I was lucky enough to spend a day in northern Wisconsin a couple days ago before getting back to St. Paul. I arrived on a rainy afternoon after a warm couple days that were a huge help in getting the lake ready for summer.
My uncle, cousins and I walked out to take in the giant plates of ice drifting in the lake, called candles. My uncle explained that the ice would pick up speed and drift with the wind until it crashed into the shoreline, breaking it up even more as it continues to thaw. This has often led to shore and property damage.
Within minutes, the ice that was 200 feet in front of us had crept towards his own shore line, and we were witness to the unassuming power of the seemingly tranquil lake. The water was so pure you could see all the way to the bottom, and the ice moved so smoothly it was surprising to realize how fast it was traveling.
I grabbed my camera and caught it on video just at the moment the ice began to crash into itself in a tinkling chorus.
Here's a great explanation on lake ice melt I found at the University of Minnesota website.
That quickly decided for me that I wouldn't be doing a polar bear swim for that trip.