Thursday, November 13, 2014

A visit to the First Ice Art of the Season exhibition

As you may have heard, the jet stream curved far north around a ridge of good weather and then curved south, followed by the infamous polar vortex ... or “winter” as we call it.  Indian Summer had been soooo beautiful, with highs in the 50s!  Then Winter came screaming in.
“I’M HERE!!!” announced Winter.
It was -22º F, but my new field assistant insisted we do our daily investigation of the river.
Winter's sudden arrival was a shock, and I can’t say I’m feeling all that great about it.  But there are antidotes.  One will be skiing once there’s enough snow.  Another is ice art.  Jack Frost followed close on the heels of Winter, and has been making his beautiful hoarfrost sculptures on the river ice.
Ice ferns, needles and stars (click on images to view).
The river was completely open three days ago.  Now it's mostly frozen over.  There are a few small openings with flowing water, but they won’t last.
A bit of open water.  Wood things in ice are anchored logs – fish habitat.
The frozen surface is covered with a mix of snow and hoarfrost.
What do beavers do in winter when the river freezes?  Hibernate in their lodge?  UPDATE:  Beavers don't hibernate; see note from Nina F in Comments.
Pile of sticks on left is a lodge.  Beavers were busy here earlier this year, what are they doing now?
The cottonwood tree on the left is the one I’m following.
I post about ice art every winter.  We are so lucky to have it ... thanks, Jack!
Jack Frost, from Central Park in Winter by Thomas Nast, 1864.


  1. The ice needles are exquisite. I love the beaver lodge! Beavers don't hibernate, btw. Does the river freeze solid during winter? That would be a very difficult survival environment for them. If there is moving water beneath the ice, they will move about. They need to access their cache of stored branches for winter food.

    1. Thanks, Nina, I was hoping for an answer! No, the river doesn't freeze solid, and opens up now and then as well.

  2. Great hoar frost and ice photos! I always think it looks lovely, but I dislike winter photography (I mean I don't like cold fingers, not that I don't like the look of winter scenes). It would all be so wonderful if it wasn't so cold. ;-)

    1. Thanks, PP! to be honest ... I'm not a big fan at the moment either. It always takes me awhile to "get used to" winter here.

  3. We don't very often have Jack doing such beautiful work, only occasionally do we have what we call a hoar frost which makes the world such a pretty place if only temporarily.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Lyn. I like the ephemeral nature of hoar frost -- seems a little mysterious so it's easier to imagine Jack Frost at work.