Monday, November 12, 2018

Ice Skating at Stella Lake

 My friend Jenny and I had been watching the weather carefully. It hadn't snowed in awhile, and the temperatures were getting colder and colder. The Wheeler Peak Snotel site showed night temps in the teens. That meant it was time to do some high elevation ice skating! Jenny had discovered this last year when we had another dry winter, and it was amazingly fun. This time we combined forces on November 10 to ice skate at Stella Lake in Great Basin National Park.

The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive was open up to the Summit Trailhead. The trail was so inviting and had very little snow.

We weren't sure what the lake would be like. Last year the ice was only thick enough on the eastern lobe and we had open water on most of the lake. But this year, when we got our first view of Stella Lake, our jaws dropped. It was totally frozen! We gingerly stepped out on the ice to test it. It seemed good.

We found that the ice was good on most of the lake. The place it cracked the most was the cove where we had skated last winter. Most of the ice was quite smooth, with some bumpy spots. And the surrounding scenery? Marvelous.

Jenny was all smiles and quick to get out on the ice. We could see right through some of the ice to the bottom. It wasn't deeper than two feet anywhere in the lake.

This strange looking item is a buoy covered with a dark sock. Attached to it is a line with dataloggers to measure the water (ice) temperature at different depths. 

 Last year I had bought adjustable ice skates for Desert Boy and Desert Girl. That turned out to be a good choice, as both of them had fast-growing feet this last year. Desert Boy ended up not going, but his skates fit Jenny's kids, one the smallest size and the other the largest size. Hurray for adjustable skates!

Jenny is better than me at getting selfies, so thanks to her I'm in a photo! Look at that beautiful ice!

In some places there were really cool bubbles trapped in the ice.

 What!? Another photo of me in the same post!? This time with Desert Girl, who had gotten so warm that she had taken her coat off.
 Desert Girl was so happy.

She and Ava skated and skated.

Meanwhile Jenny and I took lots of photos.

We had the artistic segment.

The speed skating segment.

And even a little ice hockey.

Ice dancing.

Jenny challenged herself to do some artistic movements, which made me try them too. They are harder than they look! 

These girls were so full of energy.

I ended up taking approximately a zillion photos. Who could resist with such a beautiful backdrop?

Finally, the lake started being cast in shadow. Actually the southern end was shaded just after one in the afternoon. Yikes, so early! On the hike back, we took the opportunity to add in a little sledding.
What a great opportunity. If you're interested, keep an eye on the weather. The ice should be good, but if there's any precip, the road will close.

1 comment:

Upriverdavid said...

Swell pictures on a cold day....I usually put on 10 layers, easy to take off, rather than wishing I had more..

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