did not want to get my feet wet, so I was cautious. There were spots where leaves had frozen in the ice, and they were always mushy.
In the shade of the ridge, the ice felt stronger, even though it was deeper along the creek channel. I crossed the second cove, and found my wheels would sometimes dig into the mushy ice, but I never felt I would break through.
I stopped for a bite to eat, took some pictures of the bike, you can see how different the ice appears at different angles and light. Sometimes it was blue, or white or gray, or green, always different. After a bit I became aware of a background sound that had been getting louder as I moved up the valley. I pulled out my scope, and saw that a quarter of a mile up the bay was open water, and the sound was the strong south wind whipping the waves. I climbed a little way up the ridge and took pictures of the ice/water line.
On the way back, I ran into a couple of guys with their dogs, they had hiked over a ridge, but then were walking back along the lakeshore ice.
Here I am starting up and riding on the last of the hard ice in the bay, after this shot, taken in the shade, I had to walk the bike.
Coming back across the last cove was a little iffy, the bike was digging ever deeper into the ice, and I ended up walking the bike to the bluffs on shore near the boat ramp.
After climbing Schwartz Ridge Rd. I rode down 446 to Pine Grove, I thought perhaps the ice was still solid there. I was wrong. There was ice, but I quickly went through it and got my feet wet. This was not too scary, I was wearing two pair of wool socks, and I had a dry pair in my bag.
I decided to see if it was true that wool keeps you warm even when wet. Well I am here to testify that this is totally true. Even though they and my sandals were wet, my feet were warm by the time I got to the top of the hill, and they stayed warm the whole way back, I just didn’t feel the need to change them.
Nature Journal: It was a sunny 40 degrees, with a 15 mph south wind. I saw a great blue heron at Pine Grove, quite possibly the same one whose tracks we found last week. There was a gaggle of Canada geese at Moore’s Creek, and about a dozen big seagulls. I saw a portion of the larger murder of crows when I got back to town. The leafless trees allowed the silhouettes of the hills to be seen all along the valley, and I saw very few squirrel nests.