Twice as nICE-
The lake level at Raystown has been dropped 8.5ft below the regular level to allow for shoreline maintenance and rehabilitation, extending the shoreline up to 60ft into what is usually water. Meanwhile, the air temperature has dipped below zero numerous times with a near-constant freeze since the new year. These cool temps have caused large sections of the lake to freeze over, while the low level has opened up miles of rolling, rocky coastline.
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The lake ice and rocky exposed coastlines are reminiscent of the frozen ice sheets of Greenland's fjords and the harsh red sandstone of Prince Edward Island. These places are not only magnificent for the features of the landscape but for the remote vibe that comes during the off-season. For it is rare to see another soul enjoying the lake this time of year.
But why write about the lake ice and wonderfully-rocky coastlines in a section usually written about the Allegrippis Trails and mountain bicycling?
The same main channel that serves as a speed-limitless raceway during weekend and those same rowdy coves that are home to the thirty pontoon late-summer parties are completely desolate. This wonderful desolation is one that draws a unique few to lake. In our case, a unique crew of fat-tired bicyclists. The coastlines have provided a formidable opponent, causing quite the frenzy to ride the first "section," or find a new "sweet line." Meanwhile, the 5-8-inch-thick ice has provided a wonderfully-challenging opportunity to think outside the box.
For those of you who know the lake, consider bicycle rides such as Seven Points to Snyders Run, or perhaps Hesston to Trough Creek by way of Marklesburg and the old rail line.
Riding on ice is inherently dangerous and potentially life threatening, however like anything in life if you are prepared it can be a truly exhilarating experience. The bottom line is- If you are not prepared to swim you should not be on the ice.
Things to keep in mind-
-Whenever riding on ice wear a coast guard approved life jacket-
-Make sure the ice is atleast three inches thick
-Bring Self Rescue Ice Awls no how to use them before you need them
-If you do break through stay calm-
-New ice is usually stronger than old ice.
-Ice seldom freezes uniformly.
-There is no such thing as 100% safe ice.