Frozen water everywhere!

Last spring, I took a tour of some local trails the day after a huge rain event just north of here.  The result was a cycling route that had a lot of turn-arounds because some trails were flooded.

As some of my Waterloo Cycling Club friends will attest, I’ve been known to ride across fast-flowing rivers:

I thought the group was behind me when I started to ride across the Conestoga River here!  Past WCC prez Alain F. pointing at me… possibly telling the group “Don’t follow him, he’s crazy!” (photo from WCC)

While I crossed that river without incident, it did make me wary of fast-moving water.  So on my water adventure in the spring of 2017, I was more cautious.  The post linked here is from May 2017, but later last year (late June) over 6 inches of rain fell in the headwaters of the Grand River watershed.  This resulted extremely high water levels in the river.  Water levels were their highest in over 40 years!

Fast-fowarding to this winter…. it’s been really cold for quite a few weeks and the river has had a chance to freeze (for the most part).  In fact, a little over a week ago while on a winter fatbike ride, I spotted an outdoor skating rink on the Grand River:

Skating rink on the Grand River – January 6, 2018.

The following week, however, we were hit with….. weather.  Temperatures started to rise and the rain came.  Thursday, it got as warm as 10C with lots of rain.  This caused a couple of things.  First, the river ice thawed and started to break up.  The rain and meltwater caused the water level in the river to rise quickly and huge chunks of ice were carried up the river banks and left behind as the water level slowly receded.  This was followed by a rapid drop in temperature on Friday from around 8C in the morning to -10C by early afternoon.

So my fatbike ride on Saturday, January 13 (only a week after the skating rink photo) was quite different:

Huge chunks of ice on the banks of the Grand River.

Portions of the Grand River Trail were unrideable because of:

Ice debris on the trail:

Grand River Trail blocked by ice debris.

and… Pure ice on the trail from the high water level in the river followed by the rapid drop in temperature:

Frozen Grand River Trail.

Although I had to hike-a-bike around the debris and around the icy trails, the ride was very scenic and very different from just a week previous.  My fat bike always takes me to interesting places, any time of year!

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