Fascinating Ice Formations on Lake Ontario’s Shoreline
Our winter here in southern Ontario has been a real mixed bag to say the least. Yoyoing between a series of very warm spells and frigid Arctic air has left us, here in Toronto, with no snow to speak of, and it is now the end of February. What a surprise then, when Bob and I walked along the shore of Lake Ontario in Whitby, to find the water thick with slab ice and the most fanciful ice formations decorating the shoreline.
When first we emerged from a walking trail onto a section of pebble-strewn beach, my eyes were drawn to this fallen tree that, during the warmer months, afforded a place to sit while dangling your feet in the water. Now coated with a dense layer of ice, the only thing trailing from its prone trunk was a thick profusion of slim icicles that glowed white in the late afternoon sun.
Always intrigued by the translucence and luminosity of frozen water, I had to get closer to the ice formations to better appreciate them. A backwards glance towards the west threw the gilded crown of this once stout tree into silhouette and had it almost looking like a black and white photograph.
In the distance, another accumulation of driftwood stood as a barrier where the constant action of waves and airborne spray resulted in a thick curtain of icicles that all but hid from view the next spectacle of crystalline shapes.
With uniformly contoured pebbles clattering beneath our feet, Bob and I continued eastward.
We were intent upon looking through the window to see what nature had next provided for our wondering eyes to admire.
Even as we lost traction on the thin veneer of ice that lay at the water’s edge, I was intrigued by the variety of textures that resulted from the continuous application of water layered as it froze in place on the wooden surfaces.
When inspected closely, some globules of ice reminded me of intricate spun glass figurines…
with dainty finials adding to their elegance, features that would become elongated whenever the next storm assaults the narrow beach. With their amorphous shapes and smooth, rounded surfaces that were pleasing to the touch, I reveled in the tactile experience while being careful not to snap off the delicate strands of ice.
It was not sufficient to explore only the first two piles of driftwood ensconced in ice. Always one to seek adventure, Bob and I stepped carefully as we made our way further down the rocky shore.
I had to literally crawl beneath some ice-crusted logs for a more intimate view of a tangle of branches. They were so heavily cloaked in an icy sheet that only rare strands of sunlight could infiltrate the shady enclosure.
It was kind of eerie sitting there on the stones with the sound of ice slabs rattling nearby and icy stalactites brushing the bottom of the darkened cavern.
I find the winter landscape very beautiful if you can find time to get outside and take a look.
It was one of the exceptionally cold days when Bob and I moseyed along the windswept shore of Lake Ontario. A light but constant onshore breeze reminded us that we were in for another warm spell in the days ahead.
Until then, the knobby, frozen island that sprouted a fantastical tree will bob gently on the slushy waves and perhaps gain a few more inches in diameter. In the meantime, I had so much fun letting my imagination run wild.
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