Solid Water


Our bodies consist of two-thirds of this amazing substance.  Long distance runners need to keep replenishing it for optimum performance.  And 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with this liquid.  The substance I am talking about is none other than H20, or plain old water.  Interesting enough, only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh water AND 2% of that is tied up in glaciers and polar ice caps.

Waterfront trail where I sometimes go running. Though by the beginning of February the lake did have ice, it was still not thick enough to walk on.

Waterfront trail where I sometimes go running. Though by the beginning of February the lake did have ice, it was still not thick enough to walk on.  It has been a milder winter.

As the temperature drops below freezing in the Canadian winter a fascinating transformation takes place.  This liquid we call water becomes suspended into a solid form that we call ice.  There are so many uses for this solid water that goes far beyond an ice cube in a drink.

Now these are what you call ice cubes Canadian style. :) Actually a toy is frozen inside and the cubes were given away to the kids at a local ice festival.

Now these are what you call ice cubes Canadian style. 🙂 Actually a toy is frozen inside and the cubes were given away to the kids at a local ice festival.  🙂

A local city called Barrie had a winter-fest and ice festival last weekend.  Always so amazing to see the artistic creations that can be sculptured out of a rock hard solid block of frozen water.  I have so much admiration for the patience and skill that goes into making an ice sculpture.  Unlike other sculptures made out of marble or granite, when the temperature rises for a period off time above freezing, these masterpieces will disappear.

Taken a week ago at the Barrie Icefest 20216, it is hard to believe these exquisite, stunning sculptures are carved out of solid block of frozen water.

Taken a week ago at the Barrie Icefest 2016, it is hard to believe these exquisite, stunning sculptures are carved out of solid block of frozen water.

One of the things winter enthusiasts look forward to is the freezing over of the lakes.  This has been an unusually mild winter where I live, and the lakes nearby have taken much longer than normal to freeze.  Despite having ice by the beginning of February, people were being warned to stay off.  The recommendation is a minimum of 4 inches or 10 centimetres of new clear hard ice for a person to safely walk on it.

Image source.

Image source.

Once the ice does become thick enough ice fisherman auger holes through the ice, and drop a line down each hole.  Snowmobilers enjoy the wide open spaces of a frozen lake for travelling.  As the ice gets thick enough, you can even drive a car on the ice.  As long as there is not too much snow, instead of driving around a lake to get somewhere, just drive across.  The vehicles get on and off the lake at the boat ramps.

Large semi-truck on the ice roads in Northern Canada. Image source.

Large semi-truck on the ice roads in Northern Canada. Image source.

Further north in Canada the frozen lakes are essential to transport much needed supplies to isolated communities.  The transport trucks will drive on what is known as ice roads.  An excellent website named “Journey On The Ice Roads” mentions that a minimum ice thickness of 1 metre (or 41″-42″) is required to support the large semi trucks that transport fuel and supplies.

Skating is such a wonderful family activity. Love watching the young children learning to skate. Picture taken a community Family day skate. Photo by Springwater Township Deputy Mayor Don Allen.

Skating is such a wonderful family activity. Love watching the young children learning to skate. Picture taken is of a dear neighbour family at a community Family Day skate. Photo by Springwater Township Deputy Mayor Don Allen.

Madalyn, a young star from my village as goalie (the same position I used to play) :)

A young star from my church as goalie (the same position I used to play) 🙂

 

With much more opportunity for girls to play hockey nowadays, women's hockey has blossomed which is exciting to see. Picture of the Canada's National Women's team in action. Image source

With much more opportunity for girls to play hockey nowadays, women’s hockey has blossomed which is exciting to see. Picture of the Canada’s National Women’s team in action. Image source

Besides transportation and ice fishing, solid water provides recreation opportunities.  Skating is a wonderful winter pastime, and a great form of exercise.  It can be done in indoor arenas, outdoor skating rinks, or when the ice is thick enough and safe on any frozen lake, river or pond.  Whether it is Canada’s fast paced national sport of ice hockey, the dazzling spinning and jumping of figure skating or just lacing up for recreation and exercise, ice skating is very popular in Canada.

Image source "Ice Climbing in Ontario"

Image source “Ice Climbing in Ontario

Probably the most “extreme” type of solid water sports is ice climbing.  I had the opportunity to experience this for several days before I was married 34 years ago.  Where I live in Central Ontario there are very limited opportunities that are within a day’s drive.  I loved it when I did ice climb, and would still love to do it again.

Image Source.

Image Source.

