Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ice-out on the Nashawannuck.

What a difference a couple days makes. The shot I took from nearly the same spot on Monday showed the pond to be still pretty well iced in, much to the chagrin of those two ducks. Well, I looked out my window yesterday and voila!, no more ice. This shot was taken this morning.

In case I've peaked your curiousity about 'ice-out' dates, here's some data for you, from the U.S. Department of the Interior - US Geological Survey. Check it out. They don't actually track the Nashawannuck Pond. The Pontoosuc Lake is the closest in western MA, not even sure where that is. And it seems the person responsible for writing down the date must have gotten bored or died sometime in 1998 or early 1999 because the data just ends. In any event, in 1998, ice-out on the Pontoosuc Lake was 90, which I think means around April 3rd. So it looks like we're right on target this year, if not a little early, even if it has felt like the endless winter.

Look on the bright side, if you lived on Joe's Pond near Danville, Vermont, you'd be looking at four more weeks of ice. Seems like the U.S. Geological Survey could use itself a Homer Fitts for Pontoosuc Pond. Check out their little contest. There must be a Homer Fitts-like character around here willing to track the 'ice-out' date and time (I can't believe it's that specific!).

In case you're curious how serious ice-out contests are judged, this is Joe's Pond's official declaration of an ice-out:

All that you have to do is to enter a bet on the exact day and time that the ice on the pond melts in the spring sufficiently to sink the 40-pound concrete block. The block is attached to a rope which, when the block falls through the ice, pulls an electrical cord out of a plug on the shore. The cord is connected to an electric clock which stops when its power is cut.

Heck, maybe I'll sponsor an ice-out contest for the Nashawannuck Pond for next year.

Ice cream for the Ice-Out.

Yah, that's it. Now, now I just gotta find a 40 pound concrete block and a Homer Fitts.

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