Winter Wonderland Along the Shore of Lake Michigan
The wind was pretty wicked for two days and even the ice cycles got covered in snow.
The landscape blanketed in pure white is soothing and brings a freshness to the area. The walnut trees that tower over my mother's front garden look even more majestic covered in the snow.
The few squirrels that are still out searching for food find maneuvering along the snow covered branches rather challenging. And, when they do find a treasure amongst all the snow they stay put and devour their find. I was able to photograph this black squirrel before too much snow blanketed the trees.
Before the roads became impassable, I ventured out to the frozen shores of Lake Michigan to see how it looked in the winter. I heard a snowy owl had been spotted near the lighthouse.
It was brutally cold with the wind whipping off the lake but there were several other photographers there looking for the owl so I wasn't the only crazy one there!
Walking to the lighthouse was treacherous with all the frozen ice and frankly it was just too cold for me. Even dressed in the warmest winter wear I have, my fingers were dangerously cold and the snowy owl had long gone. That was terribly disappointing.
I warmed up in the car and then took a stroll along the beach. The wind had swirled the sand and snow together to make interesting patterns in the terrain.
A bit further down the beach I found some seagulls huddled together trying to keep warm. They look like small mounds of snow as they blend into the snowy landscape.
But looking closer you can see how they fluff up to trap air between their feathers and their bodies creating a natural layer of insulation. As they rest they even tuck their beak into their feathers to breathe in this warmer air. With the arctic wind whipping across the lake onto the beach you can't help but wonder if they are dreaming of warmer days.
They took off as soon as I got too close but settled down again quickly once they discovered I wasn't a threat.
Along the shoreline the snow, ice and lapping water makes some wild sculptures. It is hard to believe people will be sunbathing in this spot in a few months.
The danger of walking along the beach when it is covered in snow is that it is hard to tell where the beach ends and the frozen lake begins. It can be very dangerous and the terrain deceiving. The snow looks solid but often is not and it is easy to fall through the snow into the freezing water.
You wouldn't want to end up stuck here. I am thankful I brought my zoom lens along.
The polar vortex has brought some extreme weather conditions across much of the U.S. and I hope everyone affected is staying safe and warm! I am getting anxious to get home and see how my garden survived the freezing temperatures (without any snow insulation). It has finally stopped snowing and the arctic temperatures are retreating slightly. I even saw the sun trying to shine.
Hopefully the road conditions will improve soon but until then we are enjoying this winter wonderland. Who knows when we will be seeing this kind of snowfall again.