As a runner who still tries to keep up some training in the Canadian winter, I try to choose my routes carefully and use extreme caution while running on snow and ice for fear of slipping and falling and causing injury.  Conditions can change within minutes.  On a sunny winter day, the sun will melt snow on black pavement. But if the sun goes behind some clouds, that water from the snowmelt will re-freeze into an almost invisible sheet of thin ice called “Black Ice”.  It is extremely slippery.

The hazards of wind chill. Image source.

The hazards of wind chill. Temperatures are in Celsius. Image source.

Whether it is skating, running, ice climbing or even attending an ice festival, it is imperative that we dress for the conditions.  Because our bodies are made up of two-thirds water, underdressed and/or exposed parts will freeze if exposed to the conditions long enough.  The hazard comes not when we are participating in the brisk activity but when we stop.  In the Canadian winter there are 2 temperatures we pay attention to before we venture outdoors.  The 1st is the actual temperature and the 2nd is the wind chill (or what it feels like).  If a person dresses for the actual temperature, but it is very windy that person could be cold and be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia.

Temperature shortly after 7 am this morning.

Temperature shortly after 7 am this morning.  With a wind chill of -41, using the chart above on the precious picture the risk of frostbite is high.  It would only take 5-10 minutes of exposed skin to experience frostbite for someone inactive in these temperatures.

 

I feel very fortunate to be able to be able to live in an area of the world where we have 4 distinct seasons.  That solid water we call ice is an amazing substance, sometimes very beautiful, and sometimes very dangerous, but we make the most of it.

Can anyone guess what this is in the picture????? :)

Can anyone guess what this picture is of????? 🙂

 

Always LOVE the international feel to blogging.  How about yourself?  How much exposure to ice have you had where you are?  Thanks for reading!  🙂

~Carl~

 

It is only cold when you are standing still, this photo was immediately following a 1 hour, 10+ k run this weekend. The temperature was -23C and a wind chill of -31C. I started with my face completely covered with the scarf. As I warmed up I pulled it away from my face to prevent overheating. You will notice with the cold temperatures, the sweat had wicked to the surface of my touque. When it hits the cold air, it immediately turns to ice.

It is only cold when you are standing still, this photo was immediately following a 1 hour, 10+ kilometer run this weekend. The temperature was -23C and a wind chill of -31C. I started with my face completely covered with the scarf. As I warmed up I pulled it away from my face, as well as unbuttoning my top coat snap to to prevent overheating. You will notice with the cold temperatures, the sweat had wicked to the surface of my touque. When it hit the cold air, it then turned to ice.

 

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56 comments

  1. really enjoyed this post – it has so much form personal to humor to the ice thickness info – very nice – but I feel so cold now……. brrrrrr

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha…I always find that so fascinating. Even put on a extra sweater myself as I put this post together. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment.

      Have a wonderful rest of the week Yvette! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

      • Thanks Carl – and how cool that you have done ice climbing – scaling a rock is hard enough – but add the ice and cold factor and yikes! cool idea for the toys in a block of ice – and ice sculptures are true works of art! The sometimes have an ice sculpture at our local 4th of July festival and if I had access to old pics right now i would show you one of this volunteer wearing a wool soldier costume – civil war replica wool and all! And he is hovering near the sculpture to cool down – and my son gave the guy one of our cold juice pouches from our bag!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wool really is so amazing Yvette. Such a very
        warm fabric, but has fallen away in popularity to the high tech synthetics because of their being lighter and less bulky. I can not imagine how hot that civil war costume must have been on that July 4th day. 🙂
        Ice climbing is a whole new dimension, crampons, ice axes, and ice screws and yeah it really is cold. I was young and fearless back in those days. I would like to try it again, see if my perspective has changed on it 30+ years later..lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well and I bet the tech and gear has advanced since you last climbed! And wow – it sounds way different that rock climbing! Which reminds me of a good friend we lost in 2005 – kip white – he died climbing the maroon bells in aspen co – he was with his teen son and it was devastating! He was only 49!
        And switching gears back to the wool real quick – well I sometimes get tempted to buy a wool sweater – especially when I find one on sale and I admire it and hold it and remember my great aunt wearing wool cardigans – but then I put them back – and never realized why – but reading what you wrote just now made me realize that I just like other materials – less bulky and light! And softer! And seriously – this happened just last week – haha

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so sorry about your friend. Something I have thought about as I think about possibly picking up climbing again on a small scale.

        Really love the softness of wool. Still have a couple of sweaters which are so warm, but yeah I still go to high tech stuff for my runs!

