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Sunday, April 13, 2014


A spring stroll along Lake Michigan. It's April and it's still bone-chilling cold! But the snow has melted along the wide, soft, sandy beach and there's not another soul in sight. We have the entire shore to ourselves. Out in the big blue water, it appears as if hundreds of small islands have popped up over the winter. Closer inspection reveals they are not islands at all. They are icebergs! During the wild and wicked winter of of the coldest winters on record....all of the five great lakes froze 95 percent over. Now the ice pack is breaking up and forming millions of iceberg colonies which accumulate along the shoreline. "Spring break" takes on a whole new meaning along this chilly beach coastline.

The icebergs are gritty and sharp edged. They have broken off from massive hulks of the frozen lake. The Lake Michigan bergs are not in as pristine condition as their ancient arctic iceberg counterparts. Some of the lake icebergs retain their white frosty color but many of them are encrusted with brown sand as they scrape the bottom of the lake near the shoreline. They resemble the jagged tops of volcanoes jutting up from the lake depths. Still, it's mesmerizing to watch as the mammoth blobs of ice gracefully bob up and down in the big lake waters like giant polar bears doing a back float.

My companion and I are fascinated. Bundled up in warm winter parkas, sporting gloves and scarves, we stand on the deserted beach and gaze out into the lake at this incredible spring phenomenon. The icebergs stretch as far as the eye can see. Suddenly a thick fog slides across the cove. We are shrouded in an eerie mist. We can barely see each other. Then the fog passes as quickly as it came and a sliver of sunlight glints through the clouds. In another few months, throngs of sunbathers will be relaxing on this very beach. But for's just us and the icebergs.

The large masses in background are not islands. They're icebergs out in L. Michigan.
Shrouded in fog.

Finally thawing out. Nearly all of L. Michigan froze during winter 2014.
View from above. Those are not giant rocks. They are icebergs.

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