Sunday, March 30, 2008

Signs of spring?

Well, I saw a mosquito flying around the store this morning, so perhaps that was a sign.

Judging by the thigh-deep snow in the woods and reported three foot ice thickness on some Algonquin lakes, there is a lot of melting required before any canoes or water taxis hit the water. The three foot ice estimate came from a seasonal staff member who spends her winters guiding dog sled expeditions for Chocpaw Expeditions. She chops a lot of holes in northwestern Algonquin lakes to get water for thirsty dogs and mushers, so I believe her.

What to do in the meantime? Enjoy the spring conditions! Go skiing, tobagganing and snowshoeing while you can. "Spring conditions" means that it is pretty easy to travel on the hard snowpack with skis and snowshoes, as long as the night-time temps remain below freezing. Click the link to check out some recent activity in the Muskoka backcountry.

Here are some helpful links for keeping track of receding snow and ice:

1) this blog - when significant progress is happening, we will let you know and post pictures as we get them. Check previous ice-out reports here: April 2007, April 2006, May, 2005.

2) the NOAA satellite image of the Great Lakes area. Updated twice daily, images taken on a cloudless day clearly show major Algonquin lakes. When they are white, they are frozen. If you haven't looked at this before, please note that the image is quite large and, once loaded, your screen will display the upper left-hand corner. This puts you somewhere east of Thunder Bay, so a little scrolling is required to find the Algonquin Park area. Personally, I follow the obvious shorelines of Lake Superior and Lake Huron, then scroll to the right once I find Georgian Bay. Lakes like Opeongo, Cedar, Louisa, etc. are all clearly identifiable. Today's image shows that lakes in southern Ontario are still frozen, so there is a long way to go.

3) The Canoe Lake ice-out site (formerly known as the Electric Penguin). Enter your prediction in the 2008 ice-out contest! As of today, April 30 is way ahead in the voting.

4) A more hemispheric perspective (nice big words, eh?) can be found at the Journey North ice-out page. The main Journey North site is a very interesting compilation of information on migration patterns and other signs of spring in North America.

Snow sliding off our metal roof has created a bit of a pile.
The view out my back door on March 27. This will be handy for cold beverages after wood splitting later on.

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