When I headed down to shovel the rink today, I found wolf tracks strewn across the surface. He (or she?) had come trotting down past Lantern cottage, then headed out over the bay towards the rock cut and the hill. He got wet feet.
When I went down later to check out the guys in the fish hut, I found other tracks.
These snowmobile tracks illustrate beautifully why snowmobilers are always exhorted to "Know Before you Go" when travelling on ice. This is slush.
It forms when heavy snow presses down the ice, bringing water up through the tiny cracks in that surface, and that water mixes on top of the ice with the snow to form this mess. It's not something you want to try to deal with. It's okay for sleds IF they don't slow down, IF nothing goes wrong. And once a track is packed down, the slush freezes hard, providing an acceptable surface. That's why the Snowmobile Clubs stake the lake trails -- to ensure people travel on the packed areas.
I've had the misfortune to snowshoe and ski onto slushy surfaces -- the slush freezes almost at once to the skis/shoes/shovels... leaving one struggling to lift all that extra weight. Which is essentially water. Which is heavy. Brian reported that people staying at the neighbouring cottage set out to walk across the lake, and found their boots sucked right off by the clinging slush.
So, once again, for all of you who are contemplating getting onto a lake surface: Know before you Go. Ask, check, pay attention. Never take ice for granted.