It was wild ice for a minute.
The Wildest Wild Ice
This winter I operated as a lake observer from my hillside fortress of solitude. I dug my binoculars out and pegged them by the window to study the lake’s changes. Obsessed with the wildest wild ice — skating the big lake — I track everything to do with Lake Superior freezing. I track wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and preciptiation daily. In summer this helps me predict local water temps and clarity related to underwater video. In winter this relates to skateable ice on the biggest lake in the world.
I am the founder and only member of the Institute for the Study of Light and Water. In truth its membership includes all who live. Data-gathering continues from my top-floor hillside apartment, the observatory. Generous windows on every side provide views of the lake and the sky. I must complete the Institute’s studies.
While traveling a county highway in northern Minnesota in search of a big buck to photograph, Seth Trobec came upon two grouse staking claim to the northbound lane. As cars pass by, the birds do a dance of sorts, as the more aggressive grouse struts around, sizing up the other bird, before going on the attack.
When joining Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” roster, I was asked for a headshot and I submitted this which accompanies my essays. It is a video still from an old GoPro on a stick. The camera has broken through the water, and my face is about to break the surface. Water depth @ 20-30 feet, off the sand beaches of Park Point. It was late summer and I wanted one more batch of diving photos in my Aquaman colors.
If you’re like me, sometimes you mention Lake Superior in conversation, and you find yourself saying, “Lake Superior is the biggest lake in the world — by surface area! But if you’re judging by volume, the biggest lake is Lake Baikal!” But screw that. It’s time to take a stand. Now I say, “Lake Superior is the biggest lake in the world and those other janky lakes can suck it.”
What is a Lake?
The issue is nuanced, which triggers me. The definitions we use for lakes are arbitrary. I looked it up on Wikipedia and it just made me angry: “Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean.” Is it not obvious that oceans also lie on land? What is an ocean on, if not land? The ocean is not bottomless. The bottom of the ocean is land — they checked. Another irritating part of the definition is that lakes are “surrounded by land.” Now, don’t tell me oceans are not surrounded by land. There is no difference between oceans and lakes. The definition of a lake as “laying on/surrounded by the land” means oceans are, in fact, lakes.
1. Do you want something unavoidably intense?
If yes, proceed to #2
If no, proceed to #5
2. Do you have a lot of time?
If yes, proceed to #3
If no, proceed to #4
3. Do you prefer constant climbing followed by constant descent, or insidious but varying slopes?
Up then down: Korkki
Beat me up: Mangey-Snively
The Korkki trail, located off Homestead Road between Duluth and Two Harbors, is a single loop out and back with cutoffs at various kilometer points. Like Lester Park, it features a steady rise on the outward ski and a steady coast downward on the inbound trail, only it is more intense in this trajectory, and reaches its climax at the far end of the loop, where there are a bunch of aggressive hills. (map)
Seth Trobec gets taken for a ride in this ice-fishing video gone wrong. Trobec’s buddy, Cody Mjolsness, leaves the fish house and takes off on his snowmobile to pick up a friend … but the fish house is still attached to the snowmobile, with Trobec inside.
The video was shot Jan. 14 at Canisteo Pit Mine Lake, about 60 miles northwest of Duluth.
Today’s episode of CBS Sunday Morning concluded with the usual “Moment of Nature,” segment. The focus of videographer Scot Miller was the north shore of Lake Superior. The televised clip was only a few seconds long, but the expanded version, embedded here, is a full minute.