Lake Champlain: What a difference 15 hours can make

When the sun came up over Lake Champlain yesterday, there was a solid layer of ice from my house to the island about a mile off shore.  This time of year, we watch the lake with great interest because if it freezes the right way — with no ripples or snow or big chunks of ice sticking up — then our backyard is suddenly many, many acres larger.  When the ice gets thick enough, we love skating and cross country skiing out on the lake. 

And so we watch.  And wait.  But there are some false starts.  Often, the lake freezes and then breaks up again a number of times before it stays frozen.

When I left for school yesterday, I had a feeling it would probably be one of those "not-really" days.  Sure enough, when I got home, the lake was striped with dark cracks, with water seeping up into the new snow.

We went outside for a bit and listened.  The lake was chirping as the wind picked up and the bigger pieces fractured.  Little by little, tiny waves bit away at the ice.

We listened and watched until it got too dark and too cold, then went in for dinner. And this morning…

Open water. And we start all over again.

36 Replies on “Lake Champlain: What a difference 15 hours can make

  1. Great post

    Great post, loved the pictures. You are lucky to be so close to the lake, it must be beautiful this time of year. We are in central VT and can see the mountains of Killington from our porch. Breathtaking views also but of a different kind.



  2. beautiful memories

    Thank-you for sharing. I miss the north country and loved your photos and story.

  3. Love the pictures of the cracks and the breaking up! We live near a lake, but not right on it, so I watch the progress of the freezing with interest every time we drive by. I haven’t gotten to see the details like this, though!

  4. I love these posts! Having never lived on a lake (or anywhere near one, really), I think it’s fascinating the types of nature you’re experiencing. Thanks so much for sharing this — and have a great time tomorrow at ALA — I’ll be thinking of you with all the other writers 🙂

  5. It makes chirping sounds (like crickets, actually) when the ice is relatively thin, as it was this week. When thick ice settles or breaks up, it makes tympani sounds.

  6. Yes, my daughter was asking what that thin layer of ice might hold & we decided that it wasn’t thick enough to hold either of us, but her pet rats might have been okay out there.