The Edge of the Known World

Ice formations on Lake Superior

Assignment:  walk to the edge of the known world.  Walk where no man (or woman) has ever walked before.  At least not this year!  Walk to…the edge of the ice. 

Beach and beyond

You can do it.  Here’s what you need to do.  Find a beach in a northern cold climate.  Find a beach with ice thick enough to walk to the edge.  Gauge depth carefully, especially if you’re ice-chicken, like I am.  Tentatively place your feet on the ice and determine whether you’re safe. 

If you’re safe, continue to toward the edge. (I only had to walk about twenty feet to the Edge of the World.  And the ice was thicker than thick.)

Very slippery! Watch out.

Whoops, I forgot to tell you how slippery the edges of the Known World can be.  Try to keep your balance.  Step carefully.  Ice with snow on top can look deceptively crusty.  It often isn’t.  Step more carefully.  I don’t want you to fall. 

The action of ice forming

Here you are, at the Edge.  Admire the horizon, the lake stretching off to the west and north.  Admire the way ice forms, all the icebergs rubbing against each other.  Admire the wave action (if it’s a windy day).  If it’s a calm day, grin in glee.  The lake always feels so peaceful on calm days.

Smile at how exhilarated you feel out here.  Even though it’s 11 degrees, it feels warm.  Why does this happen?  You’re sure 11 degrees will feel freezing.  But when you’re out here, warmly dressed, it feels like 25 degrees.  Maybe it warmed up since you left home.  You never know.

Northern view

Look closely at the above photo.  Look at the circles of thin ice.  One of these days those translucent circles will form into solid ‘bergs.  Maybe even this week.  And the ice will continue to form out in the bay, farther and farther from shore.  One of these days ice fishermen will put their teepee tents or shacks out here and cast a line down into the depths.  The Known World expands a little further… 

Continuing our ice tour...

I find ice fascinating, don’t you?  The way it forms and dissolves.  Its fleeting nature.  The way it appears so solid, but melts away when the temperatures rise.  

Out here on the Edge, you feel like you are witnessing formations never before seen.  Icebergs on the edge of transformation.  A white icy world building and elongating on the crest of waves and wind and snow and water. 

Soon the ice will claim the entire bay.

Thank you for your bravery.  For walking safely on ice.  For witnessing a Magical Mystery Ice Tour.  For not slipping and falling.  Out here on the Edge of the Known World anything can happen…can’t it?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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59 Responses to The Edge of the Known World

  1. jstjessie says:

    Those photos are beautiful, the cracked ice floating in the water kind of reminds me of peanut brittle haha.

  2. pyrit says:

    Oh my! Your elan is positively infectious! Do you always write like this?

    (I just read your last 5 posts – yes, yes you do.) Wonderful reading.

    Happy writing and blogging to you!

  3. catherine says:

    Nice ice! We are so blessed… thanks for the reminder.

  4. fountainpen says:

    Kathy: Do you mean to tell me that the ice is always that rough
    for the ice-fisherfolk eventually to walk out on……..Somehow I thought
    of it as smooth and frozen deeply, not in hunks as your pictures express….

    I am feeling fear just looking at the pictures!!!!

    Thanks for these, it is positively awesome.


    • Kathy says:

      fountainpen, no it’s not always this rough. Sometimes it’s really smooth. And sometimes when it freezes and thaws and freezes again it smoothes out even more. Actually, my husband went ice fishing today on the Huron Bay. He said the ice was really thick over there. Lots of people and 4-wheelers were out on it. Maybe nine inches? I may have to go ice fishing yet this winter…

  5. Awesome photos, I can feel the cold 🙂 Thx for sharing them in such a high resolution.

    What are those “egg” like formations in photo #3?

    • Kathy says:

      The “egg” like formations are simply the way the ice formed in that place. I am glad you like the pics in high resolution. Now, stay warm!!

  6. Kathy your post reminds me of Jane Urquhart’s novel The Underpainter. Thank you for not getting either of us wet:)

  7. pied type says:

    Indeed it is the edge of the known world. Nice take on this. And grats on making WP’s front page.

  8. This is one of the neatest photo blog posts I’ve ever seen. I’m jealous of your climate! Excellent work, be safe in future endeavors. Thanks for sharing your point of view.


    • Kathy says:

      giveitasecondlook (love your name!) thank you for your compliment. I’m just a baby photographer, so your words are really appreciated. Will try to stay safe.

  9. leavemehere says:

    There’s an old travelers wives tale, that if you take a padlock, write a wish on it, and throw it of the edge of the world your wish will come true.
    This might be just the place to try.

    • Kathy says:

      You are so right, leavemehere. A padlock thrown off the edge of the world with our wish written on it…who would know what would happen? I love the way you’re thinking.

  10. lambang says:

    I never taste it! hehe. .

  11. Kaneelsuiker says:

    This was fantastic. Came here by chance and really enjoyed stepping onto the edge of the world!

  12. Wanderer says:

    I found your writing style different and refreshing. And the pics are also great. Keep on 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      It is kind of a different writing style, isn’t it, Wanderer? I just keep chatting away about whatever comes up. Glad you like the photos too. Come back again!

  13. flandrumhill says:

    Yes I find ice fascinating too. Life is always more exciting, more exhilirating on the edge. But one has to tread carefully and be totally focused so as not to fall in.

