Cobbled Ice Path

Cobbled Ice PathFollowing the break up of the ice on Lake Michigan, some of the drift ice made it back to shore with the help of some big waves. These chunks piled up on the beach in places, then new shelf ice formed at the shore. The chunks provided an interesting cobbled path to follow into the distance, and a great place for the kids to get some exercise. We wonderd exactly where each of these chunks were formed, where they spent the winter, and how long they were adrift before landfall. Perhaps they were local, perhaps they drifted from far northern Lake Michigan. Either way, the shore of Indiana was their final resting place.

Remnants of Winter

Remnants of WinterThe almost endless shelf ice mounds have all but disappeared, and liquid Lake Michigan is once again a reality. This winter hid that water under ice as far as the eye could see. Walking northeast along Washington Park Beach in Michigan City, Indiana, we encountered the last bit of shelf ice. The ice extended the length of the shore to the horizon, could this have been the southern extent of the ice that day? No more ice south, only north? It's possible. This little remnant of winter gave us the unusual opportunity to safely investigate the shelf ice up close. It was safe since the water was only about a foot deep at the end! It was still dramatic, and interesting to see the formations, as well as the physics behind pancake ice. The small waves pushed floating ice against some recesses in the shelf ice, so the ice would hit and spin, hit and spin, rounding the edges to form "pancakes." I'm pretty sure this is all but a memory now.....four days later.

A Challenge for Top Bird

A Challenge for Top Bird Standing on the last bits of shelf ice along the shore of Lake Michigan, these seagulls loudly challenge one another for the spot of top bird. Most of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore shelf ice has melted completely, but a rather large area of Washington Park Beach remained frozen. Possibly the southern extent of the ice at this time? Perhaps, but at any rate, it made for a very interesting walk on the beach today. The area is looking a lot more like Spring now, with wildlife awakening, sand visible, boats on Lake Michigan, and bulldozers replacing the sand blown into the parking lot over the winter. Soon, the beach will swarm with sunbathers and swimmers; can't wait.

The Last Grip

The Last Grip
Probably the last of winter's grip on the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouses and channel markers.  Over the winter, ice built up on the concrete piers marking the banks of St. Joseph River - in places, feet thick. The increasingly sunny days bring with them warmth and the ability to melt this coating, once again revealing the structures underneath.

The piers were lined with fishermen, the shore dotted with seagulls and eager beach-goers, and the lake with melting drift ice. Warmer weather, and storms this week will almost certainly eliminate the last of winter's creations.