Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Pretty close to spring, anyway.

True, it did snow -- just flurries -- during the dinner hour today, but for a while we had some pretty darned nice, I dare say even warm weather.

And yesterday we had sunshine and temps in the sixties! The snow's just about gone from every lawn and pavement.

As the warm temps hung in for the second day in a row, the water on Lake Mendota began to open up. Ducks enjoyed this pool along the shore near the campus and ... are those guys ice fishing in the distance?

I would've gone out there to see what they were catching, if it weren't for the fact that I didn't feel like going for a polar plunge today.

From what I heard, the ice was six to eight inches thick -- probably enough to safely support me, but from what I could see, it was also shot through with deep cracks and covered in water.

In the interest of staying dry, I stayed ashore.

No Diving

Look at all those damn rocks.

And shallow rocks, at that.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

On the Ice I

The weather was so sunny and warm that I could hardly wait to peel out of my pyjamas and take a walk.

There's a park at the end of Frostwoods Avenue that fronts on Lake Monona. I could see a few people on the ice fishing.

I haven't been fishing in years, and the last time I was ice fishing I wasn't any taller than my dad's knees, but there's a weird, almost irresistable attraction to walking across a frozen lake. The thought crossed my mind a couple weeks ago, when the temps were below freezing and I felt confident that the ice was safe. With the sun beating down and a warm wind blowing today, I wasn't so confident, but if I went sploot through the ice, maybe one of the fishermen would see me disappear and call the EMTs.

So I took a little walk across Lake Monona ...

On the Ice II

Ice fishing on Lake Monona is not going to last many more days past this weekend as temps climb into the fifties and the insulating layer of snow melts off.

In my short thirty-minute walk across the ice, I watched fishermen scoot their shelters from hole to hole, leaving a trail of shavings behind them.

On the Ice III

Contrails accented the wide, blue sky over the bay as I headed back toward the south shore.

On the Ice IV

I came ashore in a park along the bicycle trail that runs from Bridge Road to John Nolan Drive, through a narrow sliver of the city of Monona that hugs the south shoreline of the lake. The ice there was thin, as I could see from a hole somebody had chopped in the ice about ten yards from shore (for a cold plunge?), but I took the chance anyway, following a pair of tracks somebody had made earlier in the morning, and didn't get wet.