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The Wonder of Ice & Fire

Lake Superior is beautiful even in winter

Winter has arrived

We finally got our winter, and it came with a vengeance. The cold did anyways. The snow? Not so much; nonetheless, those of us wondering if winter was going to come this year finally got our answer.

I'm often asked how much time I spend outside. The answer is always as much time as I can, even in this weather. I don't do all that well inside. Oh sure. I spend time at home doing what everyone else does, but during that time, it seems like everything I do is just preparing myself to go outside again. When I do get back outside, even in the super cold, I get to experience yet another wonder that Mother Nature puts out there for us. This time of year is incredible on the lake. Every day it's different, constantly changing, and I can pick out something new every day. I take pictures every day when I am at work, often from the same spot, so I can look at them through time and see how everything changes. Right now, what I get to see every day is the ice along the shore. It's quite the cold weather gift. Every night a fire follows. These two opposite things go so great together.

"Be careful down there! Do you know you are standing on the lake?" It's something that I had to mention to a couple the other night as I saw them down along the shore and then realized that they were actually on the water. To be fair to them, it was difficult to tell shore from the lake at that moment, and they were down there to get a better vantage point on some of the amazing iced-over rocks along the shore. It's pretty incredible what the water does when the slow waves push up on frigid days and slowly cover the rocks until they're are three-times larger. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, this happens in other places, but because it happens on Lake Superior right in front of our eyes, that makes them the most beautiful ice-covered rocks in the world at that moment. It's a pretty cool sight and one that will give you a chance at a picture that you truly may never see again. The entire North Shore has miles and miles of frozen shoreline for you to take in. As I write about my favorite spots on the shore for you to take in, It's easy to tell you that this time of year, anywhere between Duluth and Grand Portage, that the ice-covered shoreline is going to be one of the highlights of your visit.
The bitter cold of the past couple of weeks has made one outdoor staple a hot commodity lately. (Sorry for the bad pun). The good-old campfire. Granted, when the actual temperature is 15 or 20 below, and the wind is making it far colder, the fire isn't nearly as a useful tool of warmth as it could be, but when it is that cold, anything helps. For those who are brave enough to withstand the elements to stand by a fire while clutching a beer that has to be drunk quickly before it freezes, there is still some reward. There is something to be said for a fire in any regard, whether you are using it for cooking your dinner, for keeping you warm or simply watch. The classic campfire is always something that makes a night on the shore more memorable.

You may hear me say a few things about fires as I tend to be a bit of a purest. "Bigger is not always better," I will say. "That's not too bad, but let me show you a better way," I might also say. I hope you understand that I am not trying to intimidate you. I do this so you can make your time next by the fire a better one. In the winter, the fire is the perfect end to whatever your day took you through. There is nothing better on a cold winter night than being by a fire next to Lake Superior. The opposite to the fire is right close by. All of those ice-covered rocks that you walked around and took pictures of are right there too. These two things are one of the natures' most beautiful opposites.

Photos by Dennis O'Hara - Northern Images Photography

The ice and fire of Lake Superior's North Shore are everyday things that mean the world to us in the winter for those of us lucky enough to live here, but to those of you visiting us, I believe they could mean just as much to you. Make sure you set aside some time in your plans to enjoy the simpler things as well. Oh yeah, I'll get you out on a trail somewhere, but I will make sure you are back on time for sunset, and you will not believe how the ice on the rocks takes in the colors of that sunset. When that sun has set, the fires will be waiting for you. Experience a juxtaposition that you may see exactly that way, one time and one time only. (I've been waiting all week to use the word juxtaposition. I'm kind of happy about that!)

I will see you by the lake. I'll be the one who slipped a bit because I forgot to put on my yaktrax for climbing around on the ice. After I pull myself up, I'll build you a nice fire.
Mark at Larsmont Cottages
Explore Coordinator, Larsmont Cottages
Mark B, Explore Coordinator at Larsmont Cottages

Meet Mark

As an avid outdoorsman Mark has explored the North Shore from Duluth to Grand Portage. And he's ready to spill the beans on the region's best hikes, vistas, and adventures. Stay tuned to his blog for trail reports, new activities, and more.

Mark runs the activities program at Larsmont Cottages which is open to all guests of Odyssey Resorts.

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