Friday, February 15, 2013
Welcome to the Far North
I don't get to walk on water every day, so yesterday was a pleasant change. The temperature was pretty close to 40 F, and Pine Lake was still very much frozen. We decided to take another hike around the upper lake. This time of year everything is a bit tamer. There are no mosquitoes and no living plants to get in the way (Although some dead thorn bushes did get in the way!)
We started our hike walking on the lake, but found a place where the ice was shallow (Thankfully we didn't find out the hard way!) So we walked on land for a while. The woods were pleasant, but the ground under the trees was frozen and in some places, slippery. The swamp that always is incredibly unpleasant to walk through was also frozen and therefore gave us no trouble.
We crossed the lake on/near this dam designed to keep out silt, and resumed our walk on the other side, some of us on the lake, and some of us on the land beside the lake. The "land beside the lake" turned out to be more slippery than the lake itself--and very steep!
Yours truly is usually sure-footed, but near the spot above I found a slippery spot, fell ( a little fall is nothing), and started sliding...down!!! I started worrying about a bigger fall...The prospects for a good landing weren't exciting and after the little slope, there's pretty much a short 90 degree drop into the lake. Thank the Lord, a protruding tree root was handy! I grabbed it and pulled myself up to higher ground!
It was not exactly a pleasure to meet this interesting tree; which seems common enough in the woods here in Iowa:
It wasn't long before we decided it would probably be easier and more pleasant walking on the lake...so once we found a not-so-steep place to descend, we "land-lubbers" joined the rest of our family on the lake.
The ice in this area was very thick--probably close to a foot thick. Although we weren't worried about it breaking, we walked single-file 15 feet from each other, and kept a rope handy just as a precaution.
Near the dam we returned to land. The hiking trail was icy and in some places muddy, but beside the trail, the ground was good and easy to walk on. The dam finally had some water flowing over it (a pretty site after such a dry autumn and winter. We reached the paved trail and finished our 3 hour hike with a leisurely stroll.
While this isn't exactly the far north, sometimes it certainly feels like it...but on cold winter days we do get to enjoy some pleasures folks in Southern California, Florida, and Hawaii never have a chance to enjoy...
...Like walking on water (frozen water, that is)