In the context of paddling season, it's interesting terrain to think about trips commencing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness amid some icy waters in transition. Or, at least, trips so close to the heels of ice out.
BWCA.com, an indispensable champion of canoe country with entry points and lake maps, active forums and guides, declared ice out in its newsletter Tuesday:
"Ice out has made its way across the BWCA with some western lakes clearing by May 8th while many gunflint trail lakes held ice until May 15th. This year's ice out was just shy by a day or so of the latest ice out in the last 18 years."
Pete Boulay, a climatologist in the Department of Natural Resources, said the active May across northeast Minnesota was mostly a repeat of 2022. What comes through in the data, too, is how much ice out has varied in recent years, he added.
The median lake ice out date for Lake Vermilion is April 30. In 2021, it went out April 15. This year it was May 10. Its latest date is May 23, 1950.
What hasn't varied too much is the typical last lake in the state to go: Greenwood near Grand Marais. The median for Greenwood is May 9. It went out May 18 this year.
"Cook County away from [Lake] Superior is usually the last place to hang onto a snow cover. Greenwood is also the most-northeast lake we track. It's fairly large and quite deep [112 feet]," Boulay said in an email to the Star Tribune, adding that smaller and shallower lakes heat up faster.