Ice Caves Return to Leelanau County

When our weekend plans were canceled this past Saturday, we took advantage of finally-sunny skies and tolerable temps and hit the open road for one of our regular rideabouts through Leelanau, in search of whatever fun we could find along the frozen Lake Michigan shoreline.

I’m happy to report that the shoreline delivered (as it always does), with the now-famous Leelanau ice caves making a repeat appearance this winter. Here are some of the formations that greeted us along the north end of Empire beach.

 

The caves seemed to be much closer to the proper shoreline than I remember them being at Gill’s Pier last year. Jim and I took Jackson (the soon-to-be 6 year old) and Chance (the puggle) through some of the more sound-looking sections of the slippery landscape, then I ventured a little further out on a solo second pass. Some of the more top-heavy ice structures gave me pause as I considered just what might happen when they do finally topple over as the melt approaches. Eventually, the very loud sound of shifting ice drove the point home and me off the ice. (Always exercise caution, right?!?) :)

 

We capped the day off with a sunset that couldn’t quite spill past it’s low cloud cover, instead leaving a shoreline full of winter explorers gawking at the pleasant surprise of an evening sun pillar.

Beautiful fire and ice. I, for one, am cutting Old Man Winter a little more slack in exchange. :)

Fall’s Final Hurrah

Last week peak color finally rolled across the Northern Michigan lake shore, and the sun it brought with it bathed Traverse City in resplendent color. Had I been nay-saying the intensity of this year’s Autumnal hues compared to last? Perhaps. Did my husband bid me to hold my tongue? Maybe. Was he right? Naturally. :)

After a spell of consecutive rainy days, the clouds finally cracked early last week. The sun beckoned me out for a mid-day jaunt up Old Mission Peninsula, where it’s rays set the Chateau Grand Traverse vineyard ablaze. I reveled in fortuitous timing, nabbing as many shots as I could before dragging myself back to work.

Better still (IMHO), was the little slice of heaven that yesterday’s sun brought right to my own front door. We’re in the fortunate position of living right across the street from a little wooded park. Though its flanked by neighborhood streets and the elementary school, it’s trails feel remarkably secluded. Meandering through the park when it’s back-lit by afternoon sun feels otherworldly.

Alas, the color is fading fast. We’re even slated for possible snow flurries on Halloween. Honestly, I’m okay with it. The brevity of the North Country’s Fall (Spring and Summer) beauty is always a salient reminder to get out while the getting is good. I appreciate the way Shauna Niequist puts it (in Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way):

“The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.”

Blaze on, my friends. Winter is coming. ;)

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