Slightly encumbered by a short-lived cold, and inspired the slowly melting snow (not to worry: Mama Nature makes April fools out of us with fresh powder!) and bright blue skies, we decided to trek up the north coast to The Bridge on Friday afternoon. Starting out after lunch, we stopped by the Alden Marina on Torch Lake – one of our favorite places by any standard, but definitely more often visited when piles of snow prohibit other favorite stop-bys. Nary a breath of air disturbed the lake’s mirror surface.
We continued north, following Torch’s eastern edge. A light breeze gently riffled the surface, exposing Torch’s famous teals, and telling lies about its warmth. (It may look Carribean, but I assure you it is not.) We oohed and aahed the whole twenty miles, and decided to drop by another favorite spot on the north end of the lake.
Inching ever north, we drove through Charlevoix (Shar-le-voy for non-locals 🙂 ), and then on toward Petoskey. Whereas the ice shelf has mostly dissipated in our neck of the woods, it’s still quite extensive on the Little Traverse Bay.
Once in Petoskey, we stopped by Roast and Toast – the first of two visits that day – for some fuel a la coconut almond mocha, before finishing out our northerly sojourn. I had initially hoped to find some shards of ice along the shore, guarding expanses of Arctic blue, but views further south had already quashed that notion. Instead, we were rewarded with giant piles of snow-ice, surely the result of the Coast Guard’s ice breaker cruising and clearing the Straits.
Though we traipsed across an icy beach, the sun had warmed the air into the balmy low 40’s (5C), and I was quite cozy sans jacket (note the presence of scarf, hat and gloves…). We hung around for a while, immersed in the magic that is a boat crossing through what appears to be solid ice.
Satiated with Mackinac Bridge beauty, but stomach-ly empty, we angled back south, stopping off again in Petoskey. This time we dropped by a new location of our absolute favorite restaurant in the area before again getting coffee. (To be clear: I got coffee on stop one, Tony on stop two.) Loaded with enough caffeine to complete the round-trip outing, we headed home, back the way we came. A few miles south of Charlevoix, we drove under a low-soaring bald eagle, and then mashed the brakes as a couple of deer attempted suicide by Q5.
With the day’s clear skies, I had expected a bright, but not spectacular sunset…and for the second time
ever that day, I was wrong. Before we had found an appropriate place to park the car (deep snow everywhere), I jetted out my door, camera in hand. I made it down the steps to the beach just as the sun began to sink below the horizon.
And as if all that weren’t enough adventure for the day, as we stood on the steps overlooking the burnished waters below, a single fox poked its head above the nearest sand hillock. It was too far away for a photo, especially in the waning light, so we simply stood watching it watch us. Finally deciding we were too shady for friendship, the fox darted off down the beach, to the great comfort of the clamoring ducks on the water. (Which really seems like a terrible survival strategy for two ducks, but what do I know? I can’t even tell when spring’s coming!)