Ice Caves of Lake Superior
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.
Have fun ... I'll stick here where it is going to be a sunny, 80°F (27C) day.
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.
Yep... and none of those hardy UP-kamakazi-killer-flies ! P I hope you'll post some shots of those ice caves! I'd love to see them!
Originally Posted by Kevin Roach
I thought Aug 15 was the only day of the year you couldn't trek across the ice
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no no mike
Aug 15 is the only day Lake Superior doesn't FEEL like ice.
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.
"Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish, that an image may not remain merely an image."
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?
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.
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.