Monday, January 5, 2015

Ice Skating Lampert Lake

Here were are, January 5, and the ice skating is amazing on local lakes! Go figure. What a weird winter. No snow in Homer and here we are ice skating! But it took a cold snap in the teens to finally freeze up the lakes.

Yesterday a friend called up and invited us to go ice skating on Lampert Lake. It has been a couple years since I've ice skated since I missed last year's very brief (one week) outdoor skating opportunity, which normally happens in November. The day was brilliantly sunny so I just couldn't pass up the opportunity even though we had company coming later in the day for an overnight stay. It was well worth it, and we ended up making a skating party happen for our company as well.

Lampert Lake frozen over with many locals and their dogs enjoying it

The ice was about as smooth as it's going to get!

Cars parked along Kachemak Drive for Lampert Lake ice skating
It is always a little edgy at first getting on a lake, not knowing how frozen it is or if there are unfrozen spots (Beluga Lake right next to Lampert Lake has some thin spots). So at first I followed other's tracks. The ice didn't look very thick, as evidenced by where the methane bubbles were, but 4 uniform inches is enough to hold people. I got more comfortable as I went, and there were probably 25-30 others out there skating, zipping around with hockey sticks and pucks or with their dogs (Bad side effect:  dog poop on the ice, which luckily I didn't run over!). An hour of laps got a sweat worked up, even with the stiff breeze. It was a fun, social time as I knew many folks out there and we skated and talked.

When our company arrived at 5:00, which was 4 college students from Spain, 1 from Honduras and my nephew from Kenai, we asked if they would like to go ice skating. It's always nice to share a good thing like a beautifully frozen lake! They jumped at the chance. We called up a friend who had a bunch of ice skates we could borrow, found jackets, pants, hats, gloves and neckwarmers for all (it was about 15 degrees with a windchill bringing it down to 0 degrees or so) and headed over to the lake. 

The frozen lake with a sunset glow still on the horizon
(same view as the first picture above)

The sun had already set but there was still a glow on the horizon. In the other direction a full moon was rising. We had enough skates for everyone, and soon they were teetering around or blasting around on the ice, depending on their skill level. One boy exclaimed, "It's so big!" when he first saw the lake. They'd ice skated on a pond in Kenai a couple days before. And at first they were all tentative, just staying nearby. Then they asked how much of the lake they could skate on and when I said, "The whole thing!" they started venturing further. Foresight on my husband's part meant we had hot cocoa for all, so soon they were skating around under a full moon with hot cocoa's warming their hands.

The full moon rising over the horizon opposite the sunset

It was so beautiful and magical and we were glad we were able to make it happen for these kids who are visiting the U.S. on their Christmas vacation. One of the gals was an exchange student here 4 years ago and three of them are her friends, and the gal from Honduras is a friend of my niece who lives in Nicaragua now. Conversations flowed seamlessly between Spanish and English and it was a good time for all of us. Who would have thought we would be out ice skating after the first of the year?! I thought we'd missed the skating season completely this year!

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