GL 247 Kites flying before the big Outhouse race

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 247

Another January thaw is upon us with temperatures in the forties and maybe up in the sixties before week's end. It is pretty hard to have winter events without snow and ice. Luckily, it held up through this weekend, so the Inlet’s Frozen Fire and Lights got through all the events without a hitch. The cardboard sled races at Fern Park were fast for those who kept their cardboard crafts headed straight down the icy hill. Some went across the finish line in a little over six seconds and into the crowd watching at the tail end of the race. Some flipped before crossing the finish line but dragged their parting sleds across the line for time. I captured all the starts, but the crowd was in the way for ending shots. There were some neat expressions on the faces of the racers as they zoomed down the hill. Some taped cardboard fell apart part way down hill leaving pieces and parts along the way and still finished the race. The temperature was about zero out at race time but there were well over one hundred spectators, enjoying the fun. 

I remember when I was a kid that we had some hills not far from the house that we would pack down with snowshoes and take a piece of tin roofing, fold up the front and ride it down the hill like a toboggan. There was so little traffic on our road that we would ride down the hill between our house and Karen’s house on our metal runner sleds. 

I went from the Cardboard races to the Fourth Lake shoreline in front of The Woods Inn for the Kite Flying and Outhouse Races. The temperature with the wind chill factor was way below zero. The big kites were already flying when I arrived and the kids who made kites were just getting out on the ice. It didn't take long, and the blue sky was full of their little white kites flying along with big kites from the American Kite Fliers Association. 

The Outhouse Racecourse was set on the snowmobile trail coming on the ice from The Woods Inn and it was a little bumpy but that didn’t slow down the five contestants in the race. They held three heats, three outhouses in one and two in the second with the winners going for the gold cup in the third heat. The winners were the Batman Crew easily taking both their heats and nearly some of the over two hundred spectators along the course. It was hard to stop them once they got going on the ice and went across the finish line. For some of the losers they said they learned something and that was to wear spikes on their boots for traction. I got some good action shots during the races as the riders in the outhouses held on for dear life, so as to not go down the hole. 

Just after that there was a bonfire in Arrowhead Park with free hotdogs and hot drinks. You would want to eat these fast before the frigid wind took the temperature out of both offerings. The Fireworks went off at seven and the bonfire was still roaring with sparks flying over the big crowd as the light show began. The wind didn’t affect the fireworks, which were beautiful in the dark sky as the full moon rose in the east over the village of Inlet. There was lots of cheering in the crowd as most were trying to keep warm and that may have helped. I finally got some good fireworks shots with both cameras and the batteries lasted in both even in the cold temperatures. 

My grandson Jake Bills came up on Tuesday with a bucket of minnows to go ice fishing. We got out on Limekiln Lake about noon that day and it was beautiful, no wind and sunny. We had the tip-ups in the water in about half an hour but not a flag went up which is unusual there. We did catch three nice splake, 12 to 14 inches and had a couple other long runs, but the fish dropped the bait. We went back out on Wednesday morning and had the tip-ups in before nine and never had a flag for over an hour. The fishing for splake is better along the shoreline in less than ten feet of water and that is where we caught most of them. A gusty wind was blowing that morning which tripped a couple of the flags up. Checking the bait Jake caught the first one that day that hadn’t even tripped the flag. Then we caught only one more nice one about fourteen inches before we picked up at noon. We did have a couple flags that the fish ran out nearly all the line on the spool which normally is a big one. Jake had one of them on and it got off within about ten feet of the hole. The big one got away again but it was fun being out there with my grandson. 

Someone down south said the birds were already heading north, might see a Red Winged Blackbird any day now but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo Above: Kites flying before the big Outhouse race