Northern Michigan Glaciers

John Yonkers shares his “Pure Michigan Moment,” a recent Michigan glacier adventure while visiting his family in northern Michigan.

If snowshoeing recharged my batteries two weekends ago, then the trip this weekend was the equivalent of swapping the old rechargeables out for new lithium ion ones!

After my Criminal Law midterm on Friday, my girlfriend Chelsea and I hopped into the Subaru and pointed north for what I thought was to be a weekend of quiet, boring studies. However, this weekend kicked more butt than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I get the majority of my work done, but I also spent time with my family, and we even got some outdoors time in!

Part one: The Journey

The Northerly trip started out under gray skies with a hint of ice in the air. While we remained on the eastern side of the state, the weather was calm, and frankly a little boring for traveling weather. However, once we hit the great divider, Clare, we were blasted by thick, beautiful clumps of Lake Effect goodness. I tried to get a few shots but the great darkness in the sky did not permit such acts. You see, up north, when you turn out the lights, it is dark!

From here on the drive was accompanied by the type of snow that falls where I come from. It falls slowly, almost hanging in the air and then gently lays down with its kin to blanket the ground underneath. It is a wholesome snow, stout and soft.

Upon arriving home I feasted upon homemade chocolate chips! Thanks, Mom.

This is where I thought my journey would end for the weekend. However, as usual, I overestimated the amount of time that I would need for my homework, and underestimated the amount of sleep that I need! Knowing that I wanted to be able to do things on Saturday, I stayed up until around 4 AM getting a good jump on the work. The finished product was quite good if I do say so myself! Take that, Adverse Possession!

Part two: Family time, and a minor Glaciation

Saturday morning we awoke early and zipped down to Chelsea’s Grandparents’ house where we were greeted with pancakes and conversation. After spending some time with them, we headed out to arguably one of my most favorite places in the world – Portage Point.

When I was a younger man, I used to drive out there daily. Then one winter I discovered that the water freezes into giant mountains far out into the lake during the colder months. These mountains resemble fractionalized versions of the glaciers that carved out this great area and it is kind of neat to see them rising out of water where we swim and skim board in the summer. Lake Michigan really provides four seasons of awesomeness if you are willing to experience it!

Now that we live farther away from the lake, whenever we get a chance to come out to it, we soak it up and make the most out of it. I would like to share a few shots of the ice hike with you that I think you will enjoy: (after enjoying these pictures, check out what it looks like in the summer)

Photo credit: John Yonkers

The ice easily extends 400' out into the lake. To put this into perspective, as I took this shot, I am about even with the end of the pier, and the ice continued for another 150-200'

Photo credit: John Yonkers

This is the top of a little ice cave I found, no good pictures of inside the cave though.

Photo credit: John Yonkers

The ice bubbles remind me of desert pavement. Desert pavement is pretty cool, and made by a slightly similar concept too!

Photo credit: John Yonkers

If we were in the Arctic, this is definitely where a seal would pop up!

After the ice hopping, we grabbed a drink at my favorite natural spring and headed to see my grandparents. Chelsea showed Grandma some new tricks with her camera, and I discussed the prison camp-like settings of test-taking in law school. They even hooked us up with some new wine bottles to cut!

Saturday night we hit up the casino for dinner with Chelsea’s Mom, Fred, and Izzy. We had a good time and then settled in to ride out the remainder of the snowstorm watching Seinfeld and finishing up some homework!

Our return trip to Southeast Michigan was guided by beautiful sunshine, dry roads, and minimal traffic. Only in Michigan can you be in one spot and experience 2 ½ seasons in less than 48 hours! That fact is pretty cool in that it makes even the shortest trips up there seem longer!

Photo credit: John Yonkers

Author - one part Grinch, one part explorer

John Yonkers is the owner and editor of Random Stream of Conciousness. He enjoys spending his time outdoors exploring everything that Michigan has to offer. When he is not outside he is studying for law school. His blog showcases various Michigan based adventures and also gear reviews from outdoor manufacturers. Feel free to contact him at any time.

You can find him at the URL above, as well as the sites below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomstreamoc/
http://natureshotz.blogspot.com/

  • bernie davis

    wHEN I WAS STATIONED IN THE u.p. IN THE MID SIXTIES WHILE AT K.I.Sawyer A.f.B. I thought the u.p was beautiful.I was there for 4 winters.
    Of course we were restrited to the base when the weather really got bad.
    This made for a boring week.
    I worked on B-52′s so we worked quite a lot.We supported the Viet Nam
    Logistics of backup to the Bombing on the North and the South Viet Nam.

    The U.P. was memorable.

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