After a stubbornly warm winter, conditions are finally cold enough for the ice caves on Lake Superior to open this weekend.
According to a posting on the Apostle Island ice caves Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, the National Park Service plans to open the caves to the public this Saturday.
That is the situation as things stand. As you know, this winter has been unseasonably warm, but temperatures are expected to remain below freezing – hovering between 10 and 20 above – in the Duluth area between now and Saturday.
However, those venturing up to Wisconsin this weekend will need to be careful, with rangers telling the Duluth News Tribune that conditions are "ridiculously slippery," and footwear with good traction is a must.
"Rangers checked the ice today and found the walk to the ice caves very treacherous," the Facebook posting added. "Large areas of bare ice create extremely slippery conditions. Near the caves, piles of fractured ice sheets make footing rough and unsteady. Wear sturdy boots with ice cleats on the soles and carry ski poles to prevent slipping."
Anyone planning a trip should keep a close eye out for further announcements on either Facebook or the park's website in case conditions change.
It will cost $5 to visit the ice caves this year, with the park service seeking to increase its revenue to meet rising staffing and infrastructure costs.