Kerry and I took to visiting northern Wisconsin to see the ice caves this last weekend. While planning on getting up super early to try to beat the masses. Getting up at 6am and arriving around 7:30am wasn't early enough. Had it been a clear day and the sun had been out, I would of gotten us out the door earlier, but since it was overcast and -3 degrees, we decided to wait and enjoy some coffee and hit the road. While we were early enough to make it into the parking lot to avoid the shuttle, there were still probably already 200 cars there before us. I immediately was a bit annoyed by the shear number of people there, it became comical. Walking up to the steps and seeing a line of people out on the ice walking about a mile to the caves gave clear indication where to go. The sensation grew as what felt like a zoo on ice arrived in distinct fashion.
While seeing the caves was interesting and good exercise, I don't think I would go back for this reason. Getting out in nature for me is an escape, an exploration of the possibility of seeing something serene or wild. The ice was interesting to see, the one cave we did find small enough for only 2 people was my favorite part. However after navigating the zoo like atmosphere, with people smoking cigarettes, throwing their butts on the ground, drinking beer, and of course finding liter in the snow. The estimated 11,000k people that visited the cave the same day we did, lead me to want to create something not based on the ice caves, but the people that were there.
What is it that was really drawing this record number of people to the extreme cold to see?? Since it was closed the last 5 years, it's as if people subconsciously are thinking, this could be the only chance I get to see the ice caves so I have to go. I've never seen so many people taking photographs, with phones, SLR's and even iPad's. People bringing their kids out in sleds, some with the stroller on the sled, one with a ski boot tapped to a carriage with wheels, ect...
Either way if you decide to go to the caves, go in the A.M and during the week if you can. We ending up going cross country skiing up and maybe saw 4 people in a matter of 4 hours, which we both found way more enjoyable. Maybe its just me. Enjoy the photos, I think I might print the one of all the people with a limited addition.