The blizzard of ’13

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This weekend a February nor’easter slammed New England and New York.  Connecticut declared a state of emergency.  The governor of Massachusetts ordered all cars off the roads or face a hefty fine.  Hundreds of cars got stuck on the Long Island Expressway.  Portland, Maine got a record 32″ of snow.  And New Hampshire?  New Hampshire had a fishing derby.

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To be fair, by the time the storm was in our path it was too late to cancel this annual event.  But judging from the crowds today in Meredith, not even a blizzard could put a damper on the 5000 fishermen who signed up to participate in the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby.

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This year, the winners in each fish category – lake trout, rainbow trout, white perch, yellow perch, cusk, pickerel and black crappie – will have their names entered in a drawing, with the top winner awarded $15,000, $5,000 for second place, and $3,000 for third place.  Organizers said they hoped the worst of the storm would pass by the time the tournament really got under way.  Bobhouses were anchored into the ice a foot deep before the storm so they could withstand the winds that were forecast.

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P1140863 (Large)Personally I have no interest in fish.  The fun here is in the quirkiness of the event … where else can you walk on a frozen lake, eat french fries, and watch ice augers and tip-ups at work?  (And if you don’t know what a tip-up is, it becomes an education.)  There is a carnival atmosphere, with snow machines instead of rides and a midway of colorful, unique bobhouses.  The crowd is a mix of fishermen, photographers, kids, dogs, and sightseers in awe of the fact that they’re walking out in the middle of Meredith Bay.

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While there were no pool tables or hot tubs out on the ice this year, presumably because of yesterday’s storm, there was still plenty of entertainment:  music blaring, snowmobiles zipping past, cookouts, kids sliding down snowdrifts, and – maybe the best – the sight of a little boy weighing his freshly-caught perch.  Walking around was a little more difficult with all the fresh snow.  The wind was still blowing out on the lake.  By the time I left I couldn’t feel my toes any more.  But, as always, I’m glad I came.  After 13 years in this beautiful area the derby has, like for so many other people, become tradition – blizzard or not.

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14 responses to “The blizzard of ’13

  1. Great pictures, but it sure does look cold!!. So colorful too.

  2. Fantastic post I just have to share with friends! After our horrendous summer of bushfires and record heat followed by ruin to many people’s lives by still ongoing floods in some places, it is a joy to read that Nemo came and went . . .

    • Thank you for reading me! I hope the summer heat and fires didn’t affect you at all … has that mostly subsided? We have snow to spare here if you need to cool off!

      • Australia is as large as the US: so what affects one part may leave the rest untouched. Oh, we had plenty of heat up to 47 C [115 F] for days here and then rain and wind to live in a stormy bog, but we escaped both nearby fires and devastating floods. Summer > close, no worries, tho’ many parts of Oz still have flood warnings . . . Night time temps down to 18 C, so ‘no thank you’ to the snow 🙂 !

  3. vintagefrenchchic

    I think it is great that everyone braved the weather to have the fun carry on! Love your photos…I would love to get and keep that much snow all winter. We are in our second thaw. We got 16″, it melted away, got another 16″ and now that is melting off but we are supposed to get more snow by the end of the week. It has been crazy hearing 6-8′ icicles fall from roofs.

  4. These are fantastic photos! I’m happy to hear you’re doing well, and I’m assuming you didn’t lose power since you’re posting 🙂 I’ll make sure to post some photos of the snow over here (I was clicking away all the time!!). How much snow did your area end up getting?

    • I didn’t lose power … NH fared pretty well. I can’t wait to see your photos … I hear you guys really got walloped down there. Snow totals here are all over the place because of the wind, most range from 18-30″. Unbelievable really. Post something soon! 🙂

  5. fantastic post….can’t believe how fierce Mother Nature can be 🙂

  6. Was wondering how you got through the big one. Glad you’re OK. This may have to go on my ‘Bucket List’ as I always wanted to experience a REAL ice-fishing derby. Do all the cash prizes come from just entry fees? Wowser!

  7. What a cool wintertime event! Great photos. Love that it wasn’t cancelled. Seems that everything else was, but it’s so nice to get out once a blizzard has past.

  8. love your wintery photos. that’s a lot of snow.

    it sure does look cold.
    first time here.
    love your blog!

    happy sunday

  9. Hi Paige, thanks for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment.
    Your pictures are really beautiful – the snow does make for a lovely picture doesn’t it?
    I am so glad to hear that you loved Scotland when you visited you definately visited a lovely area. We live in the west coast of Scotland in a small town in Ayrshire. We are visiting New England in October on holiday. I am so excited about it – I have long wanted to see New England in the fall.
    Have a great week 🙂


  10. What fun! The closest I’ve been to Meredith is North Conway, where I stayed last spring with my sisters. The hot tubs on the ice sound fun…they really have hot tubs some years? We are from the west where natural hot springs are abundant and we sometimes daydream of a perfect New England…which to us would only mean there were hot springs! 🙂 Maybe we will try to hit the Fishing Derby next year! (-For the french fries and hot tubs of course, not the fish!) : )

    • I am from the Northwest and I daydreamed of New England for years … but as far as I know there are no hot springs! Maybe we can meet up at the fishing derby next year!

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