The first time I experienced ice on Lake Superior was several weeks ago when I swam in her icy waters following a ski on the Onion River. The ice that day, however, was a paper-thin sheet resting just along the shore.
Yesterday, as I walked along the Ridge Loop at Wolf Ridge, I looked out over Lake Superior and was surprised to see not a glimmering surface of blue but an opaque white covering of ice over the majority of the surface of the lake! I blinked a few times, confirmed that the Lake was certainly covered in ice, and dashed back home to the West Dorm. A quick inquiry with fellow naturalists yielded one companion on a quick adventure to see the ice on the Lake. We took off in my car with less than an hour to spare for our spontaneous journey. It took us seventeen minutes to arrive at Crystal Cove, where we parked on the side of the road and trudged through knee-deep snow down to the shore. It was 4:30pm.
We laughed, we strolled, we shared a couple of fine Spring brews and we took a few photos. A juvenile Bald Eagle flew overhead, and a River Otter surprised us off shore. It was a wonderful way to spend the last few moments of the afternoon.
The following morning’s promise of a lovely sunrise was too tempting to let pass by. Another inquiry with my housemates provided two new companions for an early-morning visit to the Lake. We departed Wolf Ridge at 5:45am, arriving to the shore at Crystal Cove at about 6:00am. By the time we had found the perfect spot to start a small fire the sun was just beginning to peek over the edge of the horizon. The light shone magnificently off of the ice formations on the surrounding cliff-sides.
6:37AM – the very first showing of the sun; a brilliant burst of light
6:39AM – three-quarters of the sun over the horizon
6:40AM – the sun in its entireity showing; light beginning to spread across the lake
6:41AM – reflected light from the sun spreading halfway across the lake towards our shore
6:42AM – sky appears in a thin band below the sun; sunlight reflecting across the entire lake to our shore
We left after a few cups of chai. When we arrived back at my car we realized my first mistake of the morning – leaving my emergency flashers on while we were watching the sun rise…my battery was dead. Fortunately for those of us that live in rural areas, the first car we flagged down stopped and allowed us the use of a cell phone to call a permanent staff member at Wolf Ridge who was able to rescue us. We waited by the side of the road, eating granola bars, until he arrived to jump my car. We arrived back at Wolf Ridge only a few minutes late for our Monday morning seminar on story telling with Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux.
A Great start to the day.