Eagerly awaiting ice-out It’s that time of year again.

Eagerly awaiting ice-out It’s that time of year again.
I feel like an eight-year-old hoping to find that special toy under the tree; checking the calendar every day to see if Christmas was coming quicker.
Only in this case, it is the days before the lake goes out.
Last year, I went to the cottage by boat on April 21. I could have gone Saturday on a snowmobile—if I was brave enough to jump the water between the shore and the ice six feet away.
I know I’m not alone in watching the ice disappear from the lakes. It is part of every cottager’s conversation.
“When will I be able to get to the cabin by water?”
Last weekend was Spring Fever Days in Emo. This weekend, two boat shows take place in Fort Frances. I’ll be out making sure my boat is ready for the lake by the first weekend in May.
That is my new hoped for deadline.
But until the lake is out, I will be making almost daily trips to the boat landing to watch the progress of the ice. It will go through several stages. It will get black, then turn white, and then grey and then black again.
I will see holes open up and water appear. Then the water holes will expand.
I drove to Thunder Bay last weekend and along the way checked every creek and lake I could see to watch the progress of the ice disappearing. Coming home Sunday, I re-checked to see how much farther the ice had disappeared.
There were many changes.
In many smaller lakes, and probably shallower, too, the ice by Sunday was gone. I was feeling optimistic about Rainy Lake. The weekend had been warm. We had received some rain. Both are necessary ingredients to speed the disappearance of ice.
The optimism dimmed when I looked north from the highway bridge at Bear’s Pass and noted that ice still ran across the width of the channel.
Glancing west across Swell Bay, a soft deep white fog hung low over the ice.
Reaching Windy Point, the water was open between the railway bridge and the highway bridge, but was still solid as I looked south to Back Point. It made me feel good.
But that quickly changed as I drove over the Seven-Mile Bridge and realized the ice still hadn’t moved away from the green buoy.
Crossing the Causeway, a sliver of open water had crept out to the highway bridge. The ice was still locked in at the shores.
Telltale signs like Commissioners Bay had solid ice, and Sand Bay ice had hardly started to recede.
My estimate was for at least two more weeks of ice. That would put ice-out to about May 7, which is a common day for travel to Kettle Falls, and May 9 for travel to the top of the Manitou.
I hope I am wrong. In fact, I remain so convinced that my estimate is wrong that I will keep going out to the lake to check to see if the ice has disappeared early.
It would be a wonderful Christmas present in April.
I really don’t want to see the ice last longer.

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