The wild winter this year has brought frigid temperatures, mountains of snow, and large waves to the Republic. We can now add ice caves to that list!
The spectacular formations on Lake Michigan have been caused by the way the lake has frozen this year: a mixture of sudden freezing caused by historic low temperatures, a gradual pileup of pack ice, and wave action adding freezing spray to the equation. The results are stunning: cavernous caves, precipitous cliffs, and an ice pack stretching to the Manitous.
Naturally, we couldn't wait to see it for ourselves!
The information we had been given told us to head to Gills Pier Road, just a little north of Leland. Apparently others had heard the same advice! When we got there, there were literally hundreds of cars parked at the side of the road and throngs of people walking, snowshoeing, and skiing along it. It looked like summertime crowds!
Wanting to escape the crowds, we headed farther north up the coast towards Northport, and turned in at a deserted Peterson Park.
A short hike down to the lake and across the ice brought us to the spectacular sights below.
You can find more information about the ice caves on Traverse Magazine's website. They put together a nice photo gallery and a brief guide on visiting the ice caves. A few words of caution if you do decide to head out to see the ice caves:
- Exercise Extreme Caution! We've been having some warmer temperatures lately. This means the ice will be much more unstable. Proceed slowly and carefully and do not venture out too far. Trust us, you do not want to fall through!
- Bring a buddy! Do not venture out alone. Bring at least one other person, preferably more.
- Dress appropriately! Wear warm clothes in layers and be sure to wear good boots that won't let the snow in. Snowshoes or Yaktrax can be helpful. Bring a change of clothing too, just in case!
So what do you think of the ice caves? Did you get out to see them? Let us know in the comments below!