Long skates

Tall man in long skates. (Backlit. Sorry! It was SO SUNNY! Lookit that blue sky!) Enlarge the photo and look at the orange sticks under Matt's arm: These are ice picks. He was about to put them around his neck. If the ice fails and you fall through, you jam the picks into the top of the ice for handles to pull yourself out ... comforting, no?

On Sunday afternoon, we went out to the same lake where we paddled a canoe a few months ago.  Only now it’s frozen!

Amusingly enough, the couple we went skating with had the same size feet as we do.  They lent us their long skates:  The boots look like hiking boots almost, and the toes clip in the front of the blade, almost like cross country skis, leaving your heels free.  You push out sideways, and immediately go fast.  The speed — !  It was so fun to glide on them.

The gliding practice helped me when I finally switched to my (most-excellent, new, Canadian) hockey skates.  It was an odd feeling, however, to be gliding past spots I had last seen from the back of a canoe.

The lake stretches something like 16 km, and we have an invitation to skate to the end one day, to Solltuna to look at the castles along the shore. The spaciousness of the lake is … almost intoxicating.  A bit scary too, I suppose.  The holes drilled by the ice fishermen hadn’t filled in quite. Looking down into the slushy cylinder, one of our hosts estimated the ice thickness at about 8 cm.  Snow-plow trucks can go out on the ice when it reaches 12 cm.

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous and sunny, and I felt warm until the sun began to set.  The ice felt fairly smooth in some spots, pocked and lumpy in others.  I fell once when I caught my skate blade toe in a hummock.  No damage, but I was definitely exhausted by the time I fell into bed last night!

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One Response to Long skates

  1. Pingback: Wintergreen | Fourteen Islands

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