Thursday, February 19, 2015


I have been in Basin Run before when it had ice on it, but never like this. Ice reaches from the surface to the bottom 3 feet below, and this icy nocturnal view gives me a new aspect of understanding what shapes this creek. I snorkeled in a 15 foot long, 4 foot wide L shaped pool hemmed in by ice. I was downstream of the rapid I usually snorkel because the current presents just a little too much risk of getting swept under the ice sheet. The thick ice is in two layers. The top half is clean white and silver with each of the individual crystals visible underwater. Small rainbows refract through each of the individual crystals and the ice wall sparkles in prisms. Alone the crystals are little more than slush. Congregated together they are a formidable barrier. Entrained air bubbles from the short falls just upstream glow silver. The ice below is dirty with gravel and sand. Larger rocks were picked off the bottom by the ice and are entrained six inches off the substrate. I wonder how much of a shaping force ice plays in this temperate stream. I wonder how life survives under it. Does it burrow in beneath rocks, does it move to an ice free section, or is there just enough space between the ice and bottom for things to survive? A northern case maker caddisfly clings to the clean gravel in one of the gaps between the ice and bottom that allows the water to flow downstream. I feel like I am diving Antarctica or maybe exploring the iced moon of some foreign planet. This world is largely frozen right now. It will be thawed in a few weeks, and right after that our migrants will return. But in the mean time I will enjoy this frozen otherworldly view.

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