Mackinac Island Winter Update 1/26/2013

Hi Everyone!
I’m posting a day early because Sunday night Ted and I will be in Ormond Beach, FL.  Our Matthew is playing basketball Monday night, and we’re going to watch a game.  We’ll be home, good Lord willing, on Tuesday.

Great news!  I received a newsletter from our on-island reporter extraordinaire, Greg Main a few days ago – before the last round of snow began:

“Generally, when the thermometer reads 56 degrees up here in January, something is definitely out of the ordinary.  For years, I’ve been waking up around 5:30- 5:45 every morning, whether planned or not, and this morning was no exception.  As  I opened my eyes,  the first thing that came to mind was the  realization of how dark it was.  Of course, it’s still dark outside but even with the shades closed, there are a couple lights in the neighborhood  and two streetlights which slightly illuminate all the window of the apartment . This morning those lights were absent.  I also have one of those indoor/outdoor digital thermometers next to the bed, which I noticed read 56 degrees.  What!?  56?  Even though it was actually raining when I went to bed around midnight  (36 degrees), there was no way the temperature could have risen another 20 degrees.  It was at that instant that I also noticed my nose was cold.  A second look at my thermometer showed 56 degrees . . . inside the house!   Suddenly, everything began to make sense.  My alarm clock was off , the neighborhood lights were out, my nose was cold . . . . ugh!   Sure enough, tossing back the blankets, the unsettling cool air in the room shivered the sleep out of me in a hurry\
Opening the living room shades, I saw the Mackinac Bridge lights and two other lights along the shore east of Mackinaw City.  Other than that, absolutely black outside.  Too dark to even see the snow on the ground.   Knowing that the generator at the Medical Center kicks in instantly during outages. and knowing there are always alarms which are triggered when the generator kicks in, I dressed  and ate hurriedly. not only in order to get to the Medical Center to reset the alarms. but also because I knew there would be heat inside!   Taking my laptop with me, I quickly posted a blurb on Facebook before settling in to the normal duties I usually take care of later in the evenings.  No sooner did I receive a text from a friend in St. Ignace, also informing me the power was out over there, the power kicked back on at 7:28, promptly blinked back off for about 10 seconds which, again, set off alarms ( *#!*!!*#), then came back on again to stay just a few seconds later..
Adding to the misery of waking up cold,  the temperature must have dropped rapidly overnight as the rain of a few hours prior had now frozen, giving an icy coat to just about everything outside.  As of 8 a.m., temperature was 14, wind chill 0. and it remained that way all day despite a fair amount of sun.  As I’ve stated many times, the wind plays a most important part in whether we’ll continue ferry service for a while yet.  As of Friday’s last boat, many were speculating that Saturday would be the last day of service until Spring. as there was a lot of ice moving around between here and St. Ignace. forcing the ferry to take the longer, easterly route around the island all day Friday.  With the ferry sitting idle at the St. Ignace dock from Saturday evening until Monday morning,  many of us were expecting the cold temperatures would ice the boat in, providing an ‘acceptable” reason to end ferry service.  Surprisingly,  Friday’s wind pushed the ice out of the usual ferry route and as of Saturday morning, which was eerily calm given the previous two days of wind, little more than a thin line of ice remained, causing the ferry to throttle back for half a minute or so before motoring on at normal speed the rest of the way.
Despite this morning’s wind chill, now that we’ve received a few inches of snow, it might be possible to begin grooming ski trails, so I took advantage of the sun and the fact that most of the trails would be in areas out of the wind to put up some of our ski trail markers.  It’s always nice to be the first one on the trails after a snowfall and even more interesting when looking for critter tracks.  Also, there must be something about cold air which causes Chickadees to become a lot more vocal.  From Rifle Range to Arch Rock and along most of the East Bluff road, chirps, cheeps and their distinctive melodic whistle accompanied me.  Bill and Betty Murcko would be interested to know that fresh (and I mean very fresh) coyote tracks meandered  around their yard before disappearing into the woods across the road.  I wondered if it heard me coming as I was dragging a plastic sled with me which I used to haul the trail signs.  Exiting the wooded area at Lewand’s cottage and the quasi-protection from the wind, the cheek-reddening resumed.   Nowhere near enough snow yet as a view of Mission Point’s property from the over look shows a few dark patches of grass poking though the white stuff.  The rest of the day was uneventful and quiet, a good time to do some long overdue cleaning.  Regarding continued ferry service, we’ll see what comes during the frigid days ahead.”

A really good article, with wonderful pics, was posted on entitled “Mackinac Island During Winter – Magical Calm”.  You can click here to read and view the photos (please be aware that a few of the photos are not from this winter, but from previous years:

Ok.  This week should win a prize for most spectacular photos shared from the Island.  It’s like everyone got together and tried to outdo each other with amazing shots!  Behold!

