After a few weeks away from Lake Wicwas for a visit to Colorado for some skiing with the kids, we found there was a tug of war taking place between winter and spring while we were gone. Winter took a strong shot with another good dump of snow two weeks ago, but then last week spring countered with some warm weather and a good dose of rain. Overall, spring came out on top, with a reduction in the snow pack by several inches, especially in the open areas. In the woods, it seems more like a draw - there is still close to three feet of snow.
Where the run-off has flowed beneath the snow it has melted the cover down to the ground, showing the depth of the snow pack. It makes stream crossings on snow shoes a challenge.
This weekend we had classic New Hampshire March weather, with a little sun, a lot of clouds, moderate temperatures, and threatening looking skies, even though there was no preciptitation. The surface of the lake is firm and extremely uniform. The total ice depth is a good 18 inches, with perhaps 6 inches of porous white ice on the surface. If we had a good cold night, one might even be able to skate on it, though it wouldn't be very smooth. There were several groups of ice fisher-people out this weekend, certainly appreciative of the better lake surface.
Construction on both ends of the lake is moving along, with one house looking weather-tight, and like it will be ready for summer.
The other isn't making quite the same rate of progress, but it's starting to take shape.
The cracks of spring are also bringing more animal activity. There are lots of signs of otter venturing out of the cold water onto the warmer land. This otter tunnel opening was several feet from the shoreline, with tracks heading up the hill away from the lake.
Along the lake under the trees were tracks where the otter had slid along the ice on its belly. It also left its tell tale scat of fish scales nearby.
The wildlife are already enjoying the early victories of spring over winter; we'll be joining them soon enough.