Smooth Winter Sailing

As 2016 drew to a close, Clark Lake’s ice was smooth and clear.  Add just the right amount of wind and you get perfect sailing weather.  Michael McCarthy is often seen on the lake with his ice boat.  On this date, Phil Schindler took it for a spin.  The whole event was recorded by BJ Lyons with his new drone. 

With the birds-eye view in BJ’s videos, you’ll notice the ice is smooth, but not entirely transparent.  The initial freeze in December took place during windy weather, followed later by snow.  Subsequent precipitation evened the surface and left it with the glisten you are seeing here.  

Drones are becoming increasingly sophisticated.  And along with that leap in technology, the drone requires more of the pilot.  BJ is showing how it’s done.  Here he is going through a preflight checklist.


BJ was not alone in photographing the ice boat.  Thanks to Phil Hones, we have more of the action.


Clark Lake’s Winter Moods

Those who have spent time at Clark Lake know this about our lake.  It has many moods.  Bill Leutz captured some of the varied moods over the last half of December. These photos show, according to Bill, how the lake’s “beauty may change, but is always present.”


This first view, from December 13th, shows the sunset over Pierce’s Bay. It illustrates how far south the sun has moved. 



These two photos view the lake from the same spot–through the spruce trees in Bill’s front yard. The first is of a beautiful day on the 19th, and immediately above is a photo taken at about noon on Christmas day.


Here you can see the lake shortly before sunset on the 26th.  The clouds are clearing as the cold front began to arrive. That night winds gusted to around 35 mph as the front dramatically presented itself. 


This final view is from yesterday, December 28th.  Under sunshine from above, it shows the lake completely cleared of snow, revealing the ice underneath.  The perspective is in the direction of  Pleasant View along the Eagle Point shoreline (west end).  To the far right, you can see the marina’s gas dock. 

Last Minute Gift Ideas

The Clark Lake Community Center would like you to know about a last minute gift idea–exclusive red wine glasses inscribed with “Clark Lake.”  A precious few are still available at Doyle’s on Hyde Road at $12 each. 


Previously, the Center featured white wine glasses.  The difference?  The Wine Enthusiast site tells the story: “Typically Red wine glasses will be a bit taller and have a larger bowl than white wine glasses. In general reds are bigger and bolder wines so they require a larger glass to allow all those aromas and flavors to emerge.”  But no one will stop you from using these glasses for either.

With the purchase of each glass, you are helping to support the Clark Lake Community Center.  

Also still available are 2017 Clark Lake calendars.  This year’s calendar displays past winners of Raft-O-Rama.  The $10 price goes to support this fun annual event at the lake.


Clark Lake’s Frozen Entertainment

With the ice about a foot thick in some places, there is more activity on the ice, including snowmobiles.  Over the weekend, Ann Swain spotted the first ice shanty of the season.


Those who prefer watching activity from a chair by the fireplace might ask what’s the attraction?  Why would someone hang out in an ice shanty in brutal cold weather with the wind howling?  Ann Swain weighs in “inside an ice shanty you can be toasty warm–a propane heater is your own private sun.”  And the experience is “worth the effort,” she says.  “My husband, Jim, use to cut a hole in the ice 1 foot by 2 and that created an aquarium view of the lake below.”  There is more activity down there than you think. “It really can be fascinating.” There are other interesting moments. “When someone drives a car or truck on the ice nearby, your shanty shakes and the water is stirred.”

At one time your could position your shanty on the ice for the season.  Today’s rules require you to take it down each day “which is why you see portable pop-ups on the lake nowadays,” says Ann.  “Shanties would go through the ice creating a hazard, and that’s why you can’t leave them in place.”  

At Clark Lake this morning, the temperature was 0 or below.  In spite of the frigid air, or perhaps because of it, the lake offered an engaging view at sunrise.


Photo: Ann Swain

Cold Snap

The recent deep freeze has quickly added depth to the ice on the lake.  BJ Lyons tested the ice in three different locations this morning and found the ice on average to be 6 inches.  One spot was as deep as 8 inches; another, 4 inches.  BJ’s test took place about 100 feet from shore in the Lakeview West/Eagle Point Road area.  He comments “the ice seems quite brittle, probably caused by the cold temperature and how quickly it froze.”  He adds the note of caution–it’s too soon to trust the ice yet.  John Deming viewed the video and commented “conditions could be treacherous, at best…could be open spots.” 

Here’s BJ’s drone video of Clark Lake this morning, starting west and moving east.

