Winter diaries: part 3

We went ice-fishing this weekend. it. was. gorgeous. I can't even explain or capture with my camera all the white sparkly precipitation or the colors the sunshine makes on the ice when it sets. We spent the day out on this beautiful ice Saturday, hiking with our snowshoes out to the middle of the lake. Little twinges of fear always appear in my bones that first time I step out on a frozen body of water to hike out from the shoreline further than I know I could swim back. They quickly disappear when I get to peek my head in a freshly drilled ice-fishing hole to see how thick the ice actually is. The ice this weekend was over a foot thick, half my arm's length. We bought some poor bait fish, also called "shiners", at the local gas station, hoping they would give us any additional luck we always seem to need when we ice-fish. They started swimming slower as the day progressed and we moved their watery home of a bucket into the ice shanty, which was considerably warmer. Several holes were drilled into the ice with an ice auger, the ice scooped out (which looked like what snow cones are made of), and the tip-ups set up. The tip-ups were pretty cool, a modified fishing pole that set over the hole, hanging a line directly down into the water with live bait, and an orange flag that would literally "tip-up" when there was a bite at the end. When it got dark, the boys put small red lasers on the tip-ups that set off when there was a bite, so we could see from afar- and from the warm shanty. The "shanty" was our shelter for the day from the cold. With all the other shanties around, it made for a make-shift village on the ice. A fire pit was dug and fire promptly built as the sun was beginning to set. The ladies of the group gave up hope for a fish when our toes went numb, just as the sun was setting. We retired to our cabin, fishless,  where yet another warm fire was made- a line of wet socks parked in front of it, a round of hot chocolate in our hands. So our season of ice-fishing begins in beautiful Door County.