To the Bridge and Back

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.
Torch Lake noontime reflections

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.
Little Traverse Bay
Petoskey ice shelf

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.


wide sunset
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!)
after sunset reflections

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22 thoughts on “To the Bridge and Back

  1. Nice shots and it took me back to my childhood living in MI. So much for global warming with snow & ice everywhere in April…eh?! 🙂

    Northern Lower MI along Lake Michigan is probably the prettiest part of the state. The Traverse City, Petoskey & Charlevoix area’s are terrific.

    • Global warming is certainly going to be a hard sell this spring!
      I haven’t done much traveling downstate, but I certainly do love it up here, and in the UP. Glad you paused to enjoy the cold photos – a much different picture than Georgia right now 😉

      • Big time difference it would appear. Was sunny @ 77 yesterday. lol. But we got pollen covering everything now. So pick your poison.

        I would like to get up to the Pictured Rocks shore along Superior someday again and I’d also like to hike & do photography on Isle Royale. Keep up the nice photography work for your area

        • We almost did an Isle Royale trip last year, but then canceled it in favor of a long weekend at Pictured Rocks. It’s truly a spectacular place, and I look forward to going back.
          We aren’t into pollen season yet, but though I do miss some aspects of a Georgia spring, pollen isn’t one of them!

  2. The colors of the lighthouse are stunning, especially when interspersed between all these snow pictures. Glad you had a nice trip up to “da bridge”. Am taking a blogging break after today so will be away from this on-line world for a while and not reading blogs/writing. Have a great melty (not too muddy) beginning of spring, Heather.

    • I thought you might be taking a break soon 😉 Enjoy your time off, and we’ll see you back whenever you’re ready!

      And isn’t it nice that many of our lighthouses are brightly painted? I’m grateful for the burst of color amidst the the blues.

  3. Am enjoying your waiting on an elusive spring 😉 At the risk at sounding like a broken record (I’m running out of adjectives for your pics!), loved the post, pics and all 😀

    What kind of fox was it? Love foxes btw…and arctic foxes are absolutely gorgeous!

    • All records, even broken ones, are welcome 🙂 So thank you!
      I don’t have much knowledge of foxes, but I’m pretty sure it was a red fox….probably after the squawking ducks!

        • I’d say I’m on the fence about bird-watching. They are intriguing and fun to watch, but I don’t often sit and do it for an extended time. In the summer though, I often sit on my patio in the afternoons/evenings to enjoy them (mornings would be better, but I am just not a morning person), and I LOVE going to our wetland and coastal areas to watch the birds.

          • Great 🙂 I find watching them very relaxing even when I’m trying to get the be angle or frame a great shot…it’s a welcome respite from the routine of everyday 🙂

  4. Thanks for letting me go along on your drive along the lake to the bridge. It’s the only route we use when traveling north from northern IN. Maybe some day I’ll get really be in a car on that route north in the winter.

    • I’m so glad you “drove” along with us, Charlotte! For expediency, we sometimes travel up US-131, which is sort-of direct to Petoskey from Kalkaska. The road crews generally do a good job of keeping US-31 clear between Traverse and Petoskey, but the roads between Manistee and Traverse are sometimes snowed under. Probably not a big deal for someone who lives in northern IN, though 😉 Some of the lighthouses get iced over beautifully, so I’m giving the thumbs-up to any travel plans!

  5. Cool ‘little’ trip! Love the bridge. Always feel like I’m almost home when I get there (after living in Hancock for 6 years)…though that is an illusion. Cool about the bald eagle and the fox and the sunset too.

    • I understand about illusory landmarks! We used to drive home to Miami, FL from southern Ohio, and always felt like we were “close” when we crossed into FL…not at all though!
      Even though they weren’t particularly close encounters with wildlife, I always feel like seeing elusive animals like that is special 🙂

  6. Hi Heather,
    I’m a fellow up-north lover, specifically Torch Lake. I am lucky enough to call it my home for at least part of the year. I’m learning the fine art of blogging with WordPress & hope to be up & running by the first part of May. You do such a great job with your photos…Would love to connect sometime & pick your brain.
    Enjoy every new degree of spring!
    Diane

    • How cool that you get to call Torch home for part of the year! It’s such a beautiful lake, in the midst of even more beauty.
      Thank you for your kind words, and welcome to the blogging world (it’s a pretty friendly place!). I’m up here year-round, and online often – I’ll be happy to share the contents of my brain 🙂

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