4.5 miles of Sheer Skating Pleasure!
When the snow's not so great for cross-country skiing, I often turn to ice skating for outdoor exercise and fun. So it is this year with the ice that surrounds us here in the Upper Valley. A warm spell has made the snow as crusty as boilerplate, but it has made the ponds and lakes shine with beautiful stretches of unspoiled ice.
My dog trying to keep up on an alluring expanse of Lake Morey's pristine skating trail.
One thing I think of while out there skating is that movie Jaws. You know, the one with the great white shark. Each time the ice shifts below me with a rumble of baritone thunder, I can't help but remember how I felt during my first plunge into a lake after seeing Jaws. Of course there was no reason to worry about a shark, but my heart was in my throat as I worried about the remote possibility of a shark beneath me in the fresh waters of Lake Winnipesauke. So it is with skating on Lake Morey. It's fun, fast, and phenomenal these days, but when the ice shifts in its deep "boom-boom" staccato below me, it gets me up on my toes and makes my heart race.
What if? I imagine the worst until I look to my right to see three pickup trucks driving across the center of the Lake.
With car and trucks out there, the ice is plenty safe. It's the notion of nature that is so huge that makes me feel small.
It's not likely I'll ever fall through, but the fear of feeling so small in this great, big world, makes me feel humble in the face of nature. It's not a bad thing, and it adds to the mystique of doing anything out doors in nature. In fact, it's why I live in the Upper Valley—because nature abounds, and it helps me understand my place on this planet. Hmmm, perhaps we should require all our politicians to get out and ice skate on Lake Morey, so they can understand there are far greater things than their own private interests, or towns or districts, states or the country. Perhaps we should ask them to don their blades at the end of the season, as the ice fishing houses are being pulled. That would offer quite the "skating on thin ice" experience in humility. It might be a helpful exercise for them to feel the humbling exhilaration of fear in the face of something much larger than they, yet something that binds all of us together as part of humanity.
Still, Lake Morey, right now, offers some of the best skating for anyone who'd like to get out and feel the next best thing to flying. On Thursday, I saw two Zambonis preparing the ice for a pond hockey tournament that was played this past Friday and Saturday. The ice, all 4.5 miles of skating trail long, was in pristine condition for skating. It's the longest skating trail in the Unites States, and it's right here in our backyard!
Not one, but two, Zambonis made the ice ready for this past weekend's pond hockey tournament.
Once again, on Saturday, I made my way to the Lake to do a couple of laps and I saw well over 100 skaters out on the ice. And this was in addition to the pond hockey players and the ice fisherman. It was a veritable community gathering place where things were really alive in the Upper Valley. I saw a host of friends and neighbors, all out for a skate on a lovely day.
The view on Saturday. More skaters than I could readily count. Everyone seemed to be having fun. All ages, all styles of skates including hockey, figure, and nordic skates. Plus some inventive rigs to help little ones learn to skate. The Lake Morey Inn is in the background.
Here, below, are more photos for you to see what I did on Thursday and Saturday. Don't forget to feel the "boom-boom" of the ice shifting below you as you view these pictures. It opens up a whole new energy, far beyond what you'll ever experience on an indoor rink. Hope to see you out there on the natural ice!
Ice fishing abounds, and the fishermen respect the skating trail. Not a single hole to be found on the trail, but plenty of holes (and bob houses) within the vast expanse of the trail, and around its fringes.
The pond hockey tourney in full swing, with nine rinks in action!
This family had an inventive rig to help their little one learn to skate. It was a frame built of two-by-fours, hitched to the father with a rope who towed it with his son hanging on, while pushing a smaller child in a baby jogger. Talk about doing double duty!
The Lake Morey Resort is where you'll find the skating trail. Here's a photo (not my best) of the front of the Resort that faces the golf course. It's seconds off the Fairlee exit of Interstate 91.
Dave Celone of Lyme, NH and Post Mills, VT writes for Poetic Licence. Dave oversees the Long River Gallery & Gifts artist collective in White River Junction, VT. To follow Poetic Licence posts, please Click Here to sign up to receive an email each time Dave publishes a new piece.