Yep, it’s cold

The ice caves in Lake Superior are pretty famous and a great thing to see.  But up and down the shore of Lake Michigan, mostly on the Wisconsin side, are bluffs and rock formations that are battered by the wind and waves, in cold weather becoming enveloped in ice formations just as interesting as those found in Superior.  Before Lake Michigan freezes near the shore, when the ground temperature stays below freezing, the wind will push the waves against the rocks, kicking up spray and waves that envelop the shore and stay as ice formations.  The scene changes daily depending on wind, which controls the size of the surf, and the temperature.

One area easily accessible is Cave Point County Park, south of Jacksonport in Door County.  The limestone of the Niagara Escarpment is exposed as rocky bluffs on the lakeshore and the southeast winter wind drives the almost-freezing lake water against the shelves and coves.  The ongoing erosion has cut out overhangs while leaving layer-cake formations along the edge.  Each layer seems to direct the water into a chain of icicles.

Even the trees huddled around the rock edge aren’t safe as waves and spray drench them repeatedly, building up an impressive array of ice formations that dangle over the bluff.

It’s pretty impressive to stand there is high surf and literally feel the formation shudder as the big waves hit it.  Reminds you how impermanent even the ground below us is in the context of geologic time. ds20170101174801 ds20170101175723

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