Thursday morning was beautiful here at the resort, with the sun peaking over the trees and illuminating the resort with a warm orange glow. One of the photos shows a beaver out for one of his first paddles this season, and stretching his legs after being in cooped up in his lodge all winter. This early spring is wonderful, as it gives us an early jump on spring work and getting Cabin 19 finished up! It seemed like the ice went off the lake quickly this year, going from the normal light grey ice color, to a dark blue color just before it started breaking up early this past week. If your curious, our lake association has the history of freeze up and thaw dates. Check it out here!
Mary Kate and I (Ryan) went for a short evening drive yesterday as we both enjoying seeing deer. The field directly across from the resort must have been hosting a deer convention, as there were over 100! We have had a fair amount of snow up here this winter which makes the forage in the fields inaccessible. The deer are excited for spring, and to eat something other than the woody browse they have been eating through the winter months. We, just like them are excited for the warmer weather and are anxiously awaiting getting outside and working on yard work and spring projects!
This morning was brisk, with the temps hovering around 10 below and the windchill about 30 below. I zipped outside for a few quick photos of this beautiful sundog before my fingers and camera lost the ability to function. The lake froze over this past Saturday, and with the last few days dipping down into the single digits, and nights well below zero, the lake already has 3-4 inches of ice out in front of the resort.
Like many of you, we’ve been wrapped in a winter white blanket of snow these last few days, just in time for Christmas! We excitedly welcome the snow, as it means cozy fires, warm soup, a bit more family time, and breaking out our cross country skis!
The drifts of snow weren’t quite as impressive as some that made the news in North Dakota, but there’s something magical about fresh, untainted snow covering everything as far as we can see, and seeing the real life “flocked” Christmas trees all over the resort!
Two to three dozen trumpeter swans migrate through the area and visit Boot Lake every spring and late fall. We enjoy watching them glide back and forth in the lake, sometimes stopping to feed right in our swim area! They are particularly beautiful with the fluffy white backdrop!
Yesterday morning, Mabel and I were on our way to the lake for an early morning kayak ride when several Loons landed out in front of the resort. The raft of Loons graced us with their presence for about a half an hour, then dispersed back to neighboring lakes. It’s not uncommon to see four to six loons together on our lake, especially prior to them laying eggs and raising their young, but I have never seen this many together before. I did a quick Google search on why Loons congregated like this, and found this article if you would like to check it out.
Michaela recently took a bike ride around the lake and took a few pictures of the sunset and wild flowers. There are some rolling hills along the ride that are beautiful, especially when the sun dips below the horizon and the fog starts to rise. The orange flowers below are Indian Paintbrush, which grow wild in many of the fields in the area. The taller flowers are Lupin, which are in the flower garden at the end of our driveway. They are stunning right now and have had an exceptionally good bloom this year.
Spring is in the air at Half Moon Trail! We are in full swing getting the cabins cleaned, water turned on, and the grounds cleaned up. I took a few minutes to snap these photos so you could see what grounds and gardens look like at this point in the spring. They look very different than later on in the summer when they are all filled out, but it’s still pretty fun when all those plants start poking through the ground in the spring!
We have another early spring on our hands! I know many of the lakes a little farther South have already been open for a while, but we are typically a couple weeks behind the twin cities. I took a few quick pictures of the ice last evening. It’s started getting dark, cracks are widening, and it’s really opened up around the edges the past few days. As I was taking the pictures, I saw and heard several different kinds of ducks, swans, and geese as they are back in the area now with some open water for them to use – a sure sign of spring!
Bald Eagles aren’t an unusual bird around here, and we see them quite frequently. However, the other day there were two Eagles and a few Black Billed Magpies on the deer carcass at the same time, about 25 yards from our front window. We typically save the deer scraps and carcass from the fall hunting season to attract wildlife. There are several different types of birds and animals that will feed off the carcass all winter, including, weasels, eagles, crows, ravens, blue jays, chickadees, and magpies.
Often quieter than the rest of the lake due to the shelter from the trees, the north end is home to two beaver houses, two loons nests, and on occasion, some good fishing. The sight of a small, fuzzy loon chick is not uncommon in the early days of June. I took this photo at the public access in the early spring, before the landing dock had been put in. The lake is clearest this time of year, with the clarity reading (more info on how this is found) often reaching 20-30’. This north woods oasis is, by far, my favorite part of the lake.
It’s amazing how much ice is made in one night with zero degree temps! With warm weather the last couple of weeks, the lake opened back up soon after our post on the 3rd, and has stayed open until last night. The steam rising off the newly formed ice, along with all the little tufts of frost made it for yet another beautiful morning by the lake!