Ice Out

The changing of the seasons is well underway in the northeast.  While the calendar says spring, Mother Nature decides when it’s really upon us.  In New Hampshire spring is marked by Ice Out; the time when the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee has melted enough that the Mount Washington can sail to all of her ports of call on the lake.  This is determined when one designated guy, currently Dave Emerson, flies over the lake and gives it his blessing.
In 2017 Ice Out was on April 17th.  The year before it was on March 18th.  Looking at the dates it seems like the average is late April over the last 131 years.  Honestly, it’s a big deal if you’re on the lake, but for the rest of us its check box indicating another winter has passed.  I live in Southern New Hampshire, where the local ponds thaw out a little faster than Lake Winnipesaukee does.  A walk around town over the weekend showed that we’re getting close.
Back when I rowed, melt off got us out of the weight room and erg room and onto the water.  It was a huge milestone after a long winter.  Being on the Merrimack in college, the melt off meant a swollen river.  The coxswain and coach had to keep a sharp eye out for floating debris.  I recall a few bumps as submerged logs were detected a bit too late.
They say back in the early days of our country that people would walk across or skate up the river.  That seems insane now.  You never know what the current on a river does to the thickness of the ice, and nowadays you just don’t seem to have that kind of sustained deep freeze that would build up the ice to those levels.
Climate change is happening, no matter what the fake news crowd says.  Facts don’t lie.  As much as I embrace spring and the chance to be on the water again soon, I wonder what kind of planet we’re leaving for our grandchildren.

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