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My biannual pilgrimage back to the island has started, but it is always fraught with peril. This year is no exception, and in fact, will go in the logs as a not-too-great travel year. You know, …
My biannual pilgrimage back to the island has started, but it is always fraught with peril. This year is no exception, and in fact, will go in the logs as a not-too-great travel year. You know, neither rain, snow, sleet or hail shall keep me from my appointed rounds. Well, nobody said anything about slush!
Since I moved back from Montana, I have never not been home for Christmas. The first year was close and I was putting up my Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Sadly, this year has beaten my record and my Christmas tree will remain in the box until next year. I braved slush that first year, too and it seems to be one of the biggest weather-related factors in my getting back home. At least for wintertime!
Early on, it looked like it would be a fabulous year for ice travel. The wind had died down long enough for the colder temperatures to set up a nice crust of ice over the top of the water. Experienced, tried and true ice people had started to check the ice depth and venture across. Six inches, 8, then 9 and finally 11 inches in some spots! Yah! From there on, Mother Nature read the ice making recipe wrong!
And so started the snow and with it, the deterioration of travelable ice. Let the biologists and ice experts assault me, but as I understand it, to get good ice you must follow a strict recipe. Too much snow, too soon, is a bad thing and your ice, or at least, enough ice, won’t set up. Firstly, it insulates the ice, and the cold doesn’t get down there to make any more. Secondly, the kind of snow, wet icky stuff, is a great environment to create a slush layer. I’m sure there are more scientific and other magical factors involved, but what I know is this: bad ice this year.
We northerners are a resilient lot though, and after we’ve dried our tears and squared our shoulders, we adapt. There probably won’t be many ice castles out there this year, though goodness knows, ice people have tried! We’ll hook up the snowmobiles to Eskimo ice tents and head out. The fish are still awaiting! High powered snowmobiles will still make it. Warning: don’t stop when you hit a slush pocket. Dry the machine off when you get home!
For me, I’ll give up my dreams of safely driving to my home on a plowed road in my car, and I’ll hook the doggie box to the snowmobile. The dogs hate it, but they go. They may get that resistance because I’ve tipped them a time or two or three. We’ll take that mode of transportation until we transition to the side by side and then, eventually back to the boat. You must learn to adapt to live on an island. Patience isn’t a bad quality either, but I’m still working on that one!
So, with the determination of a true ice person, and, of course, ice dogs, we’ll weather the season on a snowmobile. And we’ll revise our motto: Neither rain, snow, sleet, hail, or SLUSH shall keep us from our appointed rounds!
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