Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We spent Thanksgiving in California, electing to see the country with a drive back to the lake here in Indiana. We took the southern route as there was already plenty of snow around Tahoe, and found lots of cold weather in the high desert of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. We got through Williams just ahead of a major snow storm and were patting ourselves on the back when we ran into a major league bout of intestinal flu. Just what a traveler needs. C was hit first, around Nashville, so we put in a couple of days at my sister's place--then we pressed north. I came into it as we drove into a blizzard just outside of Rochester. Oh misery. My niece put us up in her guest house, as I was in no shape for a row to the island.

It was becoming obvious that the lake was icing over, so we crawled out of our sick bed to make the row in high winds and 20 degree weather. Our arrival at the launch point was surreal, as amidst the tumult of the high winds and blowing snow we beheld our group of seven mute swans--as if they'd formed a nice receiving line for us just off the shore side. The juveniles were now resplendent in their new snow white plumage.

We filled the rowboat with two weeks' of groceries and launched across the bitter wind. I would have enjoyed the view more if the plug hadn't popped out of the stern of the row boat half way across. C spotted it as the water gushed in and quickly put her foot on it, as the water was too cold for her hand. Before we arrived at the island the gushing water had been reduced to a solid ice dam and there was no longer any need for a shoe.

The boat was full side to side with provisions and we had quite a dance in the lively waters as we unloaded enough supplies to last us till the lake froze hard.

Tomorrow is the day to test the ice. We will take the kayaks ashore across the newly formed skin of Lake Manitou. We'll be swapping oars for Phillips screwdrivers as our means of propulsion.

I watched the first Bald Eagle of the winter wheeling above the lake this evening--hopefully a good omen.