Thursday, February 2, 2012

In search of February ice at Shovel Point

View from Shovel Point, February 1, 2012
I went for a lovely walk yesterday out to Shovel Point, along the rugged shoreline of Tettegouche State Park. Mine were the first human footprints in the meager snow, along with a rambling deer's, a scattered squirrel's, and a deliberate fox'. 

The view from Shovel Point looking west is classic North Shore. Palisade Head looms in the distance. Cliffs and coves stud the shore. 

But there was something very important missing: the ice.

It's February, the freezing month. In a "normal" North Shore winter, the water of Lake Superior is finally cold enough this month that it can really freeze solid. Normally the ice starts in the little bays and coves, then on one dramatic cold and calm night it covers the lake as far as you can see. If we're lucky, a succession of cold days freezes the ice hard, and mere mortals can take off on the ice and down the shoreline.

Shovel Point observation deck
It was the same story at the far end of Shovel Point, at the dramatic observation deck perched on the storm-washed shore: no ice anywhere to be seen.

I love the feeling of walking out onto frozen Lake Superior, of gingerly stepping below tall cliffs, of feeling the thrill of a pile of ice slabs sliding underneath like well-greased cookie sheets. The lack of ice on the North Shore this year hits me nearly as hard as the lack of snow. Goldarnit, it's February, it's supposed to be freezing out here.

1 comment: said...

Fastastic pictures! Wish I was there! And perhaps a cheese burger at the Rustic Inn afterwards.