The last time we drove to Duluth, Minnesota there were 40-50 mph winds blowing so we decided to continue on up the North Shore and see if we could catch some big waves. The winds were blowing from the South East and there were no big waves. We stopped at Gooseberry Falls to check out the conditions.
At the time I thought we should have driven to Grand Marais, Minnesota but we didn’t have time. Paul Sundberg was able to capture the furry of the storm in the harbor.
We had some time to kill so we drove down to Brighton Beach in Duluth, Minnesota to check on winter conditions. Not what we expected. This is what mid March weather should look like at Brighton Beach.
This is what it looks like this year.
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.
Having given up on walking on the ice to the brownstone caves we decided to return to our original plan and drive over to Lost Creek Falls. This was to be our first time hiking to the falls in the winter. With the unusually warm conditions we figured there would be some water running over the falls. We had a great time at the falls. It was a great hike in and the falls offers a little seclusion and an opportunity to reflect. More photos from Lost Creek Falls can be found on my website.
After the race I asked one of the officials where the brownstone caves were located. He pointed out how to reach them. We joined up with a friend from Bayfield and started walking out on the ice toward the caves. We encountered this small island before we had gone very far.
There were some large pressure ridges on the lake and open water where they had been formed. We had to do some back tracking to find places to cross them.
As the temperatures warmed we noticed more water on the ice. We also encountered some large cracks in the ice and decided this probably was not the best day to be making this trip. We decided to add the brownstone caves to our list of things to do on a cold winter day.
A few weeks ago we were in Washburn, Wisconsin for the Start of the Bike Across the Bay fat tire bicycle race. We arrived as the racers were starting to gather. and check out conditions. The evening before the Book Across the Bay had been held. Given that the temperatures were close to 60 degrees Chequamegon Bay was slush and water for that event. For the bike race the water had frozen and it was glare ice.
More photos from the Bike Across the Bay can be found on my website.
We arrived as the racers were starting to gather.
I noticed that most of the racers were out checking out conditions and trying to see how much air they would need in their tires. The fat tire bikes has studs which helps with the traction.
While the racers were getting their instructions the photographers were working of getting the ideal shot.
Off they went. Several of them turned back before they had gone very far. I couldn’t tell if the conditions were bad or if they had mechanical problems. As the morning wore on the freshly frozen ice begin to disintegrate. We didn’t stay around for the finish but from comments I heard they bikers were making good time.