Spring customs

Driving back from Dryden on Saturday afternoon, I was surprised by the way small lakes along Highway 502 were opening up.
On Friday, many still seemed locked in with winter ice. Yet overnight, there was a huge change in the look of the lakes. Overnight the ice had disappeared or was almost gone.
Snow still hung in the bush, but the lakes were opening up.
On Sunday while walking along the riverfront, my wife and I began talking about the signs and customs of spring in our area. On Friday, she had seen a large loon swimming close to shore at the river. Then on Sunday, we walked to Pither’s Point Park.
The river seems much lower than it is normally at this time of the year. You could see many of the sandbars that stretch out from the edge of the water.
A former policeman was checking those sandbars to see if the “suckers” had started running.
A small skiff was headed up to the Ranier bridge but as it approached the gate with the red and green buoys, the driver—looking at the rapids—slowed and turned around.
A father and son were fishing from the bank just west of the rapids. A young girl was gathering clams that had been left high and dry from the drop in water and was tossing them back into the fast-flowing water.
With hundreds of residents, Marnie and I drove east over the Noden Causeway to examine the state of the ice. The lake ice has receded east on Sand Bay. The ice in Stanjicoming Bay was turning black.
Commissioner’s Bay was ice free and we were told that the ice had left Moran’s Bay.
All are signs of spring, and each bay that opens is a forecaster of when the whole lake will be ice-free. I have my own schedule based on when some bays open.
It is the custom of local residents to check the ice daily in anticipation of the boating season. It seems to take forever once the warm weather begins.
When our family first had a boat, even before the causeway was built, we would drive the Five-mile Dock and check the ice.
Once the causeway was completed, our daily drives took us across it, checking the ice all the way to Windy Point. On Sundays, those drives would be extended to Bear Pass.
Today is no different. We can hardly wait for the ice to leave the lake and we are making those trips to check the ice. It’s our custom.

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