Winter Canoe Adventure

What is a sunny day in January for, if not an adventure? On one such day a couple months back, I headed out in the Institute’s 14-person Voyageur canoe with some fellow graduate students, seasonal naturalists, and other friends. Our goal: to find ice on the lake.

All of us in the canoe. I’m pretty sure the shadow in front is me.

Well, we found it alright. After paddling for about 20 minutes, we suddenly and without warning found our path blocked by a sheet of ice close to an inch thick. This was soon after we entered Thunder Arm, which turns into Thunder Creek. With approximately 32 glaciers melting into Thunder Creek, it is the most glaciated spot in North Cascades National Park.
After playing around and enjoying the bright and shiny day, we paddled back. Cold but happy.

Looking at Davis Peak from behind the trees on Deer Island
Sunshine over Colonial Peak
Finding the lake covered in a sheet of ice! And check out the frozen waterfalls too! (How cool is that?!)
Pushing on the ice with canoe paddles to see if it was weak enough to break into
The ice was about an inch thick here!
Hoar frost on a log in the lake
Being scientists, we decided to experiment with throwing chunks of ice onto the ice sheet. They slid quite a long ways before stopping.

Above four pictures: The process of hauling the canoe out of the water and replacing it on the dock—its winter home
Having some fun…
The late afternoon sun over Colonial and Pyramid Peaks
It’s always good to end the day with hot chocolate!
Leading photo: Looking down at the Voyageur canoe from atop Deer Island in Diablo Lake. All photos by Ryan Weisberg.

Ryan Weisberg is a graduate student in their third quarter of North Cascades Institute and Western Washington University’s M.Ed. program. Ryan grew up here in Washington, exploring the natural areas around Bellingham and in the Cascades. Ryan is the Chattermarks editor this year during their residency at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

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