When most people think of beaches, they visualize the tropics--white sand, warm water, and crowds of sunbathers. My view, however, is contrary. I enjoy exploring The Great Lakes beaches in winter, when temperatures fall well below freezing. Don't get me wrong, I love tropical beaches and warm weather. But to me, a frozen shoreline offers so much more than the typical tropical beach.
In fact, in late November of this year, an early arctic weather pattern turned the Midwest cold and windy - the perfect ingredients for iced lighthouses on the Great Lakes. When I arrived at the lighthouse, my expectations were correct. This was the earliest I can remember, where the outer lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan was completely covered in ice. As a rule, mid to late December is the typical time for icing -cold, windy, and the lake is still liquid. Any later, and Lake Michigan tends to freeze over, and the splashing and spray are suppressed, so the lighthouses don't ice up.
Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind. Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it's unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans.