For a few years we've had the family tradition of driving to the summit of the pass near our place sometime in November to greet winter and invite him home. Today seemed to be the day. So we donned our snow gear and headed out.
As we drove the fifteen minutes up to the summit we were sad to see that despite the cold temperatures, there's been little snow at higher elevations so far this year. There was certainly some, but not great mounds of the stuff. But as we pulled off beside Fish Lake at the summit, we saw something even more exciting than snow. In the cold weather the lake had become deeply frozen, and the lack of snowfall had kept the surface pristine and glassy.
Lake-skating is a rarity where we live. The big lakes are so deep that they don't freeze, even in minus-twenty temperatures. The smaller, shallower lakes tend to be tucked in little mountain saddles where they get lots of snow and none of the cleansing winds that keep the ice uncovered. We've been lake-skating only a handful of times since moving here in 1994. A glassy frozen lake is a special occurrence indeed, one that demands you drop everything and grab your skates. And so when we saw Fish Lake frozen, we did a U-turn and zipped back home to grab our skates.
Everyone was a bit wobbly at first since last year was a non-skating year, but soon the kids were zipping around, chasing each other, hitching rides and having a blast.
Fiona, who was newly 3 the last time we were at a rink, was pretty much a beginner today. She did pretty well, and had fun. I think she's going to pick it up quickly. She's got a great attitude and is very motivated. This winter we'll do our best to put in our backyard rink. We won't start that for another couple of weeks at least, but we're thrilled to have the chance. The last couple of years we were prevented from backyard skating by the abominable dog. Now that she's been re-homed, we're looking forward to having our own little ice surface at home by the New Year.
Still, for as long as it lasts, this is the type of skating we'll be doing. How can you beat this beauty and freedom?