The forecast was predicting warmer temperatures so I knew my opportunities to skate were dwindling. On Wednesday morning, therefore, I decided to traverse the entire lake around the perimeter. The trip lasted 54 minutes, including several stops for a few snapshots, travelling 5.09 miles or 8.2 kilometres.
Naturally, I completed the journey with hockey stick in hand, pushing the puck ahead, catching up to shove it further along the shore. I was proud of the accomplishment and figured it would be my last chance to don the blades.
The warming air throughout the day created pools of water in the lower areas. The thermometer only dropped to marginally below freezing overnight before bouncing back to register plus seven on Thursday. The result was a very soft ice surface, still walkable but not suitable for skating. I figured the adventure around the lake was my last and I was ready to pack the skates away.
However, Environment Canada was calling for another reversal of warm to cold, dropping down to as low as minus 12; plus, the night sky foreshadowed the promise of a beautiful day. Maybe…..
The ice appears solid this morning. Downing two cups of coffee, rustling up some breakfast, playing the bonus word for Jumble and the daily Wordsearch and I am ready. I woke up to minus 10; it is now minus 7 so no more time to waste. Onto the bench, on with the skates and back on the ice.
Entrails of ice dust marks my first path across the bay, eventually disappearing amongst the crisscross mix of trails back and forth and around. A slight breeze from the north whistles past my ears as I skate into it head on, only to be chased back from whence I came. Around and around, staying close to home, weaving with the puck, cutting in here, circling forward and backward, breathing heavier, heart pounding to build up those FitBit zone minutes. The ice resembles monochrome white stained glass, decorating every corner of the bay. A sudden crack spawns another new pattern, creating an even more elaborate design. Ice meets metal.
Tired, I glide to a standstill and stand surveying the open space before me. Silence. No cars in the distance, no jets high overhead, no people around, just the voices of the lake. I imagine a male choral choir, dominated by the bass and baritone, rumbling beneath the surface, first to the left then from a distance, the next one closer, in a continuous symphony of sounds. The ice is singing farewell.
The temperature rose four degrees in my hour and a quarter of 11.3 circular kilometres, with the forecast predicting double digit plus days accompanied by wide blue clear skies for the next week. Maybe another morning skate is in the offing but even without, I will have finished the season fully contented, ready to welcome the spring.