        Have a great day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another wonderful post! Is the second to last picture ice forming on the INSIDE of a window in your house?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very Canadian post! I grew up skating and curling. I have ice climbed a bit but found it a bit too risky and cold for this girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Sue, I totally missed curling. There is even a curling rink 8 miles away. I have watched it on TV, but I think for me to really get into the game I need to get out and do it. Always fascinated by the “Hurry Hard’s” 🙂

      There would be some epic ice climbs in your region. The ice is just too thin and unpredictable around here. The best climbing in Ontario is north of lake Superior, and of course it is SO cold up there.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing. My objective was to make this post “very Canadian”….except I missed the curling, which I am sincerely sorry!

      ~Carl~ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. With the milder winter we’ve been enjoying I have become a complete wimp compared to previous winters. I mean what we experienced this weekend was COLD but it was also commonplace the last couple of years.

    As a result, in previous years I didn’t even bat an eyelash at these frigid temps. I just put on more layers and ran. Simple.

    But on Sunday I delayed my run until after lunch to take advantage of the temperature rising. I just couldn’t bear the thought of being out there in that cold darkness for 30 kilometres of running.

    And you know what? An hour after coming home, even with a long hot shower, I still felt incredibly cold in my bones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Rod, this mild winter really has mad a wimp out of me as well. On Saturday I was watching the thermometer as well, letting it get warmer before I headed out, and only headed out when it reached the predicted high of -23. Other years, it was just look at the temperature, dress accordingly and head out the door without a second thought.

      You are doing absolutely AMAZING. I have not done anything over 15k since the Scotia marathon. Once spring comes (wimpy me…lol) I plan on stretching out my distances.

      Thank you Rod for stopping to read, and thank you for your wonderful comment! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  5. I sure do appreciate your nod to the world’s greatest, most life giving and changeable natural resource Carl, especially while living in a state that is constantly finds itself water challenged even though a full half of it lies next to the Pacific ocean. I really appreciate too you documenting for us the wonders of ice sculptures as they have always been a favorite of mine although these days I have to settle for ones made of sand.

    Interesting as well to hear about the special care one must take when running in such a cold region. That’s not something I have to worry about here and am glad, but then again I don’t get to enjoy the beauty of the 4 seasons as you do Carl. Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are so blessed with an abundance of fresh water in Canada Tricia. So often I do not give a second thought when I turn on the tap. The charity that I run for in Ghana, people had to walk a couple of miles for water for was not all that safe, fill their jug up and walk all the way back. I also remember seeing a documentary of the dire water situation California is facing.

      The ice sculptures were amazing. One of the things that a picture does not capture how really beautiful there are.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, for reading and sharing your wonderful comment. 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t been to Canada in years but the way you write about it really makes me want to back for a visit. It is such a beautiful country even with all that cold weather. Or maybe because of it?

        We are blessed here too with water. Oh our our politicians like to bloat on about it but are nowhere near as bad off as places like Ghana where people as you say have to walk for miles.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Tricia. Am very fortunate. My area does have a lot of similarities to the north-east states that I myself have been through in times past. Very beautiful. Appreciate the fact our 2 countries are great neighbours.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not a big fan of ice myself, but your list of what you can do with it is amazing. I never knew fuel trucks would take shortcuts across a lake.How can they be sure the thickness is the same all over the lake and that currents and outlets aren’t undermining the ice road?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is an excellent question Mette. Where I live in the southern part of Canada, the lake ice just does not get thick enough to support the weight of a tractor trailer. These winter roads are in the far north of Canada. You are so correct as ice thickness does vary. During construction holes are augured daily in different spots to determine the thickness. Once it reaches a thickness of a foot or thirty three centimetres in every spot the road is plowed which allows the ice where the road is to get thicker. Only when it gets a metre thick are the big trucks allowed.

      The big trucks have to drive slow, because if they drive too fast it will start waves under the ice. A wave under the ice can cause the water to swell up and crack the ice.

      Also in answer to your question they also use a ground penetrating high tech radar to profiler (or read) the ice sheet.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wonderful comment! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  7. great post Carl! I could almost feel the chill down my spine, lol. Canada is such a beautiful place- I really look forward to my coming. Here in the west part of Africa, it’s the tropics; so the coldest we’ve had will be around 23 degrees. It just goes to show how amazing God is, I still want to use the word BEAUTIFUL. Eshe ghan! for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eshe ghan for stopping by and sharing Itofa. This is amazing, only occasionally do we have a summer day with a low of 23. Our bodies are amazing and they will acclimatize to the cold in a few weeks. When spring does come around, it might be only 10C, but people are walking around in shorts and a T-shirt because they got accustomed to much colder temperatures.

      have a great rest of the week! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  8. Negative 29 feels like -41…oh, I experienced that and it feels like punishment when I still had to walk my dog outside! But the nice thing was that the sun shines with blue skies, sometimes it feels it pay offs..

