The long ice-out wait
Each year the month of April brings with it great anticipation and lots of wagering on when the ice will go out of both Mirror and Placid lakes. As I write this today, overlooking the last vestiges of ice in Mirror Lake, I think about all the years I've been living here and wagering on ice out. The Lake Placid Ambulance Service has an annual fund-raiser, selling tickets for the ice-out - not just the date, but the exact time as well. They engage the expertise of local "Ice Meisters" who officially declare the exact time of ice out. There are some bars as well which have various sorts of contests based on ice-out dates. I've watched ice out happen on Mirror Lake the first week in April and all the way into May! Really. There is a wide range of dates that could be winners when all is said and done!
Lake Placid locals have the luxury of lots of time to occupy themselves with ice out in this down time of April. Many leave town for the opportunity to recharge in warmer climates between seasons. The rest who are left here to run things spend a lot of time conjecturing on the day the ice will go out of Mirror and Placid Lakes. Most of this involves Mirror Lake because the entire lake is so visible from the village. You'll hear talk about ice out almost everywhere you go these days, from the grocery store, to committee meetings and even at the beauty salon. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is sure they've got the correct date, based on 'scientific' and 'secret' calculations they'll be sure NOT to tell you about.
Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny half-day. People were even recreating on the beach - fishing, excavating, sunning.
Then it clouded up and started raining. Wind was predicted - a sure bet the ice will move fast if rain and wind are involved. Yesterday afternoon we conjectured that there would be no ice when we arrived at work this morning. Wrong. Here's our view this morning:
Today dawned cloudy and it was raining lightly. The rain quickly ended and there is barely a breath of breeze moving. Not very good conditions for moving the ice-out along! The ice is all honeycombed and probably mostly just slush at this point, but there is a lot of it down here in the South end of the lake and, according to a Main Street merchant, there's a 'berg about the size of a football field behind the NBT Bank building. The rest of the lake is open. If we get some wind, it'll go out today I'm thinking. Then again, I've been thinking a lot about ice out lately and haven't been able to think it out of the lake yet. All I can say is soon we'll be swimming! Either that or Ironman start will look like this: