Last Call and a PT Update

Heeding Petey’s I’m getting cold signals, we trekked back to the car and got him snuggled down in his blankets with a bowl of kibble and some water. Pup sated and stowed, we hit the road meandering through the Leelanau countryside as we made our way to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

By the time we arrived, the world had gone all blue and gold – kind of like that dress only far prettier.
warm and cool palette

Despite its warm color, the sun no longer held much heat, and at the very tip of the peninsula, we were utterly unprotected from the blustery breezes.
out standing in its field hahahaha

Though captivated by the glistening shards of ice and the duo-tone palette, we were cold.
rose ice

We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave though. I’d take my last photo, and then Tony would ask where I was going. “Just over to this piece of ice.” You know. That really cool one that’s obviously different from all these other really cool ones.
me as Vanna

I’d finish with my cool ice only to find Tony wasn’t by my side, nor was he walking back to the lighthouse grounds.
ice shards in last light

So it went, until the sun made its last call, and then dipped below the horizon. Still I wanted to stay, but my nearly frost-bitten fingers – like the wind – cried Mary Mercy.
last light


 
I meant to talk to you all last post about my knee and PT (not to be confused with Petey, ahem, Siri). Great news: I’ve been going for one-hour sessions twice a week, and I’ve incorporated as many moves as I can into my at-home workouts. My knee pain isn’t entirely gone, but it’s mostly gone, and when I do feel it, it’s much less intense. Notably, there are times when I move in a way that I fully expect to feel pain, but don’t. That’s my real benchmark for improvement. I have one more appointment on Wednesday, and then a running analysis so that I can start bringing that back into my life. Henceforward (which is a word; I checked), you may call me a PT Evangelist 😀

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Ice Hunting

My friend Lisa invited me out this afternoon with one of her friends, so I brought Petey and we all went ice hunting.

We met up at The Dockside – a boating restaurant perched where Clam Lake flows into Torch Lake.

still Torch Lake

The lake was about as still as I’ve ever seen it, and we found our first hunt success on Torch’s shores.
ice on Torch

But we didn’t linger long – Lisa had a new favorite place to share with us. After a quick stop-off in Bellaire (where she surprised me with a Christmas gift, thoughtful gal that she is), we landed on the eastern edge of Lake Bellaire.

Click to embiggen
icy Lake Bellaire panorama

A clear sheet of ice covered the full expanse of the lake. Well, except where someone broke through at the boat launch.

The very edges of the lake were frozen solid enough to walk on. I didn’t venture out far – it’s unnerving standing atop icy water, and more so when you can see just how deep that water is. So I didn’t go far, but I did venture out.

On my belly…which might sound crazy, but I know a thing or two about the relationship between pressure and area. It’s odd being face to face with ice on the lake, but I was far more likely to stay on the lake rather than ending up in the lake this way.

spoon ice

Petey’s not much better than me. As you can see, I had to call him back from the edge a few times, and he insisted on climbing out on this tree. Not that he saw me do it first or anything. Mmhmm.

Petey didn’t just spend his time testing the ice and climbing trees. He was a real help, too.

After shooting every molecule of ice on Lake Bellaire’s edges, we opted to return to Torch Lake for the sunset.
Torch Lake sunset

The skies promised a show, but the sunset got trapped in the ice. And then, the color faded from the day.
sunset trapped in ice

Happy with our afternoon’s captures, we packed in our gear and headed home. I think we bagged our limit for the day – but no worries, it’s a long ice hunting season 😉

Tuesday’s Gone – A Midweek Dune Climb

It was tough to tell on Tuesday who was more restless: me or Petey. For some reason he was a friskopotamus, and I was having trouble sitting still because it was warm (slightly above freezing) and dazzlingly sunny. Eventually we decided it would be best for all of us if we took a hike. Half an hour later, we were on our way to a trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes that we hadn’t hiked before, though we had hiked near it to a shipwreck. Of course, half an hour later, unpredicted clouds had also besmirched my bluebird skies. You win some, you lose some.

Again, as on previous winter hikes, we parked on a road and then trudged through snow to get to the trailhead. There had been enough snowshoers ahead of us, though, that the walk in wasn’t too bad – especially considering the half a foot of snow we had just gotten. I can’t say that I prefer the clouds, but at least they were the kind that brings interest instead of flat, featureless grey (that’s what we had yesterday, so I can say this with certainty).

See? Look at that drama

We crested a dune – which are far easier to scale when frozen than when the sands are sliding beneath your toes – and were astonished at sweeping view. I took pictures, but didn’t keep any of them, because every stitch of water in the vista was frozen and capped with snow – a good reason to go back 🙂 Still, Tony and I happily took in the view while Petey happily ignored it any the wildlife cavorting in the distance. He was taken by the grasses poking up directly beside the trail.

