Henretta Splain (Clubhouse Circle) sent this photo this morning saying these people had lots of courage to be out on the ice. I think it is probably thicker than Henretta suspects, but with the rain and water on top of the ice, I agree it looks dangerous. I wouldn't go out on it. However, the ice fishermen keep close track of the depth of ice and they wouldn't be out there if it wasn't safe. The white you see in the distance looks like ocean surf, but it is actually snow along the shoreline.
There's a big difference between yesterday's weather and today's. These are pictures Fred took yesterday when he went to West Danville to deliver Ice-Out tickets to Hastings store. It was a beautiful sunny day and the railtrail looks to be in great shape. It's been getting lots of use this year from walkers and snow machines, so I imagine it may be a tad thin or muddy in some spots, but overall, a great year. Snow machines have been out on the pond, too, and you can see they go through the narrows into the middle pond. I'm guessing they go through the upper narrows, too, but that can be especially dangerous as the flow of water keeps the ice in the narrows from getting very thick. It's always the first to show open water in the spring.
In the bottom picture, it looks like a river runs through it! Not so. That's where a road had been plowed to get to and from fishing shanties, and now it's bare ice. There's still plenty of snow cover on the rest of the pond. Diane Rossi told me there was still one shanty on the pond this morning, but I expect that is gone now. I don't see any in this picture, but it could have been out of Fred's range. It's good to get them off the ice before the weather turns cold again. The ice and snow has softened now we've had some warm days, but if they are left there they will freeze solidly into the ice when the temperature drops tonight - then part of the foundation of the thing will likely be left on the ice when they get it pried loose. Now's a good time to get it done.
Speaking of getting it done - Larry Rossi will be putting the Ice-Out Contest paraphernalia out tomorrow or Friday. Then the waiting begins! Also, the pay on-line option to buy tickets is up and running as of this morning. We promised it would be available on March 1st, and so it is!
Tickets may be purchased on line until midnight on April 1st; if you use the printable tickets option, you must have them in the mail with a date stamp of April 1st or earlier; and tickets are available at our usual outlets until close of business on April 1st. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the crazy weather we've been having doesn't melt the ice so the flag goes down before April 1st - but if that happens, the moment the clock stops, the contest is over and anything in the pipeline after that date and time will not be allowed in the contest. So get your choices in as early as you dare, and watch the website for daily updates of weather and ice conditions. The webcam will not be available this year, but we'll keep you posted with information and photos.
The fog seems to be lifting and the thermometer has dropped another degree or so - with any luck, whatever precipitation we get tonight will be in the form of snow, not rain.