Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yes, the lakes are still frozen

Acoustic music legend John Hartford sang this about the Mississippi River: "it's too thick to navigate, it's too thin to plow." Lakes in Algonquin Park are in a similar state at the moment.  Despite the fantastic weather forecast, don't plan on canoeing in Algonquin Park this weekend. While there is some open water around the edges and few ponds are open, all lakes are shore-to-shore ice.

The good news is that most of the snow is gone, the woods are dry and open, there are NO bugs and it will be a beautiful weekend for exploring Algonquin Park on foot. The day hiking trails and backpacking trails accessible off Hwy 60 give access to some spectacular scenery and the pleasant temperatures will make for glorious walking conditions.

 Don't believe me? Here's a clip from satellite imagery taken March 30. 
Lake Opeongo is just right and up from centre. Lake of Bays is the 
big, mostly ice-covered, lake in the lower left corner.

The satellite image above shows some interesting things. Clearly, all major lakes in Algonquin Park are frozen. Lakes in Haliburton County, well to the south, are still frozen (look at Redstone Lake and Haliburton Lake in the lower right). This image is "true colour," so I assume that the whitish stuff is snow remaining at higher elevations (then again, it could be unmelted frost). Note that the image is not oriented like a map and the "north-south" is roughly diagonal from upper left to lower right. To the left of Lake of Bays, you can see that Fairy, Peninsula and Mary lakes are open and Vernon has a big pan of ice floating around. In my experience, when the big lakes near Huntsville (like Fairy, Peninsula and Vernon) open up, Lake of Bays follows about a week later, Oxtongue Lake goes  three or four days after that and Algonquin Park lakes follow in another week or so. If that pattern holds up this year, ice out in Algonquin Park is at least two weeks away, if not longer (in my humble opinion).

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