At the stone arch bridge, I am greeted by a full width ice sheet coming the opposite direction on the flood tide. The edges of the flow are breaking and crumbling as it fits through the constriction. I aim the canoe, for once you are in the ice, you don't do much turning, and I slice the 20 yards through. The ice is only an 1/8 inch thick...night ice that formed in the coldest part of the day in some calmer patch of water.
That flock of geese is just down at the next bend below the stone arch. I try to sneak by at the far bank, but they scare again.
At the big bend, a favorite with birds no matter what the season, I find some two hundred geese. They split noisily into two groups, the 75 returning back upstream as a unit, the others heading down and then splitting into a dozen groups that circle and change directions and come back as if they are biding their time until I move on.
|In the Sneak|
But, in spite of all that busy-ness, it is a gorgeous winter day with sharp sun and contrasts and a blue cloudless sky. There's hardly any wind until I reach the final seaside marsh.
I turn into the Sneak to make my way to Bailey Creek and then to the Neck River. I expected the Sneak to be iced in with the one and two inch ice that has formed in the side channels, but it is open. Of course, after a couple hundred yards it is not open. I push past broken cakes of ice for a meander or two and then it becomes solid and it is turn back or portage.