On Lake Alexander ice
TINA L. SCOTT
What is there to do on a frigid Wisconsin day in January when even the area lakes are frozen over? Well around Merrill, you don’t just head to the lake in the summer to swim and boat. Around here even frozen lakes hold great appeal, and this past weekend, on Lake Alexander ice was the place to be.
Ice fishing immediately came to mind and was an obvious attraction for many, as evidenced by the small village of ice shacks and pickup trucks parked out on the frozen lake in a cluster of activity. Other ice fishing enthusiasts chose to go it alone in a bay or away from the crowd a bit, setting up their “camp” or pop-up ice shanty where they thought the fish might be biting better.
If you’ve never been out on the frozen ice, there are actual “ice roads” to get from one area of the lake to another, so you’re driving on the ice and not through inches of snow. Nonetheless, a four-wheel drive vehicle is still recommended. In the winter, some of the boat landings are converted to access points to get on and off the ice and to reach the ice roads on the frozen lake, and it can be difficult to climb those inclines to get back “up” those boat landings in a two-wheel drive vehicle.
While local snowmobile trails aren’t open yet, a few snowmobiles were out on the ice this weekend on Lake Alexander, racing one another. Some area teens enjoyed opening up the throttle to make jumps from piles of snow, adding a bit more excitement to the sport.
Then there were the four wheelers and even dirt bikes, with drivers of all ages racing around and just having a great time. Some pulled other kids behind them in ice fishing sleds, designed more for hauling gear than children, but it seemed to work. Others just enjoyed the freedom of all that open space to pick up speed and cut loose with friends.
Even the dogs enjoyed their freedom out on the frozen lake, chasing around in the snow, following behind their owners, or even being “walked” on leashes by owners who slid across the snow and ice on cross-country skis.
Sure, the temperature made you catch your breath, and a bit of wind blowing across the lake brought with it a sharp bite, but bundled up appropriately for our northern Wisconsin winters, the people I talked with were clearly enjoying their time outdoors on the frozen lake and being a part of all of the activities around them.
A tip-up on the ice at Lake Alexander.