    Your photos are beautiful.

    Kathy, congratulations on having this post featured on WordPress’ front page today! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kathy says:

      My goodness, Amy, we had quite the day, didn’t we? We were literally on the edge as our blogs BOTH hit the WordPress front page. That was so cool sharing the limelight with you. It was exhiliarating yesterday on the ice. It’s been an exhilirating few days. I should be careful to continue to watch where and how I’m walking.

  14. Cindy Lou says:

    You made the front page again? Yahoo! Speaking of which, I talked to my mom earlier this week (lives in Rose City near West Branch) and she saw an article about you and last year’s blog in the Bay City newspaper…is that the one you were interviewed for? And you never told us it had been published? Bad, bad Kathy! She’s sending it up – can’t wait to see it!

    And on my way to school this morning, guess what? The ice hath frozen! Looks like all the way across almost up to Carla’s – it’s just skim ice but it was mostly open water last night….crazy how fast it freezes, hey?

    Thanx for your beautimous photos, sweetie….even though I see the same thing every day, it’s always an adventure to see it through your eyes and words! Love ya!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy thanks so much telling me about your mom reading the article in the paper. I am providing a link to the on-line version for tonight’s blog. It IS crazy how fast that ice freezes. And I love that you stop by so often (almost every day!) to visit. Hugs…

  15. C’est fantastique! I’ve had an adventure while having my morning coffee. Thanks, I’ve enjoyed it!

    • Kathy says:

      Jordan, glad you were entertained with your coffee. I don’t know what was the most fun…walking on that ice…writing the blog…or watching all the visitors stop by. Come again! We’ll share a cup of coffee.

  16. jingle says:

    what a adventurous trip,
    if you dare,
    you get fair
    and beautiful stare
    by doing such affair..

    beautiful photos,
    timeless memories. 😉

  17. Thank you for sharing this wonderful pictures. I have yet to be to lake superior. So it is good to get an idea of the ‘bergs.
    I do remember one time I walked out into the cold water at the north of Germany where ice was floating. It was magical to see.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, David. You will have to come and visit Lake Superior one of these days. It is beautiful in summer and in winter. Although can be quite chilly on some of these winter days. Glad you’ve had the opportunity to view floating ice. It is special.

  18. bjspring says:

    I am an ice watcher also. In my book The Dynamic Great Lakes, I have a section about how ice forms. I live near the shore of Lake Michigan and I have a wordpress blog also: the Dynamic Great Lakes Blog.

    Your words and photography are wonderful.

  19. Tasha says:

    I love the pictures they are amazing.


  20. Georgia Mom says:


  21. Colleen says:

    Amazing photographs….thanks for sharing this!

  22. winderjssc says:

    I’ve just discovered that you’ve hit the headlines again. Congratulations on your continued success. I bet everyone is pleased that you continued to write after finishing your first project and venture into blogging last year. You’ve got what it takes to capture people’s imaginations and keep them interested.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Jessica. Yep, Amy and I both had a big day. I’m so tired at 8 p.m. my eyes will hardly stay open. It didn’t help that I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn’t sleep…not even knowing that this blog had made the wordpress front page. By the way, I took some photos of sand/swirling snow at the beach, too. Thought about you a lot while there. Will post them soon…hope you get to look at the patterns. Thank you for your encouraging words!

  23. Darcy Falk says:

    Loved seeing this. I lived in Houghton many years ago (1984?), and had only one — but truly great & adventurous — year there. I made an artwork about the way the ice heaves on the shoreline after moving away. Thank you for reminding me.

    • Kathy says:

      Darcy, so glad you were able to virtually see the ice heavings along the shoreline. I’ll bet your artwork was wonderful. And it is kind of great and adventuresome living here isn’t it? Good to meet you!

  24. maryrestaino says:

    Just be careful. People have been known to fall through ice…

    • Kathy says:

      You are so very very right, Mary. I don’t understand people who don’t show a proper respect for the ice. My husband wanted me to go ice fishing last weekend and I would go, yet. He went with a friend yesterday and there was seven inches of thick ice. I’ll wait a little while longer…

  25. Pingback: Blogs awestruck in the spotlight « Lake Superior Spirit

  26. Andrew Slade says:

    Hey, greetings from the end of the Lake! I was just out on my beach posting photos for my blog, and here you go getting all famous! Congratulations!

    • Kathy says:

      Andrew, good to meet someone from the north end of our Lake Superior! Your photos look very similar… As for getting famous, don’t know about that…LOL! But it has been a fun day!

  27. lm2703 says:


    good job!

    keep pondering


    check out my blog!

  28. Jane says:

    Wow, so happy for your exhilarating notariety. What a thrill to have so many visitors and new friends… the Edge of the Known indeed, that which takes us past and beyond anything we can imagine.
    BTW I thought I saw a UFO that resembled a woman floating over the Huron Bay this week!!

    • Kathy says:

      Jane, it sure was exciting last week! It was a thrilling few days… But, really, I’m interested in this UFO floating over Huron Bay this week! And you didn’t call me??? Next time, call! I want to see one!

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  30. Pingback: Thank you for four wonderful years of blogging here. | Lake Superior Spirit

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