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  • Walden Pond Ice-Out Update: February 21, 1997

    By Grades 3 & 4 Students
    Susan Wheelright & Lisa Berk's Class
    Fayerweather Street School
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

    Susan Wheelright

    We visited Walden Pond on a cold, snowless morning, February 7th. The pond was frozen and the ice was about 6 inches thick on the average - closer to 2 inches near the shore. Denise Morrissey of the Park Service told us that the pond had frozen over on January 18th, later than in most years. Usually the pond freezes in December and sometimes thaws and refreezes in January. She said the pond water below the ice was nearly 32 degrees. As far as she knows, nobody has ever fallen through the ice at Walden. Crows, nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, woodpeckers, a few robins and one red-tailed hawk have been seen near the pond recently.

    When we spoke to Denise a few days later (Feb. 11), she reported that ice fishermen and ice skaters were using the pond. The pond has also been making thundering noises. In his famous book,Walden, published in 1854, Henry David Thoreau described similar sounds.

    "The pond began to boom about an hour after sunrise, when it felt the influence of the sun's rays slanted upon it from over the hills; it stretched itself and yawned like a waking man with a gradually increasing tumult, which was kept up three or four hours. It took a short siesta at noon, and boomed once more toward night, as the sun was withdrawing his influence."