Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mysterious Ice At Bear Lake, Idaho

Winter is a beautiful time to photograph Bear Lake in Idaho and Utah.  The lake freezes over only about seven out of ten years despite the very cold winters.  Yesterday Bruce Grayum and I went to one of my favorite locations at Bear Lake State Park on the Idaho end of the lake.
I had trouble understanding what I was seeing when I looked down on the lake from the North Beach jetty.  There were mysterious streaks across speckled gray areas of ice.  I could hear faint, almost musical tones coming from the lake.
I walked down the boat ramp and around the shore, and discovered that the streaks were caused by a thin layer of ice being blown over thicker stationary ice.  The thicker, gray ice had beautiful frost crystals that were being wiped out by the moving thin layer of ice.
The noise I had heard was the windblown thin ice breaking and stacking against the shore.  It was no more than a millimeter thick, so the broken, glass-like ice was very sharp.
I don’t know if this thin ice will be enough to trigger a complete freeze of Bear Lake as long as the wind keeps shifting it around, but this is not what I am used to seeing here.  In previous years there have been blocks of ice like boxcars along the shore.  There always seems to be something new to see at Bear Lake.

I hope you enjoyed these copyrighted photos.  Please do not use them without my permission.