The surface of Lake Champlain has frozen solid, a six-mile ice sheet from Burlington, Vermont to New York’s Adirondack Park. This feat of nature hasn’t occurred in several years. If you dress very warm, you can have coffee and eggs in Burlington, walk west across America’s sixth largest lake, and eat lunch in New York.
It’s hard to capture on film. The picture below comes closest. Note the varied patterns: like shards of glass in the foreground, then a sense of the starry sky, then a long frigid sheen to the Adirondacks. The mountains appear in hazy reflection (click for a magnified view):
With bright sun and temperature in the upper-teens, I ventured about four hundred yards onto the lake. I began at the Burlington waterfront and walked and slid as far as the barrier wall. Beneath three inches of snow, the ice was uneven, from weeks of heaving and buckling. I stumbled often and fell once. It was hard work but still invigorating to have this strange vantage: standing atop a giant lake, ice in every direction.
I hoped to visit the Burlington light house, past which I’ve sailed in summer, but the wind was too bitter. Here’s a picture from the storm barrier, with the light house in the distance:
Below is the view back to shore. The tall red building is the Moran power plant.
It was a giant glacier that carved Lake Champlain 15,000 years ago. The glacier towered above the mountains on either side. Perhaps today’s solid ice reminds the mountains of their youth, a faintest echo of the glacier they knew for eons, an ancient lost sibling. It is indeed a great spectacle of nature.