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Category Archives: Ice

Skiing is done for the season and the barriers have been removed from the trial head so it is now OK to hike on the trail. We walked down South from Irivington.  It was a beautiful day. We saw Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, a Pheasant, Deer and Robins. The trail is still mostly covered in packed snow from the grooming although there are starting to be some bare spots. Once the snow is gone the trail will likely be muddy during the day. typically it hardens up overnight and then gradually softens up during the day making walking difficult.

This a shot of grass floating in the spring melt water.

 

The leaves are melting into the snow.

There is still ice on some of the spring melt .

Last years cattails can still be found along the trail.

 

 

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We had skied to the Ice Wall the previous day and were very surprised to find that there had been significant melt in just 24 hours. With the warm temperatures forecast for the next week I suspect the Ice Wall will be gone by the end of the week.

At the bottom Tripp Falls Ravine is a small spring fed stream that flows into the Red Cedar River. It is located about 1.5 miles outside Menomonie, Wisconsin.  Access to the area is via a short steep trail which leads into the ravine. In the winter it can be treacherous because the stream and the ravine floor may be solid ice. You can hike up the gully for about a half a mile although the most interesting sections are found within the first 400 yards. There are a variety of winter photographic opportunities which include the stream, frost, ice patterns,a large ice wall and several small waterfalls. Conditions vary a great deal in the winter. If it has been warm the stream will be open. If it has been cold the stream and the floor of the valley may be solid ice. If it has been really cold there may be a lot of frost shots. A short distance up the valley you will encounter a large ice wall and a 10 foot waterfall. It is possible but difficult to climb up the side of the waterfall. The climb over the waterfall can be a challenge on the snow and ice. There is a second small three foot waterfall about twenty yards above the larger waterfall. A sort walk above the smaller waterfall will lead you to the springs that feed the stream. I typically wear ice traction devices on my feet, during the winter, to prevent falls on the ice.  Because the ravine is vary narrow photographing on a sunny day is difficult. The best light is usually on a cloudy or overcast day.

As you walk down into the ravine you will encounter the small spring fed stream. The stream itself is not large but offers a variety of shots. During transition seasons and during periods of warming and cooling the stream offers shots of the ice formations along the edge of the stream. When the stream is completely frozen and the temperatures are below zero you have the chance to shoot patterns in the ice and frost that forms on the ice.

 

If you time your visit just right you can photograph ice covered leaves, twigs and ice formations that remind you of diamonds. This opportunity may occur for only a few days during the transition periods when the ice is first forming or is melting.

As you walk up the stream you will encounter large ice walls along the sides of the ravine. Throughout the year water seeps from the cliffs and during the winter producing these large ice walls.  After a short walk up the stream you will also encounter the first of two waterfalls.

This shot shows the waterfall and ice formations at the end of the ravine.

This is the largest at about 10 feet and is not so much a waterfall as water tumbling down over a sandstone slope. At times the water is open and at other times it is frozen completely over. Normally there are opportunities for shooting ice patterns along the waterfall.

To continue up the ravine you must climb along one side the waterfall. This can be a bit treacherous since it is usually solid ice. Once on the top you can walk up the stream a short distance to the second waterfall. This one is only about 3 feet but is a free falling waterfall. There are usually some ice formations around the waterfall but nothing spectacular.

At this point I usually stop but if you can get up over the waterfall you can continue to walk up the gully for quite a ways. The springs provide the water for the stream are found about 100 yards above the waterfall. There used to be a nice ladder to help get over the waterfall but it was destroyed by vandals.

You can find additional photos and driving directions to Tripp Falls on my website.

It snowed overnight so once we were done blowing snow we headed down to the Red Cedar State Trail for some Cross Country Skiing. It was a beautiful day but as usual this winter no one else was around. The trail had not been groomed after the overnight snowfall. There were a lot of deer tracks on the trail and we finally noticed a couple of them watching us ski.

The winter Sumac was beautiful against the blue sky.

