Sunday, January 9, 2011
He loves the hip boots (aka hip waders) that I got him for Christmas from Cabelas. The end of October I started asking Hugh what he wanted for Christmas. Initially his response was that he did not know. The next time I asked him he said that he wanted a pair of hip boots, early. I started researching hip boots. I thought it would be fairly easy and only a matter of finding a decent price.
The more I researched, the more I found that there were numerous options. Along with steel toed or not, some were insulated. Materials included rubberized cotton canvas, polypropylene, and rubber. Some had straps that clipped on a belt to help hold them up, others folded down easily to below the knee. Hugh preferred reinforced knees, but also ones that were easy to bend at the knee. Almost all that I found were either easy to bend or reinforced, but not both. Then came color: black, dark green or camouflage. Of course the higher the quality, the more expensive they were. I was not going to buy something shoddy, but I was not willing to spend upwards of $300 to get the “ideal.”
I wanted them to be a surprise, at least the type and style that I would get him. After two weeks of research, considering there were so many options and decisions, I gave up the surprise.
“Hugh, here’s the three best hip boots that I can find. Which ones do you want?”
I showed him the different features of each and let him choose.
He had said he wanted them early, as in the sooner the better. He wanted to use them when he had to do something in the water, like something with a boat, which were in the process of being pulled out of the lake and winterized. Christmas arrived early, at least part of it for him, the end of November.
And he was happy!
Sunday, after a late pancake breakfast Hugh and I went for a long walk. My walk Friday was so beautiful I wanted to go for another one on Sunday. Hugh did not hesitate. We began after he chopped open the ice where our hose is for the lake pump.
“Thanks for my hip boots, honey!” he said while standing in the lake with ax in hand and a big grin on his face.
Calm waters and clear skies belied the subfreezing temperature. I felt as if I could be outside all day marveling at the amazing ice formations. I found some needle-like ice crystals encircling some rocks with a clear covering of ice.
Along the edge of the east bay there were bouquets of ice leaves. The geometric patterns, formed by their growth, were incredible. I was awed at how nature could be so beautiful without adding food-coloring or dye.
As we walked along I kept seeing delightful shapes, like a round pancake ice in a almost square or diamond-shaped hole.
Hugh was having his own fun as I snapped away with my camera – he was walking in the lake!
“Aren’t your feet cold?” I had gotten uninsulated hip boots for him, as he wanted to be able to wear them year-round.
“Actually they are beginning to sweat.” I was not surprised. White cotton athletic socks seem to be the only type of socks I find in the laundry. I, on the other hand, should have automatic stock options in SmartWool socks since I have so many of them.
The little kid in me was intrigued with the little cave full of stalactites and stalagmites. Part of the icicles were clear and part was opaque. Emerging from the top were tiny crystals. And to my delight the bottom of the cave had moving water, gently rising and falling with the motion of the lake’s waves. (I could not decide which of these three pictures I liked best.)
I have always loved photographing patterns in nature. This winter has been my first opportunity to do any winter photography. The ice was not disappointing me. The icy edge I was walking on was round, mimicking the shape of the rocks below in the open water.
The west bay was still a field of frozen dragon snouts, smaller though as the lake level had dropped and froze further out.
And there they were, brave white winged scoters bobbing along in the water. I know they spend most of their time in Canada and this is balmy to them. However the thought of getting my fanny wet, or even my toes, in water that is 31.8 degree (give or take a tenth of a degree) is very unappealing.