Frozen fog and rime time in Wisconsin

Until Green Bay meteorologist, Justin Steinbrinck first mentioned it a three days ago, I had never heard of ice fog and I’ve lived through 57 winters.

It sounded kind of cool to me, though, like something Jack Frost would dance through, or Alfred Hitchock would produce outside a dimly lit rear windows.

Turns out, it’s kind of both. From a distance, ice rime, which happens during a dense winter fog, looks magical, as though every tree in Wisconsin hauled out the lacey togs to welcome a new year. Close up, though, things get a little foreboding. Because the water droplets freeze at the exact moment they come in contact with the branch they land on, they look like medieval spikes.

Unlike pure ice, which tends to bring branches and power lines crashing down when it forms around them, rime ice rest sort of gently but stubbornly, where it lands. The result has been days of rare, quiet beauty around here, quite a contrast to the simmering tension in the world all around.

We treated ourselves to a Sunday stroll through the frozen fog gallery we found in the woods near our cabin and it felt like we had wandered onto another much quieter, slower paced planet. We lingered as long as we could (until kick-off, really, which proved to be a worthy distraction. Go Pack Go!)

We have plenty of reasons to find optimism in this fresh, new year and I’m looking forward to all it will offer.

But it sure was nice to linger in limbo for a little while, among the frozen fog and rime.

Those look like pine branches, but they’re actually birch with some rime ice gussying up the joint.
The whole woods looked like a Disney ice palace.
And the sudden freeze formed mythological creatures like this snow snake with its head resting on a branch. I found it resting here, where the weather conditions that created it allowed it to preen.
And, if you look closely, you’ll see an ice polar bear poking its head out from behind that tree. (At least I did).
That delicate ice dressed up the branches and formed spidery frames along the river.
Even the river stood still enough for this reflection picture.
See the traffic pattern on this pond? They look like airline runways and they kind of are, but they’re made by hundreds of wild turkeys.
I like this picture because it shows the life cycle of a Wisconsin woods.
I wrote a rhyme about a time when rime ice filled the wood. We wandered through, enjoyed the view and knew the world was good.

2 thoughts on “Frozen fog and rime time in Wisconsin

    1. It’s actually been a little warmer than we’re used to these past few days. Foggy and mostly warm. (I’m ready for a little sunshine.)

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