River Ice


Last Sunday’s rain storm raised the water level on the river by about six feet, breaking up the frozen ice into large chunks that were four to twelve inches thick. Flowing downstream in the flood, some of these icebergs stuck in an eddy in the bend of the river below the bluff and were left in stacks up to five feet deep when the water receded.


This one deposited high above the water on the rocks, is about a foot deep, four feet wide and five feet long. The branches of multiflora rose hips to the right gives you some sense of scale.

IMG_4090 IMG_4097


Each floe had a varied grain depending on how cold it was when each layer froze and how clear or turbulent was the water at that time. Some were the loveliest aquamarine color, while others were crystal clear, solid snow-white, in-between opaque or muddy brown.

IMG_4106This piece looked like the prow of a boat sticking up five feet above the water. In this photo you can see how high the water was and note how it is refreezing again at water level.

IMG_4086It was like a large art installation made with ice blocks that I walked around (very carefully!) to explore. Nature’s museum always offers the best exhibits, don’t you think?



About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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45 Responses to River Ice

  1. livblumer says:

    You are such a good docent at The Museum of Mother Nature.

  2. I love the “Nature Museum” line as well. So true, Eliza.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I love your analogy with an art installation in Nature’s museum, Eliza. And I am stunned by the beauty of the ice in your photos. Meanwhile, I’m about to go for a swim in the sea at the beach down the end of our road …

  4. Great photographs and story. Wonderful post. Beautiful ice.

  5. Trini Lind says:

    I think it looks beautiful! 🙂

  6. Kina says:

    Almanzo would have lugged the blocks to the barn, packed hay around them and would have enjoyed homemade ice-cream in July!

  7. Ice is so difficult to walk or drive on BUT it is so beautiful to look at and examine.

  8. mk says:

    These photos are stunning. My very first impression was of an ice tsunami, the way those big chunks are just stacked & toppled. The layers are fascinating and beautiful, the way they capture the stillness or motion of the water. This is looks like art to me too.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Micheal. It made me appreciate how dangerous icebergs are. I wish I had walked down to the river during the rain – it would have been cool to see those bergs going by and twirling in the eddy.

  9. Karen says:

    That’s amazing, wonderful images.

  10. dorannrule says:

    A stunning collection of images Eliza!

  11. There is such power in the scenes for the water to have shifted the weight of the ice and rearranged the slabs. I have to ask which river? How fascinating to the see the varying colours captured in the layers. What a post!!

  12. Wow, it looks like a scene in a sci-fi movie. Almost surreal…

  13. Jewels says:

    These photos are so amazing Eliza, how cool! Indeed, “nature’s museum always offers the best exhibits.” 🙂

  14. Robbie says:

    I agree-amazing! Did you grab a few “rose-hips” for tea:-) spring is around the corner–just not yet. You also captured the “power” of nature…..you have to be careful when nature moves!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      As I stood beneath that stack of ice, I couldn’t help but think about the power that put it there. Nature’s forces are sooo powerful and I respect that!

  15. Geraldine says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of ice. Brought memories of the Yukon River to mind. How I miss the North!!! Happy Weekend Eliza, G

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Geraldine, winter definitely has it pros and cons. Once experienced, we can’t help but miss those things we enjoyed about winter.
      I hope your weekend is a good one as well.

  16. Kathy Sturr says:

    Strangely beautiful Eliza! I love the striations and colors. Last spring chunks of ice floated down the St. Lawrence for days (from the Great Lakes). It looked more like the Arctic than NY!

  17. Beautiful pictures and info of the amazing strength of water and ice.

  18. Joanne says:

    Nature’s Museum….I like that! I find your photos unbelievably fascinating. Thank you for sharing your magical winter, Eliza. 🙂

  19. These images are great. Never seen anything quite like this, it’s amazing! I think it’s fantastic that you managed to capture the broken ice flowing downstream at close range.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Matilde. Our winters can get really cold. We’re currently in a frigid spell with the temp this morning -6F (windchill makes it feel -25), so the river is building more ice. 🙂

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