Megunticook as Sailed

There are three areas of the lake which can be counted on to be dynamic and must be scouted on foot: The inlet, The fangs, and Chaney’s Narrows.   These areas often change hour by hour.  In addition, the lake throws up wild cards at every moment: open water, wide cracks, drain holes of all sizes appear without rhyme or reason.  When you are new to a particular area, you need to scout it slowly until you know it completely.

A final word about ice safety:  When you step out on the ice, check that you have the four “C”s.  these are absolutely unnegociable.  CAP: some sort of helmet.  consider yourself unstably moving over cement.  CLAWS: ice picks clipped  around your neck, outside clothing.  CELL:   in a zip-lock bag in a high chest pocket  CLEATS: grabby boots, until you don skis or skates.

There is a 5th “C” which, frankly, many of us interpret differently: CLOTHING.  for me personally it too is unnegociable.   The central question is: could I survive 45 minutes in 28 degree water with what I am wearing?  My four trips through the ice over the years, each time with improved clothing, have left me willing to get sweaty and clammy in a wet-suit bottom, and USCG float coat top–all season long. My last “bath” left me floating chest high,  and when I clawed back above the ice, there was no hurry to warm up.  I always keep remembering,  even in the safer middle part of the season: there is always thin ice somewhere.

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