AWWA received this email from Judy Stearns on March 14th after we blogged about ice out.  She was inspired by the idea and couldn’t help but think about being at the lake during this time of year.  She wrote us a wonderful email detailing the ice out period on Great East Lake and allowed us to share it with all of you.  So without further ado, we give you a response to “ice out” by Judy Stearns.

“After receiving the excellent article on ice-out, water in lakes, and the interesting information you provided I thought another perspective on Ice-out would be something to write about. For years I have thought about our experiences and this is just one of many.

Thank you,  Judy Stearns

Winter was always one of our favorite seasons at Great East Lake –  Christmas, February school vacations, early Spring holiday in the late sixties and seventies.  All alone with no one else around, our stays at Camp varied from a few to several days and every day was packed full of activity for three young boys, Mom and Dad.  There were always many chores, such as carrying water from the lake, bringing in wood for the wood stove, shoveling paths, drying clothes, etc. along with outside and outside fun.

There were so many things to anticipate as we loaded the car with food, warm clothes, and outdoor toys. Would there be good skating?  Enough snow for sledding and skiing or building caves down near the dock?  Could we drive all the way in or park the car three-quarters of a mile away?  What adventures would we have?  How thick will the ice be?  And in the early spring, would there still be ice on the lake?

Of all the wonderments of nature’s designs, ice-out in early Spring is one of the most difficult to predict.  It was never the same. I remember sitting on our lakeside bench enchanted by thousands of very small chunks of ice hitting one against the other by a gentle wind. It was the sound of tinkling silver bells and the sight of eternal motion going nowhere. And the next day they were gone.

One year our boys pushed the aluminum rowboat down to the shore, jumped in, snowsuits and all, and began to row, convinced they could break up the ice that had teasingly started to come apart, though still thick and strong.  Sometimes  they could power through, but usually, the ice won.

And then there was the time when I stood watching the stiff south wind begin to move huge masses of ice from the middle of the lake toward shore.  As they came closer and closer it was rather terrifying and the ground began to shake and move under my feet as the huge thick ice floes were thrown up on the rocks, one after the other, creating the sound of charging elephants.  And then, just as quickly as they had blown in, they stopped, resting one upon the other creating a haphazard ice fortress –  and the lake once again became water for another summer.”


Thank you Judy for the kind words and wonderful description!