Lake Erie “Flips”

Last weekend, we visited friends who have a house on Lake Erie.

During the winter a lot of driftwood washed up on the shore. Since the lake never froze last year, there was quite a lot. It required a chain saw, a lot of elbow grease, and a big bonfire to get rid of it.

Dave loves to scavenge these treasures to look for pieces to use in his woodworking. After he did this for about an hour, all of us walked west on the beach towards Ashtabula.

A table made, in part, from Lake Erie driftwood

Everywhere, there were dead fish in various stages of decomposition. Most of the fish had been all or partially eaten by the birds over the past week so there was surprisingly little fish smell.

It seems that the lake has an inversion about every two years. With the cooling temperatures, the cooler surface water flips with the bottom water that has less oxygen. This inversion is believed to have caused the fish die off.

Some people who live near the lake know this inversion phenomenon but they think this time was different. They saw brown sludge and smelled sewer gas.  Environmentalists are still investigating water samples.

The lake has amazing capabilities to try to cleanse itself. It sends up all kinds of treasures on the beach. People love to find beach glass but my favorite found items on this trip were the shoes. Several beachcombers before me had picked up shoes and hung them in bushes. Every shoe offered a story. The baby shoe especially intrigued me.  I found a flip-flop and hung it up. The resulting art gives new meaning to “shoe tree.” It also offers an alternative definition to Lake Erie “Flips.”

Shoe tree

Shoe in a tree along Lake Erie