Well, that was a short-lived “ice out” contest! On Saturday, April 3rd, the ice went out of East Bearskin Lake. Bob watched it go and as always, it was an amazing event to watch. Of course, Bob and Quinn have already paddled all over on the lake.
Archive for the ‘Spring at Bearskin’ Category
Winter disappeared on the Gunflint Trail rather suddenly. We didn’t expect that.
We waited unusually long this year for spring to appear. Each time we had a glimmer of hope that winter would finally loosen its grip, spring dreams were dashed by unexpected, unappreciated small snow squalls. Even yesterday, the 16th of May for heavens sake, small pellets of styrofoam-like snow pummeled us periodically all day.
Our ice went out yesterday. This morning we awoke to the sounds of loons on the lake. There have also been several varieties of ducks on the bay today. It didn’t take the waterfowl long to swoop into the lake once the ice disappeared.
Andy and Bob worked nonstop today on tasks that could only be done after ice-out. With the fishing opener coming up this weekend, they had 2 days of ice-free conditions to do an entire spring’s worth of preparation. Fishing boats are now in the water and docks are being reattached. They are placing ramps over lake paths that are temporarily flooded from the melt-water and they’re cleaning up the debris that came ashore after the ice melted.
Somebody called around lunch time today to ask, “Did I just see the ice go out on on the webcam?”
Yes, indeed, that is exactly what he saw. Just like last year, it was as if the ice suddenly decided to march eastward down the lake. A little before noon, the ice began rapidly moving past the the lodge, carrying with it remnants of this winter’s history — a broken tipi pole, bits of dog bedding straw, a mysterious log that had been lodged in the ice, an escaped broomball stick. By early afternoon, as far as we could see into the distance on East Bearskin Lake it was totally clear of ice.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather,” according to a 19th century writer. Listening to the news reports from around the country over the past week, it’s hard to accept much of the weather news as “good.” Serious floods all over the Midwest; deadly tornados in Iowa and Minnesota; wildfires out west; cows being blown through the air in North Dakota (would have liked to see that one, actually). On the east coast, they’ve been enduring sweltering temperatures nearing 100 degrees. Our daughter has been building theater sets in an unairconditioned shop in Auburn, NY, in 90+ degree temperatures; the heat is almost unbearable. Weather is the news right now.
I’m visiting the Twin Cities for a couple days, slowly packing up a lifetime’s accumulation of memories from our house. Everywhere I go people ask me about the floods in Grand Marais and whether Bearskin is in bad shape. The pictures in the news when Grand Marais flooded last week were riveting — logs floating down the road, rocks tumbling down hillsides, Highway 61 flooded. But it is a remarkable testimonial to the MnDOT, Cook County and City of Grand Marais crews that clean-up and repairs of the major damage were accomplished quite quickly. Continuing rain hasn’t made that job any easier, but the area is actually in good shape — at least when you compare it to everywhere else in the news.
I used to be really annoyed by Bearskin’s dumpsters. (Or as Dee always corrected us: they are “containers,” not “dumpsters.”) Throwing away the trash here is a weight-lifting workout, not only because the bags of garbage are heavy, but because just getting the bags into the dumpster takes a lot of muscle.
Our trash container lids don’t simply open and close. Oh no, you have to wrestle several long heavy metal “bear bars” out of slots across the top of the dumpster lid, then lift the 4 billion pound hinged metal lid up far enough that it goes crashing over against the other side of the dumpster with a huge boom — momentarily dispelling any sense of quiet or solitude in the woods for at least 50 miles around the dumpster. Then you heave the bulky trash bags up over the edge of the trash container, pry your fingers under the thick metal lid, awkwardly lift the cumbersome cover back up once again and let it freefall with another big bang back into position. After that, you have to find where you dropped the unwieldy metal bars that go across the top, properly reposition them, and finally, fiddle with the clumsy bolts on the bar ends.
Amazing news — it looks like you won’t need to bring your ice auger to East Bearskin Lake for the fishing opener this weekend.