The winter’s been mild, but there’s finally enough ice on the lakes for Craig to do a little ice fishing. Well, a lot of ice fishing – he goes twice a day, sometimes. The fish bite best morning and evening, and the lake is only 12 miles away, so he goes out early, then comes home for a few hours and goes out again about 3:00.
Yesterday, I went along. I don’t like to fish, but I do like to walk. Lake Habeeb is part of Rocky Gap State Park, and there are some nice little trails there, including one that goes around the entire 9.5 mile perimeter of the lake. I took my camera so you could come with me on my ramble.
Did you know there are no natural lakes in the state of Maryland? True story. Despite the fact that my adopted state boasts 6,945 miles of shoreline (look at a map and you’ll see what I mean!), the only inland lakes are man made. The dam that created Lake Habeeb, named for a local businessman who was instrumental in developing the area, was built in 1970, and Rock Gap State park officially opened in 1974. If you look very closely, you can see the dam at the far end of the lake below, just right of center.
The trails are narrow, but they get a lot of use and are well maintained. Every time we’ve been there, we see people walking, often with canine companions. Depending on the weather, the lakeside trail is also used by bicyclists and joggers.
There are other trails as well. Yesterday I ventured onto the Canyon Overlook Trail. “Overlook,” I understood. But canyon? I think of a canyon as more barren than this, but yeah, I guess you could call it that.
I’m not sure, but you might be able to see my house from here. It’s roughly that direction, anyway.
(Below) The lake is frozen several inches thick, though the surface is beginning to soften in the warm (40-ish) weather. The cloudy surface combined with a bit of leftover snow along the edge resembles lapping waves and foam.
(Above) As you can see, the water level is down considerably. I’m not sure why they lowered it, but the level was higher last winter. I was standing in front of the casino resort when I took this shot. If you peer closely, you can see one of the park’s three beaches in the picture above. Do you see the bright-white lifeguard stand in the middle of that distant strip of light colored sand?
(Below) When we first arrived, Craig drilled some holes with his ice auger. One of those buckets, turned upside-down, will serve as his seat once he gets started. (You can see this in the first picture in this post.) This shot shows the casino in the background.
He usually fishes at the other end of the lake and does pretty well there, catching mostly bluegill along with the occasional perch, crappie, bass, or, rarely, a trout. I love trout, and some of the other guys have told him that the place to catch them is on this end, where Craig is in the picture. He wanted to see if he could catch me some. Wasn’t that sweet of him?
(Above) For a person accustomed to frozen lakes, this is a pretty ordinary shot. I’ve included it for people who aren’t familiar with this sort of thing. You can see a variety of subsurface textures here, as well as pressure cracks. Or at least, that’s what we call them.
You know how water expands when it freezes? Well, it does that in lakes just as it does with the soda can you put in the freezer to chill quickly but then forgot about it. When it’s good and cold, as the ice gets thicker, it cracks from the pressure of all that growth, making a sharp report like a gunshot. People who aren’t used to that find it unnerving if they’re out on the ice, to hear the noise and see a crack opening up nearby.
Thanks for coming along with me! We’ll have to do it again sometime.