Monday, Valentine’s Day, 22.5 degrees, wind WNW, calm at ground level but clouds moving rapidly. The sky is partly to mostly cloudy, and the barometer predicts sun. The roads, having melted and refrozen, are slick and I used both yak tracks and steel tipped cane to negotiate them this morning.
Yesterday we made our annual ice road pilgrimage to Madeline Island. The weather is turning warm and one never knows when there will be soft spots in the ice that will close the road. The trip over and back was uneventful, if rather bumpy. There was intermittent traffic and a few walkers, and fewer fishermen. Once over we rode about for a bit; there were several restaurants and bars open in LaPointe on Madeline Island, but everything else was closed. We drove to the east side of the island and, sure enough, there is open water as far as the eye can see. In the ten winters we have lived here the lake has frozen over only once, and that briefly. Global warming? Who knows…but things have been warming up for the past ten thousand years. Technically, I guess large boat traffic could run all winter with a little ice-breaker help. I don’t know about the Saul St. Marie locks.
There are some year-round residents on the island, but mostly it is a summer place. Other years we have seen large herds of deer, but even on a warm day we say none, and no tracks along the roads. I suspect the wolves have crossed the ice and eaten most of the deer. We ate lunch at the new Victor G’s Resrtaurant, located in the Bayfield Inn, when we returned. It was a bit too early to eat on the island. All in all it was a nice, relaxing Sunday, certainly worth doing at least once a year. When on the ice road (officially County Hwy I) a lack of drama is a good thing.