Once the ice was chopped away from the railing, allowing us to climb over safely - more importantly to climb back over to safety, I was greeted by the sun-bathed ice against a deep blue sky. The lighthouse tower is 35 feet tall, and the catwalk was built to protect lighthouse keepers and workers from the dangerous waves of Lake Michigan. It's easy to see by the ice formations, that the catwalk would do little to prevent workers from getting soaked by the spray, and possibly washed over the rail.
A freeze like this so early in the season is unusual, and welcomed. The deck of the pier is only wet, as the waves of Lake Michigan pour over it. The water is just above freezing, so it kept the ice from forming on the deck, allowing safe passage without the worry of slipping into the cold water. In a few more weeks, the water will freeze almost instantly on the deck, creating very dangerous conditions for visitors.
Posted by Tom Gill at Tuesday, November 25, 2014