Johnson Kids, 1960s; Carol, Ward and Jane at their house in Old Mission | Mary Johnson Photo
Johnson Kids, 1960s; Carol, Ward and Jane at their house in Old Mission | Mary Johnson Photo

It’s about that time – well, PAST that time – when we all start wondering if the bay will freeze over. Two days ago, I would have said maybe. I took pictures at Haserot Beach, Bowers Harbor and Lighthouse Beach, and it was wintry with a good bit of ice in all locations.

But today it’s sunny outside, and my outdoor temperature here on Bluff Road is 41 degrees. There was a skim of ice on East Bay this morning, but that has vanished with the sunshine. It looks like our temps will continue to be higher this weekend, possibly getting up to 50 degrees. That doesn’t seem very optimistic for the bay to freeze over, but things change rapidly around here from one day to the next.

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Looking ahead to next week, it looks like our temps will be dropping back into the 20s and maybe even teens. Still, we’re into March, and if the bay hasn’t frozen over yet, it seems doubtful, right?

I’m one of those crazy Michigan girls who loves winter, so it’s always a little sad for me when the temps start rising and snow starts to melt. There’s nothing like the peacefulness of a cold and snowy woods at Old Mission Point Park in the middle of winter. I love to snowshoe through those woods, and recently acquired some cross-country skis.

Growing up in Old Mission in the 1960s, my winters were filled with ice-skating from our house to Haserot Beach (and sometimes at the Bowers Harbor ice rink), jumping from iceberg to iceberg in front of the house (how did we ever survive?), sledding down the bank towards the bay, building snow forts in the yard, riding around on our snowmobiles, and skimming across the bay on my brother Dean’s home-made iceboat.

This photo below, taken by my mom, shows my sister Carol on the left, brother Ward in the middle, and me on the right. Dean was probably in his room reading Popular Mechanics or talking to someone in Europe on his ham radio set that he built himself.

I’m guessing I’m probably four years old in this photo, so that would put this around 1964. You’re looking west from our house in Old Mission, so at the top of the hill is Mission Road and off to the right is Lardie’s Grocery, now the Old Mission General Store. To the left would be the intersection of Mission Road, Old Mission Road, and Smokey Hollow Road.

At that time, Old Mission Road (which I think originally was Mission Street) was all one road that ran from Center Road to Swaney Road. Somewhere along the way, it turned into two separate roads, each with its own name.

Johnson Kids, 1960s; Carol, Ward and Jane at their house in Old Mission | Mary Johnson Photo
Johnson Kids, 1960s; Carol, Ward and Jane at their house in Old Mission | Mary Johnson Photo

We would dig holes in the ice in front of our house, set our little ice-fishing device in there, and wait to see if we caught anything. And back then, the ice always froze over clear, so if you skated from our house to Haserot Beach, you could see through the ice into the water, clear as a bell. It seems like the bay froze over more often back then.

As further proof of my love for winter, my favorite time of year at Mission Point Lighthouse is in the dead of winter, freezing my face off with the arctic gales blowing across the ice-covered bay. I always think it must be a little like actually BEING in the Arctic.

If I ever thought about retiring anywhere else, I would not head to Florida or Arizona. I would head north where winter begins early and stretches out endlessly. Tim was the exact opposite. Not fond of winter and always cheery when things started to melt.

With today’s warm and sunny weather, it’s hard to believe I took these photos just two days ago, but there you have it…

Haserot Beach on the Old Mission Peninsula; March 2, 2022 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Haserot Beach on the Old Mission Peninsula; March 2, 2022 | Jane Boursaw Photo
West Bay ice near Mission Point Lighthouse on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
West Bay ice near Mission Point Lighthouse on the Old Mission Peninsula; March 2, 2022 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Bowers Harbor Ice on the Old Mission Peninsula; March 2, 2022 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Bowers Harbor on the Old Mission Peninsula; March 2, 2022 | Jane Boursaw Photo

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2 COMMENTS

  1. My dad and I once walked across east bay to Tobego on the ice. I froze that hard. And yes, skated on the ice. I fell through the ice one winter and we waited 30 years to tell mom. Lots of happy memories of winter then. Rob Rudd

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