A pier on Lake Michigan, in winter, covered in piles of ice chunks several feet tall doesn't seem to be a prime destination for many, but for us, it was a perfect weekend getaway. Most people visit beaches in the summer, and when I mention I'm heading to the beach in February, they seem to think I'm heading to the tropics. I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to walk on the frozen shore - I could see a tropical beach any time of the year, but the ice boulders and shelf ice are only here for a while. Mix in giant icicles created by frozen spray from Lake Michigan, and we have the perfect spot to visit on a sunny winter afternoon.
We headed onto the frozen pier carefully; it was my youngest son's first time up close at a frozen lighthouse. Knowing the area and the construction of the pier is important, especially when bringing someone else with you. It was easy to see where the concrete pier ended even though it was covered in ice that extended many feet into the lake. We remained safely on the concrete areas, and avoided any areas where a slip would result in a slide into the cold lake. We stopped a few meters from the lighthouse, noticing the piles of ice further up were large enough to carry a falling person into the water like a toboggan.
From the vantage point of the pier, we could view the shelf ice from the windward side, the side facing the lake. Thankfully, on this visit, nobody was spotted walking on the dangerous shelf ice.
Posted by Tom Gill at Friday, February 13, 2015