    The ice climbing one is still something too cold for sure…brrr..

    Liked by 1 person

    • This must be such an adjustment for you Indah to experience winter like you are. Hopefully you are acclimatizing. The days will soon be getting warmer. But there is nothing like the exhilaration of being outside in a cold, clear winter day

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful comment! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  9. Hi Carl. Enjoyed your post. Sounds brhhhh…really cold over there. Our winters have changed drastically in the Uk over the years. When I was younger we used to say Jack Frost had been when all the windows had frozen over. Think he has gone into permanent retirement now. Is that ice picture of a frozen window or glass????

    We seem to have more rain these days..TONS OF IT!!! Wellies, rain coat and umbrellas.

    Love all the photos.

    Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are correct Barbara. It is indeed a window pane with frost on it. I have not heard the term “Jack Frost” in years, but growing up it was used all the time in conversation during winter.

      So cool, I have never hear the word “Wellie” before, and ended up looking it up. We call them rubber boots in Canada, and my wife who is from New Zealand still calls them “gum boots”. Always love the different expressions for various items. 🙂

      Thank you do much for reading and sharing! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel like I need to put on a warm coat after reading this post! So much interesting info here though. As a US southerner, I see more ice in sweet tea than any other place 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A couple of years ago in Stockholm Sweden I treated myself to a visit to the Ice Bar; entire internal environment was ice including the ‘glasses’ for our drinks. A fun experience. However, I cant imagine enjoying living in an environment that spends weeks or months so cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW…the Ice Bar in Sweden….how “cool” is that. That place is world famous, but I have never known anyone who has been there This is really amazing.

      With our winters you do get used to them, but usually by the end of February it has been up to 3 months of cold, snow and ice, most people by then just want it to be over and for spring to arrive

      Thank you for reading and sharing! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  12. It is so hot here… and looking at your photographs really felt like a nice pleasant rush. I don’t want to imagine how cold it will – although the ice and snow do make a very pretty picture 🙂 The sculptures are breathtaking….!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hello Carl! It’s great to read another one of your well-written blog posts!
    I live in Indiana, USA, and must “put up with” a little of what you describe in this post. I got to admit, I don’t like winter…I don’t hate it, but would love to live in the overall weather as is in the Bahamas!! Ha-ha! I walk and take the bus everywhere here I’m Indiana and must purchase high quality, highly effective winter gear because I can get stuck waiting an hour for the bus out in single to below zero temperatures. Now that I have found ways to get this highly effective cold weather gear, then I just really don’t mind getting outside when I need and just want.
    Probably the biggest difference between Indiana and Canada isn’t just that Indiana’s winters aren’t as cold, but we can get 100 degree Fahrenheit days in our summers…that, I love!!
    Anyway, I really enjoyed your post and Go Toronto Blue Jays!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charles, thank you so much for reading and for your very generous comment And thank you for your honesty on your feelings about winter. You definitely need to be prepared even with something as simple as catching a bus, not knowing if it will be on time or an hour late.
      Yeah the Blue Jays had an amazing run last year and Canada was caught up in the fever. 🙂

      ~Carl

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That ice sculpture is amazing! I wish I could make those.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ice sculptures are so beautiful! We had a few competitions up here a few years back. We also use “ice bridges” up here. The first time I drove across one I was pretty nervous. It’s a pretty cool though. I also frequently run on a lake up here in the winter. Kobi loves it and the views are pretty nice! You have to watch for overflow though. That scares me! Happy running!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ice bridges would definitely save a lot of time and distance, I have never driven on ice and I would be so nervous too. However I have walked on ice several times. Some of your pictures Angie look like they could be on a lake during your runs.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share. Have a wonderful March Angie! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, I’m glad you keep warm running! Except for a brief month of extreme cold (which still didn’t measure up to Canada), our winter gave early way to summer in Southern CA. Before Feb had reached us, it was a hot 80s. That is such a great first shot. See? The large size does it justice. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU…yeah the large size really does make all the difference. It just took me a while to figure it out, but we got it…lol.

      I could use some of that 80 degree weather right now. A quite a few of my friends and co-workers have headed for some vacation time where it is warmer. I’m holding the fort waiting for warmer weather to return here.

      Thank you so much for dropping by and sharing Diana! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  17. When I first moved to Minnesota from New York, I knew the ice on the city lakes was perfectly safe to walk on and I still expected to fall through. Apparently it takes more than logic to create trust.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Awesome photos. I love those winter photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Despite the danger, the chill, and the hardship associated with snow, there is so much excitement, sense of adventure, and beauty it creates. Very nice presented article.

    Liked by 1 person

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