Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ice on Lake Michigan

On the Beach in Grand Haven, MI: January 15, 2011

Confessions of an Ice Watcher

As I walk out on the icy shoreline on a cold January day, the wind blows through my wool balaclava and my foot slips on glazed patches on the sand.

My leather gloves are not warm enough to keep the wind from freezing my fingers.

My long down coat though is keeping me warm enough to hike along the shoreline.

I pull my Canon (camera that is) out of my pocket. I didn’t want my camera to freeze. Ice fascinates me. My distant relative, Roald Amundsen was a polar explorer from the north of Norway who studied ice and figured out how to reach the South Pole with dog sleds. Maybe that explains my fascination. Maybe. Or it may be that the way the wind and waves change the ice patterns every day is the fascination. From my perch on the dunes, I watch.

In mid-February of 1979, four of the five Great Lakes froze all the way across. This was the first year this had happened in the recorded history of the National Weather Service. For years the harbor has not had fast ice where the Coast Guard Ice breaker had to try and break through.

I watch. I walk and I watch some more.  There is information about ice on the Great Lakes in the Dynamic Great Lakes.

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