No, ya can’t skate on this

snowmotracksI sometimes forget that not everybody grew up in the frozen north. When I mentioned being out on the ice on Houghton Lake over the weekend, MTCB asked if you could skate on it and I was a little dumbfounded at first. It was an honest question from an intelligent, physically active person. Who grew up in New York City and, despite living out here in the boondocks for a gazillion years, hasn’t ever really taken to winter sports. Unless you count ascending a long practically vertical snow/ice covered driveway in a 4-wheel drive vee-hickle.

Ice primer anyone? Houghton Lake is the biggest inland lake in the state, in terms of surface area anyway. It doesn’t get very deep for the most part. It freezes over completely most winters. Occasionally we get a wimpy, warm winter and the ice is dangerously thin. Not this winter. It’s thick almost everywhere, from one to three feet if I have my rumors straight. There are ice shanties and snowmobiles everywhere and cars and trucks too. It’s safe. Actually, we drove out onto the lake last weekend and parked there to attend the Tip Up Town festival. Not that I would recommend that anyone cavalierly take off for a random jaunt around the lake. It is possible that there are thin spots or soft spots or whatever. If you don’t know the lake geography (and I don’t), stay on the safe side.

I’m told that there were years that you could actually skate out on the lake. That the lake froze in such a way that the ice was perfectly smooth and no snow fell on top of it or it blew off or whatever. I have never seen it like that. This year, like most years, there is a few inches or more of snow on top of the ice and a lot of it is chewed up by snowmobiles. You can walk out there or you can ski but leave your skates at home. And by the way, although I am not a huge fan of motorized sports, I am happy to see so many snowmobilers out there this year. When gas prices topped $4 a gallon last summer, we were up at Houghton Lake early in the summer and it was eerily quiet around there. As much as I hate huge crowds of people, the tourist industry is huge in the Great White North and the economy depends on all of those crowds. It’s a good winter and I hope people are making some money.

Off to rouse the GG and head over to Chez Harry!

One Response to “No, ya can’t skate on this”

  1. Jay Says:

    Mom told me once (if I remember correctly) about the cabin ice freezing so you could skate on it. It was foggy and still, so the ice was flat. I think she said they could skate to the island. – Check it out with her tonight – oops – noticed the time differential.