Frozen Water

Michigan has many natural wonders worthy of the effort to view and experience them. One such wonder of nature that would be on my bucket list if I had one, is the ice formations around Munising. Many of us travel there in the summer and fall to view the many beautiful water falls in and around the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore. But to see an almost unbelievable form and beauty of these falls and seeps where the water flows off the sandstone cliffs, one needs to visit in late January through February. Plan to spend a few days and take in as many as you can. I had one day to get to most of the ones in that I visited, not enough time. If you do go, be sure to have good ice cleats as you will need them. The climb from the roads or trails is treacherous, but it is well worth the effort.

Although 2021 has been a milder winter, the columns aren’t what they could be. With that in mind, I can hardly imagine what they would be like in a cold year. You will find large columns and enormous ice icicles hanging from the sandstone cliffs and frozen water falls. Some are white and some are blue, with varying intensities of blue. As best I can find, there are three factors or processes that contribute to the blue color. One is that water absorbs other colors of the spectrum, the second is the lack of the presence of air bubbles in the ice itself and third is the thickness and density of the ice. All three of these are factors in the phenomenon of “blue ice”. The clarity of the water is also a factor, that is why the area around the Straits of Mackinaw is also known for blue ice to occasionally form on the lake.

The two spots that I am highlighting with photos are the Eben Ice Caves and the Curtains. The blue ice is from the Curtains. Be sure to click on the title of this piece to see the full gallery of images that I have selected from my recent trip.

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