Saturday, January 27, 2007

How thick would the ice have to be in order for you to drive a car across China Lake?

Who's asking: Anna Bragdon, China, ME

Anna expected that my answer to this question would be that I would never drive a car across China Lake. That's true, as far as driving the car myself goes; I personally would not drive on ice voluntarily, under any circumstances.

But I'd be willing to ride along with someone else, as long as I thought the driver knew what he or she was doing, and as long as the ice on the lake was two feet thick.

The "two feet thick" requirement doesn't come from thin air; it's just over twice the thickness the Maine Ice Anglers association says is safe to drive a 7-8 ton truck on. Where ice is concerned, I believe in an excess of caution.

For the more reckless among you, the Ice Anglers say it's safe to drive a single-passenger automobile on ice that is at least seven inches thick. Keep in mind that the thickness of ice on a body of water can vary radically within a small area; it might be seven inches thick in one spot, but it's only four inches thick a few feet away. Don't be an idiot. Or rather, go right ahead, and take yourself out of the gene pool.

Smelt shacks are out on the Kennebec, but I don't think I'd go this weekend. The weekend of February 17-18 is open fishing, when people without a license can go. A friend has promised to take me if the weather holds, so that might be the best time for me to try it. This same "friend" tells me it's an ice-fishing tradition to bite the head off one's first catch, but I suspect this is a joke. It had better be a joke.


Linda Brown said...

Um, with your history of falling on ice while walking or skating, I'd rather not see you in a car on ice.

And, by the way, in re: biting the head off your first catch... wanna go snipe-hunting? That's an old Missouri Ozarks tradition; if you're into exploring traditions, I have a family full of folks who'd love to teach you.


AnswerGirl said...

It is true that ice is not my friend. I've wiped out twice in the past week, but managed not to hit my head either time, so that's progress.

Yeah, I know all about you snipe-hunters... nice try!

mcclements said...

Absolutely positively not a joke. At least you don't have to swallow it...
You don't need a licence to go smelting in Gardiner as it's tidal water.
My personal preference is for at least a foot of ice beneath a truck. Even then, the pressure wave is an unsettling experience.

Lefty said...

I have actually fallen through the ice while ice fishing. (Don't worry; I didn't die.)

And, alas, I have never bitten the head off of any fish.