The Smart Report: Notes From the Lake

Freedom — December 26, 2005 — When we last talked at the end of October, the water level was at 408.1′ and the ark had grounded. November was a wet month, no rainbow and a couple of times it looked like the ark was going to float again.

I visited the dam near the end of the month and it was wide open. Noise level was not great because water level was almost the same on both sides of the dam. On the north side the flow looked like rapids in a river, not the top of a concrete dam.

Both the State and Federal Government continue to have problems with measuring and reporting conditions. The State has decided to pull their water level equipment for the winter and concentrate on being ready with accurate information in the spring.

Early in December water level fluctuated either side of 407′. That sure took care of the ATV traffic on the dry lake bed. I had an interesting note from one of the lake residents who concluded that we presently have an IN Flow rather than an OUT flow problem, and he is correct.

By December 8th the level was down to 406.8′ and continued to drop an average of 0.2′ per day. On the 17th the level was down to 405.4′ and Broad Bay was ice-covered from shore to shore for the first time this season.

Snow and Ice
Last Friday the north end of the big lake was iced over. We received the first 4″ of plowable snow on the 9th and another 7” on 12/16. Had a snowmobile creep past the boat house on the snow-covered beach area last Saturday. Has been quiet all week. Activity should pick up Friday night, so by Saturday morning we will know where the thin ice is located.

Drove past Crystal Lake near Eaton on Tuesday. Two people out on the ice in area where “Bob Houses” are usually placed.

I visited the dam around noon on Thursday. The driveway and parking area have been plowed so if you are in the area this next week, go there and enjoy the view. Water is flowing through all five open gates on the south. There is a large ice build up on the gates, above the water. Good photo opportunity.

Also walked over to the north side. Water level is a few inches below the 405′ level at top of the concrete, and skin ice is forming out about 20′ on the lake side in front of the dam. Although light rain is predicted for early next week I expect water level will continue to drop to at least the 403.0′ level reached on Saturday, October 8th. This was the lowest point of the early drawdown this past fall.

Around the Area
By the way, frost heaves are starting to show up on local roads in the usual areas. So far they are rumbles. If we stay rain- and thaw-free they may not be bad this year.

Bobby Sue’s Ice Cream store on Rt. 153 in Freedom has been torn down; a new, large slab pored; walls and roof rafters are up. They need a few more days of warm weather to get the roof decking on.

Post-Christmas Thoughts
It was a quiet Christmas on Broad Bay this year. Only one snowmobile on Saturday afternoon.

Temperatures warmed up to above freezing by Friday noon and we had almost an inch of rain Sunday night. Prediction for next 10 days is above freezing most days and some light snow or rain. There is now a 6′ wide band of exposed beach along most of the ice layer. Danforth Pond is now ice-covered from shore to shore.

King Pine tube run and one lift area were operating Friday afternoon. We continue to have several inches of snow over the land areas but traveled areas are down to road surface and gravel. Snow banks along plowed areas will become Jersey Barriers when the weather turns cold in a week or so.

Will talk with you again in the spring unless something interesting happens on the lake in the next three months.

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