Squam Ice Harvest Feb.1, 2017. GoPro Video by Eric Morse
SANDWICH- The ice harvest is a tradition that has been going on for more than a century at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, and due to a strange start to winter with unseasonably warm temperatures, the start has been delayed slightly.
Camp manager John Jurczynski has been monitoring the ice on a daily basis and believes they should be able to start the harvest sometime around Jan. 19.
“The earliest I’d say we’ll be doing it is a week from Tuesday — a day after Martin Luther King Day,” Jurczynski said. “Realistically, it will be the following Monday, but it really all depends on the weather.”
He said surprisingly, this isn’t too much later than normal, as last year the harvest started about a week earlier than this year’s projection. The starting date tends to vary, with two occasions happening as early as the week between Christmas and New Year’s and others, like in 2014, being as late as Feb. 7.
“Normally mid-January is the time we do it,” said Jurczynski. “We’ll be close to that, and maybe a little bit later.”
There are two locations where the harvest has occurred. Jurczynski said on Saturday that Squaw Cove has more than seven inches of ice, while the historic location of Deep End has next to nothing. Twelve inches of ice is required for the harvest to happen, and he said unless something drastically changes, they will be harvesting in Squaw Cove. He said there is a 99 percent chance they will be at Squaw Cove.
“Odds are, we will be harvesting from Squaw Cove,” said Jurczynski.
Jurczynski said about 15 years ago, there was a similar winter with mild temperatures. Ice wasn’t forming in Deep End, so they sought out Squaw Cove to continue the harvest. He said with only a few inches of ice that year, they became nervous and started searching for a spot that was more protected. They found Squaw Cove and now it has become one of their harvesting spots.
Jurczynski said with the rain on Sunday, it should actually work out fine for the ice because the temperatures are expected to drop as the week goes on. He said issues arise when there is too much wind or snow, as the snow will insulate things and decrease the speed of the growth of ice. Fortunately, there is not much for snow in the forecast.
The ice harvest is an annual tradition on Squam Lake, and one of the last remaining ones in the entire country. While the camp has been open since 1897, organizers have to make educated guesses on how long the tradition has been going. Back in the day, there were no trucks and chainsaws. Instead, there were horses pulling the ice from the lake.
Each year, a crew of about a dozen people cut through the ice with a massive straight saw and several chainsaws. Many have been involved for many years, including Norman Lyford, who has been helping cut the ice for more than seven decades. He learned from his father, Colby, when he was only a teenager.
Each ice cake is about 12 inches-by 15 inches-by 19 inches. The ice is moved along in an assembly line fashion, being pushed with long sticks, and taken up on a ramp into a pickup truck. The truck then takes the blocks of ice to a couple of ice houses named Rockywold and Deephaven that are lined with saw dust for insulation.
Each block weighs about 120 pounds and each year there is more than 200 tons of ice harvested. There are about 1,200 blocks harvested per day. The process tends to last about three days.
Each cabin at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps is equipped with an old-fashioned ice box instead of modern refrigeration units. There was actually a time when the camp toyed with the idea of having mini-fridges in the camps, but this was frowned upon by guests.
During the summer, ice is distributed to the cabins to be put into the ice boxes for keeping food and beverage items cold. Guests generally stay at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps for a 14-week period over the summer.
2014 RDC Photo Contest
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Fun Comes Naturally at RDC
By: Adam Wohnoutka, Resorts and Lodges.com
The bobbing waters of Squam Lake reflect the cloud-dabbled azure sky. The pristine peaks of the White Mountains paint the horizon. A loon’s enchanting call echoes off the trees. Every moment at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps in Holderness, New Hampshire is one that celebrates natural splendor.
However, there is one week when this outdoor oasis truly appreciates Mother Nature’s magic. From June 22nd through the 28th, celebrate Nature Week with a wealth of informative wilderness activities that include bird watching, lake cruises, and guided hikes.
What better way to start the resort’s first annual Nature Week than embarking on a daily bird watching expedition with one of the world’s foremost field ornithologists Dr. Robert Ridgely? Observe these beautiful feathered creatures in their natural habitat while Dr. Ridgely shares his expertise and answers your questions.
Turn your attention to an aquatic aviator on a Loon Cruise. While exploring the idyllic Squam Lake, you’ll learn about loon conservation, biology, and monitoring from your expert guide. Hopefully, you’ll also get a closer look at these majestic creatures. Afterward, study the loon’s environment during the Aqua Lab.
Return to solid ground for Creatures of the Night: Full Moon Hike. A tour through the naturally lit landscape gets you acquainted with the habits of nocturnal animals and a special evening presentation by singer/songwriter Steve Schuch of Night Heron Music unites music and nature.
Showcasing so many outdoor adventures, you’d think that Nature Week would cost a lot of green. On the contrary. Not only are all these fun-filled excursions free of charge, this is also a five percent discounted week. And, though it is a special week, all the resort’s traditional activities are still available.
Also familiar are the outstanding amenities. This all-inclusive resort takes care of the cooking, cleaning, and organizing so parents’ time can be spent exploring rather than planning. After exploration, prepare for relaxation reclining on your private dock or screened-in porch, cuddling next to the fireplace, or sipping a cold drink refrigerated in an old fashioned ice box with ice harvested in January from Squam Lake.
“Once again, our family has congregated at Rockywold,” guest Karen Heidner-Ward said. “Over the 32-plus years we have been coming here, our family has returned for the wonderful camaraderie, peacefulness, and rejuvenation of our hearts and souls in a time where so many families are torn apart; we feel so fortunate to have this beautiful safehaven to share in some of the special and joyful occasions in life.”
Helping celebrate the environment, family togetherness, and exploration, fun comes naturally at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps.
Squam Art Workshops Taproot Gathering
September 11 – 15, 2013
The classes for this exceptional retreat are intended to support and nurture your homelife. If you are someone who savors organic, locally harvested meals, you will be delighted to find how simple it is to make your own cheese and butter, as well as gain skills to tap on the vast potential of botanicals in your own backyard for health and healing. We will be hosting visits to a number of working farms, learning how to create stunning bouquets from fresh field flowers and teaching the basics of simple fermentation.
But there are so many other fabulous offerings on hand that will have you carving spoons, creating darling soft sculptures, dyeing yarn with foraged materials, making your own clothes, exploring your writing voice and taking your photography to the next level. For more information, vist the Taproot Gathering page.
Dragonfly Yoga & Rockywold-Deephaven Camps Present
Relax & Renew Yoga Retreat
Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2, 2013
Join Dragonfly Yoga at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps to energize and nourish your body & soul with daily yoga classes, meditation, pranayama, T’ai Chi, sacred chanting, wholesome food, optional day hikes, kayaking, and time relaxing on beautiful Squam Lake. Massage, Reiki, and personal Life-Coaching are also available to tailor your weekend!
To Register: Visit www.dragonflyogabarn.com for registration form and payment options. Please call Katie for more information: (603) 707-7529.