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.
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.
The depth and breadth of this particular ice upheaval is hard to capture in a photo.
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.
The blues were amazing …
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.
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 …
… to a fresh hairline crack in the snow with gurgling water fighting deep underneath the frozen surface to try and break free …
… Lake Superior was sending a reminder that Spring may be a long way off, but she won’t be frozen forever.
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.
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