Today Handsome Chef Boyfriend and I braved a very windy day to venture out onto the frozen lake where I live. Since the temperatures have steadily climbed above zero for the last couple of days, more and more people have been seen on the ice engaged in various winter sports. On our way out of the neighborhood today for my morning of ballet class in White River Junction, we noticed the southern end of the lake teeming with activity. We decided we had to check it out later.
Once home we grabbed our skates and headed out to the trail, HCB in his hockey skates, and I in my figures. I was unsteady on my feet for a while. This image shows the path looking south; we had about a 1.5-mile stretch to reach the southern end of the lake. I had a death grip on his hand most of the way down, but with a wicked strong tail wind, we did not have to make much effort to really fly–in fact, a couple of times we were not skating at all, but were whipped along by the wind alone (he found this thrilling, I found it terrifying).
I tried to get a couple of images that show just how thick the ice is; HCB estimated about eight inches near where we launched; it was thinner elsewhere, but still around four or five inches. In these pictures the greyish area below the scored cracks actually shows the ice in profile. Pretty dang thick.
At the southern end of the lake we found a pond hockey tournament; HCB counted around fifteen or so rinks that had been marked off and prepared for games, and there were quite a few in progress:
And for those of my friends who have questioned the existence of elusive Handsome Chef Boyfriend, here he is warming his hands at the tournament:
My fingers and toes were pretty frozen as we started our trip back up the trail home. We had been concerned about what would now be a strong head wind, but thankfully the wind had shifted a bit and was mainly coming at us sideways from the west. I was working hard to push and started getting my skating legs back sometime in the last mile or so. I stopped to take more photos and HCB–who is a hot shot hockey player–skated a few tight circles and then zoomed off ahead of me:
We had to walk-skate through crusty snow back to the shore. The second I congratulated myself for staying upright all afternoon, I hit the deck within about five feet of dry land; much hilarity ensued.
I am the kind of exhausted I have not been in a while–the kind you get when you are working hard physically, and also working hard to just stay warm. It is really an exquisite feeling. And in spite of the fact that I was mainly focused on not wiping out, I still enjoyed the stunning beauty of this place, and of seeing everyone there–the skaters, who were all ages but pretty universally accomplished, the cross-country skiiers, the ice fishermen, the hockey players, and the dogs, who bounded joyously across snow and ice with huge, goofy grins.
Until I am a bit more sure of myself on my skates, though, it will be a while before I am willing and able to manage Clarence at the end of a leash that is attached to me.
To be continued….