Thursday, March 6, 2014
Ice Mountains at Stoney Point
I just got home from a two-night visit to see my wife Jessica over in Washburn, Wisconsin. She works for the National Park Service and has been over there helping out Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with the high visitor traffic they've been receiving due to the publicity surrounding the sea caves. She had one day off and we spent that day skiing some of the local trails around Washburn. It was a perfect day for skiing and we had a blast! Just before I headed for home yesterday morning, I checked my email and had a message from my friend Paul. He told me I should stop and check out Stoney Point between Duluth and Two Harbors. He was told that there were massive piles of ice that had just formed at Stoney Point. So, I hit the road with eager anticipation of checking out the point on my way home.
There is a road that goes along the length of Stoney Point, accessed from the east and the west. Since I was approaching from the west, that's the entrance I took. As I first drove along the road, I didn't see anything extraordinary in terms of ice. There was surface ice out on the lake as far as the eye could see, but not really any ice piles bigger than the "normal" ones that you see. So, I was a little disappointed... then, as I rounded the corner of the point, I could see these massive piles of blue through the small patch of woods separating the road from the lakeshore. My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe that those were ice piles that I was seeing!
I pulled over and found a spot that didn't look too difficult for walking down to the shore. Even so, I still had to break through more than knee-deep snow to get down to the lake. Once I got there, I stared UP at these huge, intensely blue piles of ice. The largest piles were at least 3 feet or more above my head, and I'm fairly tall at just over 6 feet in height. The plates of ice where thick, too. Some of them were 5 to 6 inches thick, which is a lot more substantial than the more common 2 to 3 inch thick plates that we normally see. I spent the next hour walking along these giant piles of ice, taking picture after picture as I went. These have been the most impressive ice piles I've seen so far this winter. Hopefully there is more of this in store for us in the coming weeks!