Monday, January 27, 2014

Embracing the Cold


Ice forms at Cave Point County Park, Door County WI
 We're on our second polar vortex here in Wisconsin...and just one month ago, I had never even heard that term!  There are certain advantages to hunkering down in Winter and just embracing what comes.    You can technically live in your pajamas.  When I go out, I throw on snow pants, a long parka and enough scarves, mittens, etc. to cover up any trace of indoor attire anyway.  And I have to admit, I love the stretchy waistbands, because it hides the fact you've been visiting the cookie jar way too often.  There's also the opportunity to catch up on that entire year of magazines sitting in the box in the corner of the living room.  And "OH NETFLIX!  Who's your friend this week?"  I've seen quite a few movies this season, and it's surprising how many I'd never even heard of before the cold set in.

I do love the outdoors, so when I can convince my husband to get out with me, we load up the car and head out to interesting places where we can observe Mother Nature at her best.  For a guy who grew up playing soccer on the warm, sunny beaches of Mogadishu, he's come a long way.  I won't say he "likes" snow and cold, but he tolerates it without complaining too often.  He loves checking Minneapolis weather, where his brother's family lives, just so he can say it's 10 degrees warmer here in Milwaukee.

This weekend our adventure destination was snowy, windblown Door County.  The morning started a little like this: 5 am.  Cat on my head.  Spider-man (AKA 8 year old Omar) singing show tunes beside me in bed,at the top of his lungs, by the glow of my iPhone.  "Hello Weekend!" I grab a robe in the darkness and go down the stairs with spidey and the cat close behind.  I hear the wind howling as I pass the living room window, and notice we got about an inch of new snow overnight.  It's a good morning for pancakes with real maple syrup.  Actually, EVERY morning is a good morning for pancakes, as it's Omar's favorite and only breakfast choice.  That is, unless he gets his hands on a fresh bag of gold fish crackers.

We pack up the car with a variety of cold weather gear, snow shoes, yaktrax, sled, and plenty of snacks to get us through the three hours google maps says it will take to get to Sturgeon Bay.  The drive leaves my husband white knuckled and tense as the wind whips snow across highway 43 and we see at least 40 cars in the ditch along the way.  We stop for a few short minutes to check out the Wequiock Waterfall in Brown County, since it's on the way and just off the highway, and it's completely frozen.  I walk down to the base and find it very slippery.  It was good I had the yaktrax, or it would have been impossible to get back up again.
Wequiock Falls in Brown County

We felt lucky to make it to Bridgeport Waterfront Resort, where Omar can hardly wait to see the pool.  We convince him to have lunch first, and it's a hearty fare at The Inn at Cedar Crossing.  The weather is going to get worse, so in order to get the most out of the day, we decide to drive out to Cave Point County Park right away.  Poor Omar can't hide his disappointment that we aren't going to spend the afternoon splashing in the indoor pool.  He orders chocolate mousse and for a moment, he seems happy enough.

Cave Point is blanketed with snow and the limestone formations are now covered in frozen sculptures.  It's quite breathtaking, and there are a handful of visitors braving the cold on the trail- a couple of photographers in the mix.  There's  sign clearly stating you need to mind your children at this park.  The drop-offs are steep and there's no way to get to the water to help anyone who falls.  My husband stays with Omar first while I explore.  Then he comes out with Omar for a short while, but it becomes clear that Omar wants to get as close as possible to danger, so he doesn't stay long.  The temperature is 1F and they are chilled anyway.  I snap a few photos and that's the end of our short excursion.
Cave Point County Park all frozen
We enjoy the warm resort for the rest of the night, and on the way back home the following day, we feel lucky to see the Coast Guard's Ice Cutter boat as it passes through the open bridge decks in the downtown.  It's large and majestic as it cuts the ice and passes swiftly on the way to Lake Michigan.  Where there was only frozen snow, there is now a liquid path.  Overall, it was a fun journey in spite of the cold.
The Coast Guard's Ice Cutter



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