function blogger_query_vars_filter( $vars ) { $vars[] = "blogger"; return $vars; } add_filter('query_vars', 'blogger_query_vars_filter'); function blogger_template_redirect() { global $wp_query; $blogger = $wp_query->query_vars['blogger']; if ( isset ( $blogger ) ) { wp_redirect( get_wordpress_url ( $blogger ) , 301 ); exit; } } add_action( 'template_redirect', 'blogger_template_redirect' ); function get_wordpress_url($blogger) { if ( preg_match('@^(?:https?://)?([^/]+)(.*)@i', $blogger, $url_parts) ) { $query = new WP_Query ( array ( "meta_key" => "blogger_permalink", "meta_value" => $url_parts[2] ) ); if ($query->have_posts()) { $query->the_post(); $url = get_permalink(); } wp_reset_postdata(); } return $url ? $url : home_url(); } Up North Captured Moments: Châteaux de Glace Par la Mer -- aka "Ice Castles by the Sea"

Châteaux de Glace Par la Mer -- aka "Ice Castles by the Sea"

Shannon stood about a quarter mile out on Lake Michigan to capture this
image: the great ice formations and caves formed closer to shore. While
difficult to discern here, the ridge of distant ice caves stands over 30' feet tall!

Every now and then, Northern Michigan weather surprises even the most seasoned weather observers with some interesting anomalies. Those of us who live Up North will be the first to affirm what The Weather Channel has already coined: 'it's wild out there' [no kidding!]

Having officially received over 243" of snow this season -- with more on the way for Leelanau County -- we've already exceeded all-time snowfall records since records ever began being kept (over 100 years ago). The Great Lakes also saw around 94% of their surface frozen solid with thick ice, something that hasn't happened in over 54 years.
There was so much to love about the frozen landscape...including
this ice encased 'heart' shape 20' up in one of the ice caves
made by the relentless action of a stormy Lake Michigan before
being frozen in time
In spite of all the snow and ice, we managed to get out and go exploring now and then, just to make sure this part of the planet was still populated, and that there was still [frozen] earth left to explore. With over 20' of snow this winter (second only to Upper Michigan's beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula), we had to see for ourselves if there was any life left 'out there'...and if there was, what it looked like.
Ice across Lake Michigan as far as the eye can see.

Thanks to the 'combat veteran' snow-plow drivers and managers of the Leelanau County Road Commission, we have some of the nicest roads to travel on in the north. Now, mind you, driving around the county was a lot like navigating a bob-sled run, with steep banks on both sides of the road, but we managed. Sometimes those roads led us to places like The Bluebird  in Leland for half-price pizza night on Fridays, or to a warmly romantic and intimate French country restaurant near Glen Lake (called, La Becasse) to unwind and enjoy a six course dinner with absolutely no regard for the time.
Phil's little Swedish 'bob-sled' on a rural county road near our home (taken 3/8/14).
One road led us to an incredible marvel of God's creation practically in our backyard: Châteaux de glace par la mer -- "ice castles by the sea." In this case, they were massive 20-30 foot tall ice formations on Lake Michigan the likes of which have not been seen around here for decades. And we were there to witness the incredibly breathtaking spectacle.
"The Great Sphinx" one of many such ice formations on Lake Michigan

Taking a Sunday drive to just north of Leland, we pulled up (along with dozens of others) to brave brisk winds and 3-degrees above zero air temp (with minus-15 degree windchill). We were utterly amazed and in awe of the size of these frozen fortress-like ice structures, sheer cliffs, and a jagged sea of sheet ice that stretched (at that time) from our shore clear across Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin shoreline! It was something we knew that neither we nor our boys may ever see again. So we made the most of the moment.

The Ice Caves are truly amazing!

"Ice Pyramid"

Shannon captured an image of this huge slab, much taller
than me, of great round ice balls that all froze together
Since that day in early March, nature has blinked. Sort of. After another round of bitter cold settled in, followed by a brief thaw, the beautiful 'ice castles by the sea' -- the Châteaux de glace par la mer -- are slowly breaking up to become treacherously unstable. Strong winds are even starting to move the ice flows around, making the once-solid surface then (miles out from shore) something to certainly be avoided now. The lake ice is groaning (literally), popping and creaking with a vengeance. With the lengthening of days, winter is ever-so-slowly releasing the icy grip it's had on the land since last November. Warmer weather will come. It's only a matter of time.
Phil standing on the lunar-like surface of a frozen Lake Michigan,
far out and away from shore

An old proverb affirmed that one kind word can warm three winter months. As with 'kind words', so with memories. Come summer, when our Northern Michigan air can turn hot and humid, we'll surely think back on these crisp days of winter when the snow was deep, and the air was bitter cold. We'll think back to how we not only survived, but thrived as we took in the uniquely beautiful sights that make living up here so special -- and memorable. And we will be thankful that we can be together in a place we love and call home -- Up North.
Pure "Lake Michigan" Ice

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