Even since my canoe was swiped from my backyard — I assume by area methamphetamine aficionados
seeking aluminium to sell as scrap to feed their habit — I’ve been looking for ways to explore the minor islands that dot the local waterways.

I’ve shied away from inflatable watercraft because of possible punctures and have resisted swimming for fear of the flesh-eating bacteria (and I’ve resisted buying a new canoe because we don’t have a garage).

Luckily, I can get my island-hopping fix in the dead of winter by simply walking. After weeks of sub-zero temperatures (and there are plenty of weeks’ worth), the watery obstacles become a smooth, somewhat slippery path to the unknown.

Sure, winter island hopping lacks the relaxing warm air one finds in the summer, but at least there aren’t any mosquitos and poison ivy. And the low temps also slow down the above-mentioned bacteria.

A few years ago, we walked out to a Dead Man’s Island, which was mainly a frozen mud flat in the Cedar River. Last year, we hiked out to the island in Brinker lake to find a geocache (more here ). And a few weeks ago, I tromped out to the wooded island at Meyers Lake. Not that there was much out there. I did find the remnants of an old recliner in the vegetation.

I have another month or so to plan more expeditions before the season is out.

If you go: Don’t forget your ice safety card courtesy of Iowa Department of Natural Resources.