We met up with a friend in Duluth before heading up the North Shore to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Our goal was to hike the five mile Split Rock River Loop Trail. When we arrived at the trailhead the trail looked to be in good shape. We debated taking our ice grippers and finally decided to take them along. Good thing we did because we we encountered ice on the trail at we crested the first hill. If we didn’t have the ice grippers we would not have been able to make the hike because the trail was very icy and steep. In some places a slip would have meant a long slide down the gorge into the River.
Split Rock falls was still iced up with just a little water flowing at the bottom of the falls.
We crossed over a small stream and made our way over the the main section of the Split Rock River. The River was still mainly ice but water was flowing in some places.
In a few places the rushing water was producing foam formations one of which looked like a volcano.
As we started the hike we noticed a sign indicating that the foot bridge over the Split Rock River was closed. Last spring when we hiked this trail the bridge looked like it wasn’t safe but we still used it. It looked like the park service had cut the bridge down because only the footings on either side of the river were still standing. We walked down the river a short distance before finding a snow bridge over the river. You can see a portion of the bridge in the background.
We were happy to make it over the river because returning on the same trail would have been difficult because of the ice conditions. There were still some icy conditions on the trail but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the hike up.
As we emerged from the forest we had a great view of Lake Superior. The wind was blowing at about 25 miles an hour out of the East and there were some nice waves hitting the shore. We decided to drive over to the Split Rock Lighthouse and check out the waves.
While walking on the beach I started taking closeup photos of the patterns on the drift wood washed up on the beach.
While walking along Park Point Beach we found some interesting ice formations.
It was a beautiful day so we decided to walk over to Park Point Beach and walk along the Beach. There was still a little ice around so I spent time taking photos of ice patterns.
It’s the end of the winter and the ice along the Red Cedar State Trail is starting to rot. The trail is not in the best of shape during the transition from winter to spring. Folks have been walking on it a are making a mess. We manage to walk along the edge where there was solid footing.
We took a drive down to Devil’s Punchbowl and Paradise Valley to check out the ice. Not much going on at the Punchbowl but the warm weather and running water at Paradise Valley produced some nice edge ice. It was a little tricky getting across the stream because there has been quite a bit of water running this winter. I did find out from a friend that what I have been calling Paradise Valley does have a more specific name. It’s called Tripp Falls Ravine. More photos from Trip Falls Ravine can be found on my website.
We drove over to Hudson, Wisconsin to check on conditions at Willow River State Park and to see if the Trumpeter Swans were still around. The Swans were gone as was the ice on the river. There was very little ice at Willow Falls but I notice on the walk in there were some interesting ice formations along a branch of the river. It was a steep climb down to the river but it was worth the effort.
It looks like the river was higher and when it receded it left a ring of ice on the trees. The first photo shows where a Beaver has been working on the tree. If you look close you can see the teeth marks.
When I first started photographing birds I had to do it from my basement window because I didn’t have the right lenses to photograph them at the feeders. The birds would go to the feeders to get seeds then fly to a lilac bush by the basement window to eat them. This made it easy to get some close shots. Over the years I acquired better lenses and started photographing from my large windows by the feeders. I recently went back to my roots and spent the better part of a day photographing from my basement window.
Dark-eyed Juncos were around in large numbers after being absent for part of the winter.
Black-capped Chickadees were around in large numbers. This seemed to be their favorite perch for eating.
There were also a few Northern Cardinals around but they were a little skittish and wouldn’t come near the window.
At least what passes for a blizzard this year. It snowed all day and we had some strong winds but only about 6 inches of snow. When we do get a snow storm it seems to bring the Northern Cardinals out in good numbers. On this day I was lucky to get more than the the usually number of shots of female Cardinals.
As we were leaving Duluth to head back home we stopped at Amnicon Falls to look around. I didn’t think we would take any photos but this was the first time I had seen large amounts of foam at the bottom of lower falls.