Icing Up Again After a Short Thaw

The outer light of the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouses is ice free and visible after a week of relatively warm weather - at least for Febrary.

Today's colder temperatures and high winds are once again building ice on the catwalk leading to the lighthouse. The 15 to 20 foot thick mounds of shelf ice still engulf most of the pier and all of the lakeshore as far as the eye can see.

Today's walk to the outer light wasn't as dangerous as the last - this time there was exposed ground on the pier instead of solid ice. We'll see what tomorrow's weather brings.

Winter Well

I've been visiting this Artesian well for a while now, but only in the warm weather. The road next to the well is closed most of the winter, and not plowed. I was curious to see how the well looked in the middle of winter - is it mostly frozen? Does it have ice formations on it several feet thick?

So I parked about a mile away, and began my walk to the well. Half the walk was down a plowed road with about an inch of snow on it, but the other half was down the closed, unplowed road with up to a foot of snow on it.
Artesian Well in Winter
Once there, I found the well running, and very little ice around it. What was there was attractive, but not nearly as interesting as I thought it could be. Still, these wells interest me, they flow without any pumps because the ground water level is higher than the opening of the well.

And the water tasted as good as ever........

A February Stoll on the Beach

As a person who really doesn't like winter or cold weather, I find myself drawn to photography ice and snow - especially along the shoreline. Contrary to almost everyone else, I find a winter walk along the shore to be beautiful and inspiring. It's a totally different experience, almost alien. No sound of waves crashing, no other people, not much sand exposed, and no clear view of water, only mounds and mounds of ice and snow.

If you haven't been to the lakeshore in the winter, make sure to take a trip this month to experience it first hand. Just don't venture onto the mounds of shelf ice.

Exploring the Ice Cave

Entering the ice caves formed by the frozen waterfall and the canyon wall, the boys watch their step as they explore in the eerie light filtering through the sediment-stained ice.

This was a great place to spend an afternoon exploring.

Dual Waterfalls

An often overlooked branch of the canyon in Matthiessen State park has two waterfalls close to one another. In winter, it's very easy to cross the frozen stream and visit them. You can walk behind both waterfalls and enter the cave formed by the frozen water and the canyon walls.

The falls are around 20 feet high.

Out in the blizzard

The boys were out in the snow toward the end of the blizzard that dumped nearly 20 inches of snow in the area. 40 mph winds kicked up the snow creating near white-out conditions, stinging the face and making it almost impossible to see for small bits of time.

With all that wind, some grass is still visible in the park, making it look like only an inch or two fell - until you walk into the 5 foot drifts!

The Drive Home

The blizzard began around 2pm on Tuesday, and within minutes, it was apparent it was going to be a big storm. The drive home from work took around two hours and there was only about two inches of snow on the ground. The blowing snow limited visibility to about 1/4 mile.

I grabbed this photo as I was driving home - at about 20 mph.

Rolling Ice

Lake Michigan is beginning to freeze, and shelf ice is forming along the shoreline. Aside from being dangerous to walk on, it's performs a great service to the beach - it protects it from erosion. High winds during the winter often cause more damage than summer storms, so a nice thick rim of shelf ice is a helpful thing.