The Upside of This Cold Winter? Two Words – Ice Caves!
By most accounts, the winter of 2013-14 has been one of the coldest in recent years. Statistically it's actually not that much colder than normal, but with the 'polar vortex' and multiple bouts of snow storms across the south and eastern seaboards, it just SEEMS like winter is lasting forever.
One place that is welcoming the bitter cold temperatures is the Apostle Islands in northwestern Wisconsin on Lake Superior. Once or twice a decade, the weather stays so cold for so long, that Lake Superior will actually freeze over allowing tourists to walk across the lake to investigate the ice caves. This is one of those winters!
Over 35,000 visitors (including an old friend of mine and her boyfriend, who let me use her pictures) have made the trek to Wisconsin.
The ice caves are carved out of sandstone by waves from the lake, but become covered in hoar frost, icicles and ice formations during these cold winter months. People park a mile away and walk across the lake to the caves, where you can go at your own pace and actually walk another three miles! But if you go, go EARLY. By late morning/early afternoon, tourists have been parking a couple of miles away from the parking lot, making it a 3-4 mile hike just to get to the caves in the cold!
Local officials say Lake Superior hasn't had this much ice coverage in more than 20 years and they've never seen crowds of this size in the past. Check out these pictures below. You may want to book a late winter trip!