This part of Maine has had some notoriety of recent. First, Mt. Abram was written up by the New York Times as part of a large article they ran on Maine alpine skiing. They focused on Mt. Abram's “car-load special” on Fridays. $75 for a car load of folks and all need to be belted in place. You cannot arrive in a bus, but if you have a seven-person sport utility vehicle, that is some deal.
Second, Bethel resident Richard Blanco was selected to compose and read an original poem at President Obama's inauguration Jan. 21.
Wow. Congratulations, Richard! Local poetry fans are hoping you might give a local poetry reading sometime. Of course, we understand that the President of the United States gets first dibs.
Our new store is planning to open Jan. 29. The Local Hub owners, formerly the Round Pond Corner Store and before that Bob's Corner, say they will be opening that date, ready or not. Check them out on their Facebook page (The Local Hub). Even better, stop in on the 29th, let them know how glad we are to have them here, and make a purchase.
January thaw took a bite out of our snow cover like it does every year. Back to the deep freeze. Mother Nature, please send us some more snow.
Ice fishing season began the first of the month, and there has been a scattering of folks on the ponds trying their luck recently. The usual catches are yellow perch, pickerel, and a couple folks have their favorite spot to get brook trout.
Last week I asked an ice fisherman on Twitchell Pond how thick the ice was, and he said close to a foot where he had augered a hole. It did not mean that thickness applied to the rest of the pond or any other pond. Neighboring South Pond had a patch of open water as recently as two weeks ago.
The Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research Lab in New Hampshire has good information to help judge ice safety. Here is a brief summary for everyone who uses the ice-covered ponds.
1) New ice is generally much stronger than old ice. Ice from direct freezing of lake water will be stronger than ice formed from snow melt, refrozen ice or ice made by water bubbling up through cracks and freezing on the surface.
2) Ice rarely freezes or thaws at an equal and uniform rate across a body of water. It can be a foot thick in one spot and only an inch thick a few feet away.
3) A layer of snow insulates ice, slowing down the ice forming process. In addition, the weight of snow can reduce the amount of additional weight the ice can bear.
4) Ice near shore is weaker, not stronger, than ice farther out.
5) River ice is roughly 15 percent weaker than ice on lakes, and straight, smooth flowing stretches are safer than river bends.
6) Ice can weaken because of water level fluctuations and the actions of birds and fish. As an example, schools of carp create thin ice spots or even open water by congregating in one location while circulating the water with their fins. (Who would have thought?)
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