Reflections on Ice on Water

by

From New Zealand to Utah, From Alaska to New Hampshire – Ice bergs to Honeycombs
It’s called calving, when a glacier’s edge dramatically breaks off. Many cruise ships take the tour along Alaska’s shores. From Seward and other harbors along the coast, one can sign on for a daily round-trip  to get up close views.

Perito Mereno Glacier, Argentina

Perito Mereno Glacier, Argentina

The dramatic Perito Mereno Glacier in Argentina’s Southern windswept Los Glaciares National Park has many visitors.and is possibly the most famous rivers of ice in the world because. It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981.  Amanda and I stopped at Tasman Lake in New Zealand’s Mt. Cook National Park to see the floating ice bergs in the grey-green water thick with rock flower. We hiked up to the top of an old terminal moraine and saw the bergs as the sun was setting.

White Pine Lake, Utah

White Pine Lake, Utah

More than a few times,  I’ve jumped into such frigid waters, after a run or back country mountain sleep, just to wake me up.  While at University of Utah,  when I was still learning about the mountains, I did an overnight up White Pine Canyon in the late fall and jumped into White Pine Lake near Snowbird. A few minutes later, it had a skim of ice on it. That’s chilly, but there were no icebergs or calving going on, just shivering.

Lake Tasman, Mt. Cook

Lake Tasman, Mt. Cook

The Tasman Glacier regularly claves ice bergs but the evening we were there it was calm and each iceberg gave us a show of *“petreflections” of various sizes and patterns.

When the ice goes out in Lake Sunapee, NH, the reader may be curious to know that there usually aren’t big ice bergs.  Then again, I didn’t grow up on the  west side of the lake, where the whole lot piles up on a windy afternoon leaving dramatic piles of ice, as if the town dump truck and just deposited its backlog for the winter.  On the east side of the lake, we observe the ice gradually thinning from the spring melt, and as it thins, darkens to almost a black. It turn into “honeycomb ice” we call it, where its transformed from the meter-thick solid sheet that runs the whole lake, to fragile, loosely held together elongated splinters that fall apart when scooped up in your hand.  Those of us that grew us as kids along the shore of a lake will know what I mean. Daily we watch the progression.

Petroflections Galore

*Petreflections Galore

Official Ice Out day is declared when Artie Osborne can take his boat from the north tip at George’s Mills to Newbury, some 10-13 miles distant without obstruction.  To my knowledge, he still makes the trip, and in the process, closes the informal town bets for the season.  Go swim in an ice-berg filled lake sometime. It’s the right thing to do.
Author’s Note: Also see my earlier entry on largest iceberg breaks off of Tasman Glacier in 100 years.
*Petreflections: A term coined by Kathy Lowe. See her link above.

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