We followed the snowshoe path down through a valley to the shore…where the view wasn’t much different than from above. We climbed out a short distance onto the ice, but the earlier sun had melted some of the fresh snow, and it had puddled.

Above and inside an ice cave


The upshot is that the view of the shore was pretty cool, and one we don’t often get a chance to see.
pano

Deciding that we didn’t want to wander on the ice – a combination of possible hidden puddles and other potential dangers hidden under the snow – we began the ascent back up the dune.

Though the hike was enjoyable, it felt a bit stunted. After we emerged from the snow-pack, we walked along the road simply enjoying the ease of movement on the cleared pavement before we began our drive back home.

Since it’s on the way, we stopped in Empire for a glimpse at the sunset. Tony and Petey stayed in the car, while I traipsed about with the camera. Cautious because of the sun and heat, I stayed on ice over water I knew wasn’t deep. I was exceedingly glad I did. After I finished taking the last photo in the gallery below, I set my sites on the beach, and began making my way there. As I climbed over a small ice mound, I slipped, and my foot punched through the snow into one of those cold puddles I feared. I pulled it out, re-situated myself, and promptly repeated the fun with my other foot. Though my heart was racing and my feet were soaked and freezing I wasn’t panicking. But I was exceptionally glad that I was only over water that would be up to my knees even in the summer. Phew. Hope you have a warm, dry week 🙂

More Ice, More Exploring

There’s more snow above that mailbox than there is below.
laughable mailbox

Yep, that’s a lot of snow. Our inland lakes are frozen, with the snow on top forming drifts, and over half of Lake Michigan is frozen. Some days it seems like a featureless landscape, and fighting off ye olde seasonal affective disorder can be a chore. Normally, we’d just jaunt off to go skiing, but our schedules have been less flexible lately, and it has been cold. Thus, when the clouds part to reveal the blue sky they’ve been concealing, we go adventuring.

…And because it’s still winter in northern Michigan, sometimes the clouds swallow the sky right back up as we’re on our way for a hike. Too late, though; we were already on our way, so along we went, to the mouth of the Platte River. Our dearth of moving water meant that we appreciated the short stretches of exposed river wending its way into Lake Michigan’s icy expanses.


Tony, Petey and I meandered along the beach (there was sand to walk on in places – sand!) and then scampered out onto the near parts of the ice shelf for our weekend explorations. Occasional peeks of the sun added a touch of drama to the sky to compliment the ice formations.

After a bit, we headed south to check out the Pt. Betsie Lighthouse. We were there just before Christmas, reveling in the blue waters despite our constant grey skies. Yesterday revealed a different scene. Ice stretches nearly to the horizon; from the top of the dune, you can just make out a hint of open water.

It’s a surreal thing, absorbing the beauty and irony of a lighthouse perched above a giant frozen lake. This lighthouse is always a favorite, but I particularly love how the ice near the shore retains its characteristic teal color.

Not long after we left Pt. Betsie, lake effect snow again blew in, blotting out any color in the sky. With a projected high of 6F tomorrow, I am ever more grateful for the ability to take spontaneous refreshing, recharging trips on the weekend. I hope you’re recharged for the week ahead.

When the Sun Comes Calling

With over a hundred inches of snow for the season (and it’s snowing right now, and there’s more on the way…), we just haven’t had many sunny days. We’ve enjoyed peeks at the sun here and there, but the sun’s presence has been sparse. So when the clouds gave way to blue skies yesterday, we took advantage with a brief photo excursion up the Old Mission Peninsula with Jim and Jess.

None of us had seen the Traverse Bay frozen. Framed in ice, sure, but not frozen. Just ten days ago we were there, and water still flowed freely. Some of the deeper parts remain un-encased, but most of it is coated in a hard, candy icy shell. Frozen.
Frozen Bay Panorama
The nearby Clinch Marina hasn’t escaped winter’s chill, either. The boat slips are locked in place, and the railings are all varnished.

After ogling the marina and bay, we headed out of Traverse City and up OMP, where we stopped on the iconic overlook. From the top, you can see parts of the not-frozen East Bay, but all visible parts of West Bay are solid. Jess and I climbed the snowbank for our respective shots. I had my wide-angle lens in place: she had her zoom lens on. I’m interested to see our different compositions from the same place 🙂 (My photo courtesy of Jess!)

We continued our drive, thankful that we have such easy access to nature’s impressive beauty – even in the deepest of winters. We stopped by Haserot Beach for a couple of moments. A deep water harbor, it houses only a short and discombobulated ice shelf. The other side of the peninsula though, with its much shallower waters, is predictably frozen. Which you would think would lead to monotonous photos, but with the sun…


post-sunset over OMP

As the last of the day’s (colorful!!) light bled from the sky, we arrived at our dinner destination – hungry, but sated emotionally. Thank goodness for the recharging effects of solar power 😉
Post sunset over Power Island