On the 14th of October as I was flying out I noticed that there were large ice chunks floating down the river. I half expected it to be frozen over when I came back the next day. All it takes at this point is a few pieces to jam and stick together. No such luck. Although the edges were growing out the middle was still running free.
Even so there were already people out on the ice fishing. I was surprised but looking at the blocks they were cutting out it was well and thick enough, at least right there. Still I would not go out yet, there are thin spots all over.
When I got back from my second trip to Kotzebue it was frozen over and there was a layer of snow a couple inches thick. If ice fishing surprised me, I was shocked that there was already a set of snowgo tracks going across the lake near town. Snowgo travel on lakes and rivers is usually recommended to wait until well into November, sometimes later depending on weather.
As of now (November 20) we are just beginning to break into negative temperatures. This is much later in the year than previously. Normally there is inter village travel by snowgo by now, but due to warm periods and general lack of sub zero temps there continue to be thin and open spots on the water that make sections of the rivers and lakes dangerous to travel on. Soon though if the weather holds the ice will firm up and I can get out.
The only other thing which is needed is a little bit of snow. At this point we have about 4 inches. Fortunately we have had little wind so it has had a chance to be packed. But still it is the bare minimum and a rock or two is still peaking through. A few more inches would make a much more comfortable ride.