Thursday, February 15, 2018


Traverse City lore has it that the bay is frozen over when the ice cap extends to Power Island.  After a big January thaw, we’ve had mostly frigid temperatures ever since.  I decided to drive out along Old Mission to see the ice formation progress.

Lying about seven miles into West Grand Traverse Bay, Power Island appears as a huge whale sleeping on a bed of fresh snow.   On Sunday afternoon, the sky was hardly discernible from the snow.  The early morning snowfall actually made it easier to distinguish between the snow, ice, and water.

As I drove along Peninsula Drive, I could see a y-shaped area  devoid of snow.  It was ice versus water, however.

The further I drove, I noticed a stream of light had begun hitting the snow.  Perhaps the sun would be making an appearance after all.

I wasn’t the only one interested in the bay’s ice cover.  This walker gingerly walked into the bay, tapping the surface with a walking stick the whole way.

As I drew even with the end of Power Island, I could see it was completely surrounded by ice, at least from the east side.  The light beam continued to widen and the dull sky was looking more interesting.

With the ice prognostication out of the way, I headed to the other side of Old Mission to see what beautiful scenes awaited me.  Fortunately, the skies continued to brighten.

With at least nine wineries on Old Mission, it’s common to see fields of grapevines showing off their shadows.

Red barns are abundant also.  Here one shares the scene with an orchard in winter dormancy.

I heard on Tuesday’s news that The Watershed Center had declared the bay frozen over, which hasn’t happened the past two winters.  Didn’t surprise me at all.  What did surprise me was the sudden change in temperatures.  With yesterday reaching fifty degrees and today’s forecast calling for temps in the forties, the bay freeze-over may be the shortest one in history.


  1. Thank you for taking us along as you checked out the condition of the ice on the bay, Karen. It was a beautiful and interesting ride. I love how Power Island looks like a great blue whale in the first image; and greatly enjoyed the other images, too.

  2. Thanks, Jan. I enjoyed the ride and appreciated the changing sun conditions as the afternoon went on.

  3. What a cool day out shooting. There is beauty during winter in Michigan. I liked all the pictures, maybe #6 is my favorite. I like the blue sky peaking through the big fluffy clouds. Thanks for sharing...

  4. Thanks, Mark. I like #6 too, but because of all the gold, especially with the sun shining on the corn stubble popping up through snow. sis