APRIL ÖÖ. THE DAY THE ICE BREAKS UP!
Not too long ago at a social gathering, various folks were sharing what was their favorite day of the year. Predictably, they listed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays as favorites. After everyone had shared their favorites, the group looked at me for my response.
ďNo question about it,Ē I related. ďMy favorite day of the year is the day when the ice breaks up on LakeHubert.Ē Silence greeted my revelation and the group looked at my wife, Mary, for some sort of confirmation. ďItís true. Heís not making that up.Ē she sighed.
From my perspective, my favorite day makes perfect sense especially when you consider what happens after your traditional favorite day is over. The day after Christmas, itís time to worry about a stack of unpaid bills. The day after Thanksgiving you are wondering what to do with leftovers and a messy turkey carcass. That birthday cake gets stale in a hurry plus you are stuck being a year older. But, the day after the ice breaks up is sheer bliss for me as Iím looking at seven joyful months of fishing, boating, swimming, or just sitting at the end of the dock savoring the quiet beauty of Lake Hubert
Well, you might counter, part of the fun of Christmas or other holidays is the anticipation of these special days. Thus, you might ask what can possibly be exciting about waiting for ice to melt? Iíll argue that watching ice melt is great excitement. Itís just that most people donít know how to enjoy this type of fun.
You see, the advent of my favorite day actually starts several weeks before the ice actually breaks up. Usually, the very first signs are visible by mid-March. Although daytime temperatures barely reach 40 degrees, and it freezes every night, the strong early spring sun begins to melt the ice adjacent to shoreline rocks or anything else that is dark and absorbs heat. Pretty soon there will typically be several inches of fresh water between the ice shelf and shore. This little strip is like an aquarium as already various water bugs and occasionally even a lone stickleback minnow might be seen.
Eventually, that small strip of open
water expands to a few feet and the edge of the ice shelf becomes mushy
and weak. If you step on this edge, it quickly gives way and it is easy
to find yourself in a couple of feet of frigid water.
Three days before "Ice Out", 2004
Photo by David Lindman
This special day on Lake Hubert marks the official start of my ďholiday period.Ē Now, I will wake up to the sound of loons and the sunshine sparkling off the gentle waves. Iíll go to bed watching the moon reflected off quiet waters. Iíll have my morning coffee at the end of my dock and my fishing boat will be launched for that first exhilarating ride around the lake.
Within a few days, Iíll even be chasing crappies and looking forward to that first spring meal of fresh fish.
Ah, yes, the day the ice breaks up.
By far the very best day of the year!
Note: This is the final episode of the series.
To learn more about Ice Out on Lake Hubert, go to our Ice
Out page where we list the dates the ice went out all the way back
to the 1960s.
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