I went on a long walk in the middle of the day today. I didn’t go far, but I took my time. I was able to do so as I’d gotten to work early and planned on staying late to cover for a coworker who is out this week. I like that I can flex my time when I need too.
I headed down to Tanana lakes around 10:30 am. Parking I wandered out to the banks of the Tanana before heading into the woods along a lake.
The Tanana is a large enough river that although most bodies of water now have a layer of ice on them, it is still open with only chunks of free floating ice and a rim of ice along it’s banks. It will probably remain ice free for some time and not be thick enough to travel on till after Christmas.
Heading back into the woods I followed a short trail that skirts the edge of one of the lakes. Rather than stay on the trail, I walked the frozen swampy area between the lake and the trail.
The bubble formations today were not as spectacular as on the pond by the community gardens, but I found a lot more vegetation embedded in the ice I was walking on today.
For the last week I have been searching for insects that were trapped as the ice froze. So far I’ve been unsuccessful, but I did find some really amazing leaves frozen completely in, or just at the surface.
I also found a few areas where very tiny ice crystals were growing. The temperature today was in the mid 20’s which is the upper limit for ice crystal formation.
I’m hoping it will drop a bit more and stabilize in the teens. If it can stay constantly below freezing for several weeks we should get some good crystals to starting to grow.
For the last two weeks it’s been mostly below freezing. The ice on the lakes and ponds is thickening up and while I still don’t trust it, I do feel comfortable on the smaller swampy areas like I was on today. I’m still being very careful, but the ice today was at least 6 inches thick in most areas where I was walking.