So far for 2021, I am enjoying the winter scenery!
January brought a lot of interesting hikes with lots of interesting views. We actually started the year out with a few dry days and lost snow from warmer weather, although the second half of the month brought back the snow that was happily welcomed by most, if not all, islanders. Either way, I still made my way outside to take in the view. One of my favorite places to go that’s also close to town is Anne’s Tablet. A beautiful spot for viewing downtown from a different vantage point, I find the journey to get there more interesting than the destination itself, as there are two trails to get there.
Another fun spot to visit is Fort Holmes, although this time I like it more for the destination rather than the journey… I had decided to go up the stairs on this particular day, and the stairs, covered in a thin layer of dense snow which was therefore slick, made the walk back down a little tricky. But the view was definitely worth it! Thankfully I had my ice cleats on so it wasn’t too dangerous of a journey.
The best thing about the snowfall in January was how fluffy the snow had fallen! I’m not the best at taking snowfall pictures so it was nice to have so many tries at it. Below you can see a few more photos from around town:
There are always a lot of moving parts happening in March, whether we notice it or not. Changes in weather, additions to staff, stores quietly getting ready for the season, snowmobiles being stored away, snowmobiles braving the lack of snow on roads… the first time I left the island this month was in the first week. I left for only two days, and went by boat.
At that time, the boat was running, and we were traveling the regular route to St. Ignace. Great! By the time I was ready to drive back up north, ice had floated back into the dock at St. Ignace and the boat couldn’t break free. So, back by plane I went…
In the picture above you can see how clear the water is around the island. It was a beautiful day for a plane ride, and it turned out to be a pretty nice day for a walk back down to my house, as well.
As the week progressed, more and more snow started to melt on the roads. It made snowmobile travel much more difficult downtown, but there was still enough for people to get by driving. As someone who lives close to downtown, I walk most everywhere, so it hasn’t affected me too much this year. The city does a great job of keeping our sidewalks clear and safe.
The last time I was off the island was last week, headed to Petoskey to bring my mom back with me. No issues with breaking through the ice in the lake this time, but there was also another issue… by that Friday, schools had officially decided to close down for the next 3 weeks. By time I had gotten back to the island Monday, it had finally settled in with me that I wouldn’t have anything to do for awhile. My mom and I also missed out on getting any toilet paper or cleaning wipes. More than just seasons on the island was changing.
The ice had moved again on our boat ride back, too compacted to go the normal route, so we traveled around the North side of the island where you can see Arch Rock. It’s a longer trip, but the view is still great. I think I was more fascinated by the buttery smooth waves, followed by larges patches of ice.
Right now, the roads are pretty clear. We’ve had quite a few sunny days, and it’s still the same, quiet Mackinac Island that I’m accustomed to this time of year. I just don’t go out very much. Or, at all. Except to get groceries at Doud’s.
Our two restaurants are now closed to the public, but they do offer take out, as well as offer delivery service to our older residents. Doud’s is open as well, and has offered delivery service to all residents. And we are all sticking to social distancing requirements as much as any other place in Michigan.
As far as activities to keep myself busy during this social distancing phase, I’ve been cleaning at home a lot, practicing ukulele and guitar a lot more, taking more photos, bird watching, drawing a little, and spending way too much time on my phone. I’m lucky, however, to have a camera lens that zooms close enough to clearer see birds high up… I’m hoping to catch an owl or eagle one of these days in my back yard again, or possibly on my next walk on the boardwalk.
Until next time, I’ll be hunkered down at home. I hope everyone out there is staying safe, and wishing everyone a little comfort from my home to yours.
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Out of all the wintery days that we’ve had in this new year, none have seemed more like winter than last Friday. Just a brushing of light snowfall, so constant and unwavering that it gently coats the tree branches and winter foliage just enough to cause a whiteout all around you. When it snows, air is trapped between the snowflakes, attenuating vibration, and absorbing sound. That’s why it seems so much more quiet when it snows.
I always think of this when I’m walking to work in a light snowfall; just a calm moment before the everyday noise and jumbling of work begins is what I consider an ideal way to start the day. Better than a hot cup of coffee. And then on other days, when work is over, that is, a little noise is a welcome addition to the day. That’s when the revving of snowmobiles around town seem more exciting than normal.
I haven’t had the opportunity to find myself on a snowmobile ride in recent years, but when you’ve got an adventurous driver, you know you’re in for a good drive. Most drivers are friendly as well… I will often times find myself walking up the big hill past the Grand Hotel and someone will stop to offer me a ride. Now that the island’s roads are full of snow (compared to the first week of the New Year when the snow had disappeared), snowmobiles are much more frequent around town. There’s also plenty of opportunities to travel by fat tire bike, cross country skis, or snowshoes, but at the end of the day, I will always be in favor of a walk. Anyway, if anyone reading out there happens to be located in a place with snow right now, and you have the good fortune of walking (or driving) on snow-covered trails, I highly recommend it. It’s a delightful way to start out the new year.