Ice Caves of Lake Superior

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Kevin Roach, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    It's getting that time soon. Time to hike across the ice to Lake Superior's various ice caves. I have a place on the south side I like to visit. Devil's Island in the Apostles. But the north shore has some amazing places also. Up by Tettagouche Park and Gooseberry falls. Winter on the big lake offers some great oppurtunities. But damn, that wind is cold.
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Have fun ... I'll stick here where it is going to be a sunny, 80°F (27C) day.
     
  3. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    Ha! Robert

    I've taken a lot of pictures on the Big Island. There is defintely something to be said for 80 degrees, palm trees, and sunny beaches. I once lugged a huge old calumet out on the ice and when I got there the shutter was frozen. But then again, the mosquitos weren't a problem.
     
  4. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Yep... and none of those hardy UP-kamakazi-killer-flies ! :wink:P I hope you'll post some shots of those ice caves! I'd love to see them!
     
  5. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I thought Aug 15 was the only day of the year you couldn't trek across the ice :wink:

    Mike
     
  6. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    no no mike

    Aug 15 is the only day Lake Superior doesn't FEEL like ice.
     
  7. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    aint much more fun than the adventure of a tripod, a camera, 3-4 layers of clothing, -20F without the windchill factor, 25mph wind gusts and no one else around to bother you!

    and dont forget the silence.
     
  8. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    Hi Kevin,

    So what's the best way to find out whether the ice is safe? I've read that the currents and such can make it change a lot even from day to day. Do you use snowshoes? Devil's Island must be at least 10 miles from the mainland, isn't it?

    thanks,
    Jerry
     
  9. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    The outer islands are snowmobile trips. You can drive a car to Madeline island. I wouldn't go unless I see vehicles already using the trails.

    There's some other places on the shore that are easier access. I load up the kids and lunch. Take the family and ski over. Frog Bay and Raspberry bay are on the Indian reservation. You'd need permission to access it from shore but can get there from the water side.

    Another trip is up the shoreline from Saxon harbor. Actually the whole shoreline is covered with rocky caves or undercuts. And they all drip water. Just takes a little exploration to find a nice spot.

    There's a place just north of Duluth. I can't remember the exact spot though. Someone brought me there and I wasn't paying attention. Very easy one mile walk to some great caves. Farther north around Tettegouche is the BEST.
     
  10. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    This sounds like lots of fun, but please be very, very careful. I come from a small Wisconsin town, population 2000. Two weeks ago, a 42 year old father went out ice skating with his 10 and 6 year old daughters. At the edges of the pond, the ice was at least 3 inches thick. The 10 year old skated out towards the middle and broke through the ice. The father sent the 6 year old for help and then went to rescue his daughter. The father and 10 year old both died.

    A few years ago, a 70 year old man local man drove his car onto Random Lake. He was going ice fishing. The car broke through the ice. The man and his dog both died.

    Finally, a few years ago, I was photographing a fogged in lighthouse from a dock. It was early December and the temp was about 20F. There was a thin sheet of ice over the water. The dock went out into the water about 50 yards, and it was about 3 feet from the bottom of the metal dock to the ice. While I was photographing, my Bernese Mountain Dog, Jacob, was in a down stay. When I finished, I released him, saying "OK" He got up, barked, and jumped off the end of the pier and crashed through the ice. Nobody was around, visibility was poor (remember the fog?), and he couldn't swim to shore because of the ice. I jumped in. The water was over my head. Luckily, I could hold on the bottom of the pier with one hand, but I wasn't strong enough to lift him up and out, as he weighed over 70 lbs. I tried for a few minutes, but I couldn't do it. I don't know if you've ever been in 33* water, but your strength goes very quickly. I was barely able to get out. I started screaming for help. Luckly someone heard me, and he had a rope in the trunk of his car. We made a lasso and were able to pull Jacob out of the water. He was in for about 15 to 20 minutes total, and I don't think he would have lasted much longer.

    (You can see a picture of Jacob at www.desmidt.net . Go to Canines and he's the second image.)

    So please be very careful. Even people who have lived in a cold environment all their lives can make bad judgments.
     
  11. Poco

    Poco Member

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    Wow, those are terrifying stories, Peter. I remember the tragedy a couple weeks ago with the father and 10 yr old. Horrible.

    Your story about your dog resonates as well. If one of mine went in, I'd go in after him too, but am less sure it'd have as happy an ending. Glad it worked out for you.
     
  12. Chris Fraser

    Chris Fraser Member

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    I have to agree... I recall February 2004 - Photographing the "Grande Chutes" in Quebec. It is quite a piece back in the hills along some logging trails, followed by a good hike through thigh deep snow. My brother came with me, we took take two Jeeps (in case one got stuck or broke down), it was -20° with a bit of a breeze. Lets just say my cable release was no longer flexible... After an hour of working with no gloves (using the Arca-Swiss) I had managed to take a few pictures. My fingers were numb, my brother finally had the fire going and the water boiling for some soup to go with our lunch. That is when I realized I left the soup in the Jeep. We had a good laugh, packed up and hiked back to the Jeeps. (hey, at least I didn't forget any camera gear). I took a can of smoked Herrings (in a hot sauce of course) and mixed it in with some cold KD... When you are that cold and hungry it tasted like a gourmet meal....

    Photographing in the winter can be an amazing experience...