This photo is from earlier in the week.


Standing Up for the Lake We Love

The holidays are here, and 2017 is near. If you’re thinking about 2016 tax strategies, there’s still time. Should a tax-advantaged contribution be an option, please consider a non-profit close to home–the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, a 501c3.

Over the years, donations to the Foundation from people like you have supported significant improvements at Clark Lake. Examples include repairing the dam at Ocean Beach when it was in peril, helping launch the Invasive Species Committee, building and improving the Spirit Trail, creating and the DamCam, and participating in moving the Graziani cottage to become the Community Center in the County Park. Different from other deserving charities in the world, this Foundation is specific to Clark Lake, and its focus is to improve life right here.

Photo: BJ Lyons

For a more complete view of the Foundation’s work, please click here. The link takes you to Standing Up for Clark Lake–the Foundation’s mission statement that explains the goal to preserve the past, enhance the present, and look to the future.

You can easily donate via your credit card through this website by clicking here. A pull-down menu allows you to donate to any of the organizations under the Foundation’s umbrella–the Spirit Trail, Raft-O-Rama, Run Clark Lake, Garden Angels, Invasive Species Committee, Walleye Association, and Crab Races. The Clark Lake Community Center, also a 501c3, is included on the tab.  Another choice available is to donate in someone’s memory, and you can also accomplish that on the donation page. 

  • Spirit Trail: County Park

In the November 19th Wall Street Journal, Laura Saunders wrote “American taxpayers should take advantage of several big tax deductions, such as charitable giving, as they are likely to be far less valuable or even disappear next year.” She points out that three tax reform plans “take further aim at ‘itemized’ deductions…”.

A valuable tax strategy is to donate appreciated assets such as stock that has increased in value. In most cases, you can deduct the fair market value—an amount that could be significantly greater than the purchase price. For more information, please contact Ann Swain, treasurer, at 529-9485 or Rick Belcher, president, at 529-2121.

The Foundation consists solely of volunteers. No director or officer is compensated.

It’s been another wonderful year at the lake we love. And with your help and support, the Clark Spirit Foundation aims to keep up its efforts on your behalf.  Please join us in Standing Up for Clark Lake!

Really Cold

After a warm fall, winter arrived suddenly and boldly.  With temperatures only in single digits, sitting in front of a roaring fire and hot cocoa or coffee inside seems inviting.  Even so, if you are properly dressed, Clark Lake has plenty to offer outside as well.  Here are some vistas captured today by Beth June.  The first photo looks to the northwest. 20161215_144232The next photo looks to the west.
20161215_144207And the days finale–the sunset far to the south.
20161215_164748The cold snap was quick to freeze the lake over.  If you missed BJ Lyons’ drone photos from Tuesday, here’s an instant replay as it happened.

Speed Limits Near You

Chief ElwellColumbia Township Chief of Police, David Elwell, explains how proposed legislation could take the local factor out of speed limit changes. This year that became an issue when it looked like the 25 mph limit on Hyde Road, paralleling the lake, could be raised.

Click here to read what Chief Elwell says about it and what you can do. 

It’s under Views on this website.

Clark Lake’s Super Moon

According to, “the full moons of October, November and December all take place when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth — a so-called supermoon.’ And the peak is tonight.  At Clark Lake the moon shone brilliantly.  These photos were taken by Ann Swain along Hyde Road.


Don’t be alarmed.  The heavenly body next to the moon is not a rogue planet–just a lens reflection.


First the Snow – Then the Ice

First came lots of snow followed by bone chilling cold.  In spite of the wind and waves, Clark Lake is beginning to freeze.  BJ Lyons recently acquired a state of the art drone giving Clark Lake another eye in the sky.  This drone performs well, even in inclement weather.  He captured a look of the lake as the freezing process progressed today.

Go back before the snow, and you get this November 19th storm.  Just after BJ’s drone captured the lightning, the storm turned ferocious.  He saved the drone from being carried away by strong winds by bringing it in for a landing in the nick of time.  The same storm took power lines down in some areas as well as silencing Comcast cable and Internet service.

Clark Lake weather never stays in one place for long.  Two weeks ago, Sally Lyons and Robin Bates, a friend from Lake Columbia, were out on paddleboards.  In this photo, you’re looking west towards the head-of-the-lake.


And before nature started telling us winter was coming for sure, Eagle Point glistened in the late fall sun.


 You can always tell the difference between men and boys by the price of their toys.  Here’s BJ with his new acquisition going through the pre-flight checklist.