Ice Caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Lake Superior

For the first time since the winter of 2009, the ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore near Bayfield, Wisconsin were open for the public to access.  Conditions have to be just right to form ice on Lake Superior that is safe enough for visitors to walk approximately a mile from Meyers Beach to the ice caves.  Winter 2014 has been brutal in Wisconsin, so the conditions were right.  As soon as I heard that the caves were accessible, I was in!  What follows are my twenty two favorite photos from January 24, 2014.

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 The colors of the ice and sandstone cliffs was breathtaking.  And look at the size of those hanging icicles!

The colors of the ice and sandstone cliffs was breathtaking.  And look at the size of those hanging icicles!

 Looking out toward Lake Superior from inside one of the deeper sea caves.

Looking out toward Lake Superior from inside one of the deeper sea caves.

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 The ice in this crevasse was very smooth compared to the ice on less protected areas of the sandstone cliffs.

The ice in this crevasse was very smooth compared to the ice on less protected areas of the sandstone cliffs.

 A cave eroded out from the middle of a peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior

A cave eroded out from the middle of a peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior

 Beautiful frost had formed on dome of the icicles in some of the areas that were exposed to wind-borne moisture.

Beautiful frost had formed on dome of the icicles in some of the areas that were exposed to wind-borne moisture.

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 Some trees on the bluffs above Lake Superior were bent over with the weight of ice clinging to their branches.

Some trees on the bluffs above Lake Superior were bent over with the weight of ice clinging to their branches.

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 Some formations, such as the curved section near the top of this photo, were incredibly delicate looking, yet were made of literally tons of frozen water.

Some formations, such as the curved section near the top of this photo, were incredibly delicate looking, yet were made of literally tons of frozen water.

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 It is humbling to think of the wave power needed to create all of the caves and coves in the sandstone bluffs.

It is humbling to think of the wave power needed to create all of the caves and coves in the sandstone bluffs.

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 The reds, whites, and blues in this ice formation almost felt like patriotic bunting seen around national holidays.

The reds, whites, and blues in this ice formation almost felt like patriotic bunting seen around national holidays.

 The roof of this cave had a very clear, slick coating of ice from which the icicles dripped.  This was one of Amy's favorite photos.

The roof of this cave had a very clear, slick coating of ice from which the icicles dripped.  This was one of Amy's favorite photos.

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 The colors in the ice and bluff here were mind blowing.  And look at the size of the icicle in the background compared to the person standing near it!  It was unbelievable!

The colors in the ice and bluff here were mind blowing.  And look at the size of the icicle in the background compared to the person standing near it!  It was unbelievable!

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 I would love to see the three waterfalls inside this cave during the summer.  I have a hunch that they wouldn't be quite as impressive (and also that I'd get crushed by the lake's waves trying to get a kayak to a position to see this cave).

I would love to see the three waterfalls inside this cave during the summer.  I have a hunch that they wouldn't be quite as impressive (and also that I'd get crushed by the lake's waves trying to get a kayak to a position to see this cave).

 All if the different ice colors are visible in this little cove.

All if the different ice colors are visible in this little cove.

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