Frozen Beach

Even after the thaw we had last week, the shelf ice on Lake Michigan remains. In places it's almost 20 feet tall where the waves piled up the chunks of flow ice. From this perspective, it appears the beach continues for a few hundred feet toward the lighthouse, but in fact, I'm standing at the shore, everything you see is ice. The waves and wind have deposited sand on top of the shelf ice, making it look like an extension of the beach. While the ice may be several feet thick in places, it's likely there are areas less than an inch thick, making it deadly to walk upon.

Here's the same area only a few months before:
Soon it Will Be Frozen

St. Joseph, Michigan

Evening at the Dunes

Following a long walk around the icy beach, and a very slippery climb up these dunes (in thigh-deep snow) we were treated to a bit of sun. Lake Michigan was frozen almost as far as you could see, and the warm sunlight bathed the ice as it set far off to our left.

Sand Covered Snow

Winds are beginning to cover the snow with sand from the ever moving sand dunes at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Morning Frost

Early morning fog and cold temperatures created some excellent hoar frost on Sunday. At just the right time, the skies cleared and the sun came out- just long enough for me to capture these images.

Here's a close up of some branches. I'm still amazed at how the 1/8th inch long crystals form almost perpendicular to the stem of the plant and stick out like thorns.
Frosty Morning

Glazed in Ice

A thick layer of ice glazes the supports for the catwalk leading to the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouse.

It's amazing how the spray from Lake Michigan can reach so far up the catwalk. The wind creates some great patterns in the ice as well.

Sunny Winter Day Along Lake Michigan

Weeks of cold weather and the recent lake effect snow storm created a beautiful winter landscape out of Lake Michigan. The great lake was frozen as far as the eye could see.

Snow Drifts

Following a few days of constant lake effect snow, Porter and LaPorte Counties had their share of snow drifts - especially along the lake front. This drift was taller than the van on the road! The plows kept it off the street, but high winds were inching it closer and closer to the traffic.

Clinging Ice

About an hour before sunset, the clouds allowed a bit of blue sky and sunshine to reach the ground. The low angle of the sun offered perfect lighting of the outer range light of the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouses.

High winds and single digit temperatures covered the windward side of the lighthouse with ice. The ice on the catwalk appears to bend in the wind like Spanish Moss hanging from a Live Oak tree. The ice formed while the winds blew, causing the icicles to form interesting angles pointing away from the wind.

Gelid Close Up

Gelid Close Up
Gelid Close Up

Following a slippery and hazardous walk on the fenced in portion of the pier in St. Joseph, Michigan, we were able to safely walk out past the inner lighthouse to reach the outer lighthouse. The wind and water had splashed up onto the 35 foot tall lighthouse and completely covered it in a thick layer of ice.

The patterns formed by the high winds are very interesting, giving the lighthouse the appearance of a hairy monster.

Chris couldn't resist getting up close to capture some great images.

Glowing Ice

click to enlarge
Glowing Ice
Glowing Ice

Wind, cold temperatures and Lake Michigan combine to make interesting ice sculptures. These two inch diameter railings on the St. Joseph, Michigan breakwater are being covered with ice over a foot thick. A few more windy days and the railings will be covered in ice up to three feet thick.

Here, the ice glistened as it captured the setting sun. The surface of the pier was also covered in several inches of smooth ice, making the walk to the inner lighthouse very difficult.