Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ice Floes

The Salt Fork ice broke today! Tom and I went to the county line bridge about 12:30 PM but the floes had already passed. We took off in our truck, mucking along the soggy county roads to 200E but again, we missed the ice so we jumped back into the truck one more time and headed off on asphalt to the Oakwood bridge hoping we could catch it before it was gone. When we reached the water intake pipe we were discouraged to find only a few slabs of ice floating by, but as we stood there taking a few photos and just enjoying the 60-degree spring-like day we noticed something upstream coming at us around the bend.

A huge mass of broken slabs and chunks of ice filling the channel from bank to bank pushing logs and debris moved toward us at about 5 miles per hour. It was incredible! Pieces of ice 7-8 inches thick and some as large as a bus jostled for position as they pushed and shoved their way down the channel while other pieces were getting shoved up the banks or caught in backwater eddies. I wish you could have been there, not only to see it but to hear it, the grinding ice as it jostled around in the channel and along the banks.

It was one of those fleeting moments in nature that you are so grateful to experience knowing that it will soon be gone. And it was. After less than 5 minutes the ice had moved on toward the Wabash. The Salt Fork River is once again a liquid stream of water rushing eastward until next year- if the winter conditions are right.

Clip video below to see and hear the ice flowing complete with my exciting comments!


  1. Very nice work Tom & Sue. Natural wonders are awesome indeed!

  2. I'd like to know more about this community of folks who are friends of the Salt Fork. Is there some mailing list for communication? Or some other way to communicate other than leaving comments to blog posts?

    I'm particularly interested in experience paddlers have had paddling the Salt Fork with respect to land owners.
    - Gary