|Green Bay Road, Monday morning, Feb. 18 - 8:15.|
If this top photo looks inviting - a pristine scene, fresh snow on the ground and frost on tree limbs - it certainly was.
Since returning home last Wednesday we've seen a range of weather, but none more changeable than the last 24 hours. Generally, we've had consistently cold weather with highs of ten degrees or so for the day. Snow has fallen every other day, it seems…then yesterday we had five inches (by my estimate), sometimes with blizzard conditions due to blowing snow in the 30+ mph gusts.
It was a great day to be indoors. By later that evening, a nearly full moon had come out. But in the early morning a fog bank crept in from the lake, hovering about 20 feet off the ground. Six degrees, according to our thermometer, and very still. A temperature inversion had apparently brought the fog. It was dramatic and quick, like those set changes on a stage between acts, where all of a sudden the lights come back on and the audience is transported yet again. This foggy act was brief, and it departed along with the ferry by 8 am.
By that time, bright sun took over and burned off the fog, raising the temperature and highlighting frost everywhere in the trees. Even the well-plowed roads looked clean and fresh this morning, with only a patch of sand here and there at intersections to smudge the scene. By noontime, our thermometer's needle approached 30 degrees and an overcast sky obliterated the sun. Along with this change, winds had picked up, enough to begin drifting the light snow once again. A fine snow had begun to fall, too, making the day now look like the remains of yesterday's storm, an earlier act.
Last night, Joel and Hoyt made an emergency medical run. Then, with some energy yet to burn and snow drifts sure to interfere with morning loading, they plowed for several hours to get ahead of the morning's work. As a result, when I drove out to the ferry dock, around 7:45, sidewalks, parking areas and approaches were cleared, with final clean-up work in progress. It was time to take a ride…which I did!
|Con McDonald (foreground) and Joel|
Gunnlaugsson (backhoe) clean up surfaces as the AJR
loads in the background for the first run of the day.
Not easily seen is the early morning fog in
the distance still obscuring the harbor.
I had no sooner commented, "I wonder how the birds fared in yesterday's blizzard?" when Mary Jo spotted an eagle (photo below) sitting in a birch tree, a favorite place for them to roost, not far from the water (or ice, as the case was today).
Bird activity must slow during such storms, although turkeys were out, looking for seeds beneath our feeder. Attrition must thin the ranks when long cold spells, high winds and limited food sources add stress to their bodies.
We're headed south, then north, then east, then south tomorrow, to Boyne City, a drive of 450 miles "over the top" of Lake Michigan to visit Thor. This is a drive that can take all day and then some, including various stops along the way. We're hoping to slip into the Straits of Mackinac area before sundown, thereby beating the next weather pattern that's forecast to bring rain, sleet or snow - depending on where the line falls across the upper midwest separating colder air from warm, moist, southerly air.
I worked my way through the deep snow this morning to read my fuel tank gauge and in several places I sank to my hips (drifting snow being partially responsible for the depth, of course). We hiked on snow shoes Sunday, and in the areas of vegetation where snow accumulated and hadn't blown away, headway was slow and the slogging hard! Hoyt reported passing drifts along Detroit Island's shores that were eight feet in height, made up of grains of snow driven across the open ice. One thing can be said, it's a great year for snowmobiles!
One last photo shows the look in the woods earlier today, this one taken along Town Line Road.
- Dick Purinton
|Light flakes blew from the trees with the softest of breezes as this|
photo was taken.