Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ice Skating above 10,000 Feet

 My friend Jenny told me that Stella Lake was frozen and that they had gone ice skating on it. What!? Stella Lake is above 10,000 feet in Great Basin National Park. Usually the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed in mid-October, but because of the lack of precipitation, it was still open in mid-November.

So Desert Girl and I headed up there Sunday morning, leaving at 7 a.m. to try to get there when it was coldest. When we arrived, we found that there was open water on part of Stella Lake. Uh, oh.

Fortunately the little cove on the east side was frozen over with about two-inch thick ice. So we put on our skates and gingerly stepped out on the ice.

Desert Girl was absolutely delighted. She fell in love ice skating last winter, and we even bought some skates for her (fortunately they adjust to four different sizes, so they'll last more than one season). She hadn't quite found her rhythm at Fire and Ice last January, but she sure wanted to try again!

She had such a good attitude and was so fun to be with!

The bubbles in the ice were fascinating.

Desert Girl did not want to stop. I had to take a break, but she kept going.

The ice was so beautiful, nice and smooth.

I climbed up the bank to get more of an overview of the lake. You can see the cove where we were. It was at most one foot deep under the ice.

We then went to Teresa Lake and had a great time skating there, but my phone battery crashed in the cold and I couldn't take any photos. Maybe that was a good thing, because it made me want to go back! The weather cooperated, so after school on Wednesday, Desert Girl and I headed back up the mountain.

We hiked to Teresa Lake, arriving about four p.m. Desert Girl chatted on the hike there, she was so thrilled to be skating again, and the hike went very fast.

I was excited when we got to the lake, because the clouds were turning colors and the ice still seemed thick enough. (I was a little worried because it was late in the day and temps had been above freezing.)

Desert Girl kept calling it Teresa Pond because it was so small. A lot of the water evaporates, and the lake shrinks during the summer. This summer it stayed big longer than usual, but it still got small in the fall.

Desert Girl called me over to look at a peanut in the ice. This is what she pointed out.

The ice was mostly smooth, although there were a couple interesting depressions in it. People had thrown rocks on the ice, and they had frozen in just enough that we couldn't move them. So we had some obstacles to avoid.

The clouds kept moving fast, the light kept changing, and I felt like I was in a magical world. Desert Girl improved her skating quite a bit.

 We found some evidence of higher lake levels on the south shore.

More fun patterns.

 Finally we were at the last light. We skated over to the edge, thanking God for such a marvelous place and experience. We had a pleasant twenty-minute dark hike back to the vehicle. The memories will last much, much longer!

I don't know if we'll ever have the opportunity to skate on these lakes again, as usually we have snow. But if the weather works out, we will surely be back, because this is an amazing place to go ice skating.

2 comments:

David Evans said...

LIKE!..
Does the hubby always have a grumpy look..or does he smile now and then?

Marilyn said...

Wow, those pictures are gorgeous! I love the sky reflected in the ice! Looks so fun!

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