‘Nice ice’ is what makes winter sparkle

Karen Wils photo “Nice ice” along a creek.

ESCANABA — Ice is nice!

It’s cold, slippery, shiny and everywhere.

Ice glitters like diamonds in the fickle and faint winter’s sun. When the moon beams sparkle on the icy lake or river, the U.P. is transformed into a magical winter world!

We are sort of stuck with the ice for several more months so we might as well make the best of it.

First of all, there is nice ice and bad ice. Bad ice is the black kind on the road ways making travel slow and difficult.

Jim Rose photo Ice near Lake Superior makes stalactites on rock formations.

Ice on the windshield of the car falls into the “bad ice” category. We attack it with scrapers and heaters on many mornings.

Dangerous ice lurks on steps and sidewalks. Watch your step, and be careful.

Nice ice, on the other hand, has a pleasing personality. It is very photogenic. Bundled warm in our favorite winter woolies, ice cleats and boots, we are ready to grab a camera and go hunting for the prettiest ice in the country.

Yoopers like polar bears, saunter off into the frigid air. Winter adventures are just a way of life.

Ice fishing on Little Bay de Noc can give us glimpses of “nice ice” from the shanty. What could be more wonderful than a hot cup of coffee in one hand, a walleye on the line in the other hand and the rising sun making prisms of color across the bay of ice?

Waterfalls, from the mighty Tahquamenon to the tiniest creek, give us the gift of “nice ice” every winter. Folks come from all over, hike or snowshoe many frozen miles and bring an array of cameras, lenses, and devices to capture the awesome beauty of Upper Michigan ice.

From the famous Lake Superior Ice Caves (Apostle Islands) to the Eben ice cave In the Hiawatha National Forest, Mother Nature has been busy providing us with lots of ice to see.

If you can’t go for a long ride, even a short one will lead you to an icy water fall, windswept pond of mirror ice or a quarry of minty green or pale blue icicles on a limestone ledge.

Nice ice has certain peacefulness about it. It’s like being frozen in time. All of the colors of summer are sealed up in the shimmering hard water.

Nice ice is a work of art. Who of us has not stopped to marvel at a frosty window etched with feathers of icy crystals?

Something as simple as a row of icicles hanging from the roof with the setting sun turning them into light sabers from Star Wars can be a trill for the day!

If you journey out to see some nice ice make sure you dress for warmth and comfort walking. Ice cleats worn on the bottom of your boots can be a great help, and a walking stick or ski poles come in handy too.

Always remember to be safe by water, know where you are going.

Happy hunting for the prettiest “nice ice”.

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Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.