 

The ice was is still in good winter condition. We were disappointed that there did not appear to be any eagles in the two nests across from the ice wall.

One of the things on my bucket list has been to attend the Michigan Ice Fest. It has always been a problem because it was on the same weekend as the Hudson Hot Air Affair and the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. This year the all took place on separate weekends so my wife and I decided to headed over to Munising for the Ice Fest. It had been a cold two weeks prior to the start of the Ice Fest but wouldn’t you know that on the first day of the Fest it was 40+ degrees. Still climbing conditions were good. We stopped at Fest headquarters at caught a shuttle out to the climbing areas. Although we are frequent visitors to Munising in the Spring and Fall we had never visited in the winter so we didn’t know what to expect. We had hopped that it would be possible to get to some of the spectacular climbing areas along the shoreline or at Grand Island but that wasn’t possible so we were confined to the climbing areas along Sand Point Road. The shuttle dropped us off at the Curtains where some climbing classes were being held.

More photos from the Michigan Ice Fest can be found on my website.

At Opening Curtain we watched for quite a while. Looked like the climbers were having fun. It reminded me of my climbing days but that was 50 years ago. I might have caught the bug again and since they hold classes at the Sandstone Ice Festival and I may give it a try again.

We walked down to the Curtains and watched a different climbing class work on the ice walls.

Our final stop of the day was Dryer Hose. Dryer Hose was open climbing so climbers who were a little more experienced were climbing here. We watched a couple of climbers go up the wall. The last one was carrying ropes and webbing. Apparently there was a climber rigging at the top of the climb and he had forgotten some gear he need so another climber was bringing up what he needed.

We were the only people out skiing yesterday. It was cold again, around 4 degrees when we exited the car. We noticed a lot of frost on the trees and skied down to get some photos. While we were taking photos the wind came up and blew the frost off of the trees and we ended up in a blizzard of frost.

We then skied down to look at the ice wall and check for Bald Eagles. No eagles in sight but we did see a couple near the trail head when we drove into town. The ice wall is looking the best that I can remember.

It was a bitterly cold day and one of many this winter. We decided that the Nelson Ice Sculptures on the Rush River should be doing well in this type of weather so we decided to drive down and take a look. They were doing very well. It was so cold that steam was rising off of them. If you are not familiar with them you can check out my earlier blog describing what is going on. You can also see more photos of the ice sculptures on my website.

 

With all of the cold weather we decided to stop and look at the Devil’s Punchbowl. It was very impressive. Hardly any of the ice had fallen off of the wall because it has been so cold. A shot of Linda looking at the ice wall. More photos from Devil’s Punchbowl can be found on my website.

The cold weather has resulted in huge ice flows and the bottom of the ravine is covered with a huge ice flow. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I managed a few photos of leaves encased in the ice.

When we woke up it was -17 and no wind. I knew it would be a great day to find some frost along the Red Cedar State Trail. I planned on going alone but my wife didn’t want me out in this weather by myself so she decided to come along. When we arrived at the Irvington Parking Lot we could see the frost covering the trees. We skied south on the trail for a short distance because that is where the best frost can be found. More photos from the Red Cedar Trail cam be found on my website.

We were really cold because I was stopping for photos all the time. As long as we were on the trail we decided to ski down to the ice wall that forms every winter along the trail. It was difficult skiing because there were quite a few places along the trail where ice was overflowing the trail. In addition, there was barely enough snow to set a track. the ice wall was in peak winter condition.

After photographing the beach we drove over to the Lost Creek Falls for a short hike into the falls. As we walked along the trail this squirrel posed for us.

We were the only ones on the trail and the first ones to make the hike since the recent snow fall. When I first started hiking into Lost Creek Falls there was no marked trail. Now there are signs along the road pointing to the trail head and someone had done a wonderful job of putting in boardwalks on sections of the trail. No more walking in mud to get to the falls. I’ve noticed that communities have take not of how important waterfalls are and have made every effort to make waterfalling an enjoyable experience.