Put On Your Big Girl Mukluks and Enjoy Winter’s Beauty

Even with one moosehide mukluk topped off with black duct tape since my dear four-legged companion found it to be a delicious, albeit expensive, chew toy (leaving the entire boot liner and bottom 2/3 of the lovely chestnut exterior intact), I have been “enjoying” our never ending stretch of sub-zero temps this winter (day 64 and counting …).  As an aside, isn’t that a testament to the wonder of the Steger mukluk? Unrivaled winter footwear after 20 years of living up north, keeping my toes toasty warm, enhanced by stick-on toe warmers only in the most brutal of temps (which, I admit, we’ve had a lot of this winter – did I mention, this is Duluth’s 64th day with a recorded sub-zero temp this winter?!?).

But I digress … as I shared with you in this week’s Photo Challenge response, the frigid temperatures have produced some amazing photo ops on the frozen expanse of Lake Superior.  Last weekend, the sunny skies produced a stunning blue reflection in the ice piles, created by the powerful force of Lake Superior’s shifting waters.  The ice cover on the Lake is the largest in decades, so one must be mindful that these scenes may be decades in coming again.

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

Drawing closer to the large pile of broken ice shards, the bluish hue became more intense, waxing and waning with the sun as the clouds drifted across the sky.

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

The depth and breadth of this particular ice upheaval is hard to capture in a photo.

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

Upon close inspection, the pile appeared to be manmade, as if a snowplow had come along and pushed a long band of broken ice together to clear the flat expanse of the Lake beyond.

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

The blues were amazing …

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

One could be lulled into a false sense of security, seeing the shoreline so close, the apparent stagnant pile of ice melded together, and the thick ice cover below.  Mother Nature reminded me that even on a beautiful, blue-sky day, the wind can whip up the powdery blanket, and cause the water and ice to creak and groan like an awakening giant.

Wind-whipped Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

Walking back to shore, the ice pile receded from view, and I was more cognizant of the living mass beneath my feet.  Signs of life were evident, from a large, winding fissure that had opened and closed over time …

Ice Fissures on Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

… to a fresh hairline crack in the snow with gurgling water fighting deep underneath the frozen surface to try and break free …

Ice Fissures on Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

… Lake Superior was sending a reminder that Spring may be a long way off, but she won’t be frozen forever.

Ice Fissures on Lake Superior ~ Duluth, MN

With the winds and periodically “warming” temperatures (I think we hit 20°F (-6°C) once in the last week or so), the large plates of ice shift, and open water appears here and there even as the temperatures battle to reach double digits in recent days.  The day after taking the photos above, I headed up to the Hawk Ridge overlook and saw the hint of open water (or at least more tenuous ice cover) in the distance.

Winter view from Hawk Ridge ~ Duluth, MN

Has it been a long winter?  Certainly, but with warmer temps these ice-covered postcard scenes will melt from view.  So, in the meantime, put on your big girl mukluks; get out and enjoy Nature’s wonder.

Ciao! ~ Kat

33 thoughts on “Put On Your Big Girl Mukluks and Enjoy Winter’s Beauty

  1. It appears you still have a positive attitude towards winter, good for you (I myself am definitely tired of it and ready for spring). I love that particular shade of green-blue that sometimes can be seen in the ice – I don’t know why it appeals to me the way it does; you captured some of it. How far away from shore were you?

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    1. Let me tell you, the crabby meter has been off the charts some days — but even with the bitter cold, getting fresh air and outdoor time does wonders for mental health (I guess I should be thankful my son took up Nordic skiing and spectating races requires hours of standing outdoors in frigid temps??).

      For these photos I was probably 30 feet from shore? Ice was plenty thick, really no concerns in terms of safety, but as noted always reminded conditions can change without a lot of warning.

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  2. Great message, great photos! Unfortunately when I had my “big girl ski boots” on this weekend on the *eastern* shore of the big lake, the wind was blowing so much snow that I couldn’t even tell where shore was! Glad I got to see what the ice looked like over in Duluth! 🙂

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  3. Cheryl Howland

    You have totally captured the beauty, the fierceness of both the Lake and the winter splendor and also awe! The sounds of the movement, creaking, and groaning must have been a bit intimidating at times! 30 feet out is darned impressive! So Corbin by your side?

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  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned | Travel. Garden. Eat.

    1. I am not a huge risk-taker when it comes to venture out on a body of water like Lake Superior in the winter — but sticking relatively close to Shore when the ice has been solid for so long is a pretty safe bet!

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      1. The scenes and scope of the ice are magical…. but to put on snow shoes and go out for a walk, just sounds so way out! The realm of arctic explorers. I’ve been learning a lot about winter’s form from your neck of the woods. Fascinating what’s coming through the blog space.

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  5. The Digital Attic Photography

    You make a valid point about a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Lake Superior frozen to this extent And you remind me that I need to step away from my video editing and get back out on the ice with my camera. Thanks!

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  6. These are really excellent! I could almost want to experience all that ice and cold. 🙂 Seriously, you have great images here. The 3rd, 6th and 7th particularly enchant me. Gorgeous!

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