Life in a Northern Town

Au Revoir Ice Road, You Were Fun While You Lasted

Ice road conversations have a particular cadence— a) is there going to be an ice road this year? and b) is the ice road still open? In between those conversational poles, there are cars traveling back and forth and enjoying free and easy access to Madeline or the mainland. While the appearance of an ice road isn't a given, the death of the ice road is assured. On April 3rd, the United States Coast Guard Cutter ALDER came through and delivered the fatal blow and we said au revoir to the 2013 ice road.

The ALDER is a big boat— 225 feet long, 46 feet wide and way, way bigger than any ATV, wind sled or human on the ice that morning.

The ALDER and I have something in common— she gained her 'Great Lakes Cutter' status on my birthday, October 12th. A Libra ice cutter, who knew? I always thought ice cutters were Aries or Sagittarius, it's amazing what you learn on an April morning at an ice road funeral.

The ALDER stopped in front of the entry to the Apostle Islands Marina, turned around and headed back towards the big lake. I guess it had done all it could to unlock the ferry and fishing boats from their winter irons and was headed back to Duluth. It was hard to believe just six weeks ago, Will and I were on the ice road, headed to Madeline for our Sunday photo safari (read about it here).

She made quick work of the road, breaking up sheets of ice that had carried Islanders and Mainlanders back and forth for six weeks in the spring of 2013. It was a good road while it lasted but I wasn't sorry to see it go. Summer is coming and that means beach days, Long Island Cocktail Club, gardening, farmer's markets and bonfires. Plus, there's always the 2014 ice road to look forward to, right?