I did a quick survey of the Hennepin Canal ice on Tuesday when I was in the area. Since there was 1" - 2" of wet snow on top of the ice, that I only had the day in the area, and that the ice was unsafe in many spots, I mostly just did a survey of various locations rather than trying to skate. While the ice was strong enough that ice fisherman were out on the canal in more protected, still-water areas such as at the lagoon near the Visitor Center and Izaak Walton park north of Geneseo--in other areas there was open water (even by the Visitor Center on the canal), and especially at the eastern end of the canal. Besides patches of open water, there were other places with weak, frosty, 1"-thick ice, several places were 3" to 4" thick, while the thickest section I measured was up towards 5" of clear ice. There was a lot of randomness to the ice quality and thickness as it varied with location based on the depth and current of the canal at a specific location. Note that the slow-moving Green River, which runs in the same area, was completely open water while most of the Hennepin in the same area had ice cover of varying thickness. With warmer temperatures (and further, with rain coming), the ice will become weaker or nonexistent in some areas, but a coming cold period next week may mean better ice possibly towards New Year's. Wait and see...
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.