Every once in a great while the ice on New Pond (just west of the Stone Barn in Hemlock Gorge) is both thick enough and smooth enough to skate on.  Now is such a moment! (as of January 26, 2018)

– How thick is the ice and is it safe?

Today I drilled in 3 locations, measuring 10″ at each hole.  The State of Minnesota says that is thick enough to drive a car on:

 www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html   I will have the drill with me so you can test for yourself.  I’ll also have a safety rope.

 – Saturday is projected to be in the 50s so will that melt the ice? 
It takes much more than a few hours of above freezing weather to melt this much ice.  Also, New Pond is in the shadow of a big Needham hill to the south and has very little flow under it, so it melts slower than other places. The pleasant temperature will make skating very enjoyable, so dress in layers.

 – Sounds like fun but I don’t have skates. 
Come anyway to enjoy a lovely day outdoors and the classic pond skating scene.

– Where to park and meet? 
Easiest pond access is along Route 9 just west of the Stone Barn.  There are a few parking places at the Stone Barn (but please don’t block people in).  There are a few places at the public lot on the corner of Boylston and Ellis Street.  If you park at the Wellesley Office Park then walk east to pass safely under Rt. 9 at Ellis St. Otherwise, park up on Summer St. (NUF) or Reservoir St. (Needham Heights) and enjoy a hike down to the Stone Barn.  Do NOT try to skate from the footbridge (near the Newcomb granite) on the narrow stream that leads to New Pond – this ice is not measured and likely unsafe.

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