Not only is Greg Main a great reporter, he is also a wonderful photographer.  This photo and the next four are his, all taken on January 24.

Not only is Greg Main a great reporter, he is also a wonderful photographer. This photo and the next four are his, all taken on January 24.


The 4th steaming of the lake.  (Photo:  Greg Main)

Steam rises

Steam rises around the lighthouses as the lake gives us some of its last warmth into the frigid air.  (Photo:  Greg Main)


Each morning the question on every islander’s mind is: Will the Arnold ferry make it to the Island one more time.  (Photo:  Greg Main)


A panoramic view of the marina.  (Photo:  Greg Main)


A view of the lake steaming from Mission Point Resort.  (Photo:  Mission Point Resort)

Crossing the Straits through the ice.  (Photo:  Horn's Bar)

Crossing the Straits through the ice. (Photo: Horn’s Bar)

A bone-chilling morning (January 24).  (Photo:  Mackinac Straits Photography Gallery)

A bone-chilling morning. (Photo: Mackinac Straits Photography Gallery)

January 22 - Icebreakers.  (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

January 22 – An icebreaker passes between the lighthouses. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Shepler's Gateway to Mackinac Island entrance.  (Photo: Shepler's Ferry)

Shepler’s Gateway to Mackinac Island entrance. (Photo: Shepler’s Ferry)

The sun rises over the ice. (Photo:  Shepler;s Ferry)

The sun rises over the ice. (Photo: Shepler’s Ferry)

Straits of Mackinac ice.  (Photo:  Mackinac State Historic Parks)

Straits of Mackinac ice. (Photo: Mackinac State Historic Parks)

Are you shivering yet!

Chris Ann Update

Chris Ann’s dear friend Mary has been with her this week until Friday, when family arrived.  It’s my understanding that Mary will continue to stay with the Burtons during the week, and on the weekends sons and daughters and grandchildren are rotating back and forth.  I spoke with Chris Ann a few days ago, and she sounded upbeat and pain-free except for an occasional pain in her chest, which she says is “something new”.  Otherwise, her pain meds are working well, thank you Lord.  She still tries to take a photograph daily of the view from her windows.


Taken on January 24, this one shows just how much more snow has fallen since I was there three weeks ago. So beautiful.

Please continue to keep Chris Ann, Burton and their family in your prayers.

God bless.


11 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Winter Update 1/26/2013

  1. Brrr it sure looks cold, but it does make for some spectacular photos. Thanks to everyone for sharing them with us. How many steamings of the lake was it again for the ice bridge?
    Have a safe trip to Florida and enjoy the game.
    Chris Ann, Burton and family are in my thoughts and prayers. Enjoy seeing her pictures everyday, your amazing Chris Ann!

  2. Breathtaking pictures! Thanks Greg Main and others for sharing them with us. Chris Ann what a lovely view from your backyard. Stay strong and enjoy your family and friends.

  3. The pictures are wonderful, but the one of the bridge in the fog is exceptional Love it!
    Thanks to your earlier stories, I can ‘see’ Chris Ann and Burton in their home, all snugged up when one of those snow storms comes roaring through. What a wonderful place to be tucked up! My thoughts and prayers have been back and forth to you frequently, sent with love.

  4. Prayers continue for Chris Ann. I do think of her daily. Thanks for the awesome pictures and also to Greg Main for the pictures and info. I really enjoy this blog so much Bree!

  5. I found your blog last week and I believe addiction is the appropriate word. I am forcing myself to stop reading and go to bed so I can wake up on time in the morning. I started at the beginning and I don’t want to miss a single post.

  6. Brenda,

    This blog goes over the top again. Some of those pictures will go into my folders. You know about my Mackinac Island Folder, but I also have one for the Mackinac Bridge. Maybe I’ll use that one for a screen saver for awhile. Great to see those pictures every time I walk into the room.

    Chris Ann, I wish I could sit down with you and admire your view out that window. I know I would enjoy the company of Chris Ann & Burton.

  7. Thanks for the update and great pics. So many wonderful shots! Always good to hear that Chris Ann is in good spirits and hopefully all of our prayers are helping!

  8. My partner and I have been coming up to Mackinaw Island for Christmas since 2006. We love it more than the summer frills that I constantly sail through when going to Lakes Huron and Superior. This captures much of what we think and feel the intimatcy and comradity that comes when one is locked in so to speak which usually comes well after we are off the island by New Years. 2012-13 certainly has been a great winter. I hope to see some of you when we return in 2013 at Christmas. I love your photoes.

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