Day 2 of Duluth’s big snowstorm. From our house, about 1/2 mile in from Lake Superior, it seemed a mild event. The main feature was the slow but constant and significant accumulation of snow. Sure, it was windy, as evidenced by the broken branches in the yard and slightly swaying trees, but for the most part just a pretty winter wonderland.
Similar to yesterday, by late morning I made my way out into the snowy accumulation. This time I donned snowshoes and headed toward the lake. We had at least 8″ of heavy new snow in our yard, but the closer I got to the shore, the wetter, sloppier and skimpier the snow. And when I emerged from the new lakewalk tunnel, I was surprised to look down and discover that my jacket was covered in droplets and soaking wet. I had entered an entirely different micro-climate.
But that wasn’t all. I was suddenly in the throes of a real storm. I could hear the wind as I approached, but that was nothing compared to the fury with which it whipped past me. Sticking to the shelter of trees at the shore, I watched as the brown water churned and huge waves crashed over the rocks. It was all I could do to hold my little camera steady to see if I could catch the action.
Not content with one view, I soldiered on toward Brighton Beach. The wind coming down the lake was so fierce, I couldn’t see a thing as I fought my way forward through the windy wetness. There was no way I was going to survive on the open rocky beach, so I sought another grove of trees for my viewing point. There I could see the rainy snow driven sideways in sheets across the water. It wasn’t a place I wanted to dawdle, and as soon as I did an about face the wind fairly blew me back to the tunnel. On the way, I had to smile at the snow encrusted North Shore sign, perfect proof of the horizontal snowfall.
My return trip was the same transition in reverse, and I reached home in the quiet snowfall I’d left. It was a short but intense excursion, from one world to another and back again. I guess we really are in the throes of a major storm after all.