Sunshine, blue skies and kayaks on Lake Champlain.
It almost looks like summer.
So long as you ignore the sheets of ice.
David Miskell and Don Perley aren't intimidated by freezing water temperatures.
In fact, they embrace them.
The adventurous duo wears about five layers of clothing, including wet suits.
They are part of a larger group of outdoor enthusiasts who kayak Lake Champlain all year long.
"It's a little bit of a thrill, doing something crazy," Miskell said.
"We go out and there's little mini icebergs and sheets of ice floating around and you can get a running start and get right up on one and take an ice break, just floating around on the iceberg," Perley said.
The group has paddled in just about every kind of weather imaginable; snow storms, wind storms, ice storms. You name it-- they've done it.
"We've been out a couple of times when it's been with the wind chill probably about 10 degrees below zero," Miskell said.
"In weather like this it gets too hot, but the solution to that is roll over in the water," Perley said. "It definitely gets cold. You get like a brain freeze headache like you do in the summer with ice cream."
This duo admits winter sea kayaking isn't for everyone.
You have to be an experienced paddler with proper gear and safety training.
And most stick close to shore.
"We never go out alone in the winter. It's just too dangerous," Miskell said.
So far, the group hasn't had many close calls, although getting in and out of the water can be a challenge.
Moving ice will occasionally block their route back to shore.
And other than a few birds, it's a view few ever get the chance to see.
"No boats, it's quiet," Miskell said. "And it's free. I'm not paying tons of money for a ski ticket."
Proof that just about any sport is possible-- no matter the season-- on Lake Champlain.
The sport is not entirely free; the kayak themselves cost $1,000 or more.
As you can imagine, open water is limited this time of year.
The group is usually forced to depart from access points between Burlington and Charlotte where the lake is at its widest.
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