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A Frozen Walk to Island Ice Caves

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For the first time in five years, Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, has frozen enough to allow visitors from northern Wisconsin to walk across the lake to the ice caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. According to Reuters, officials declared the trek "low risk" about a month ago, and nearly 35,000 people have made the mile-long hike since then. According to the NOAA, the Great Lakes have reached their broadest ice coverage in 20 years, at 88 percent -- with Lake Superior at about 95 percent. Over the weekend, Reuters photographer Eric Miller trekked out on the ice, capturing these images. Update: Photographer Paul Johnson was kind enough to share a few of his nighttime ice cave photos as well, numbers 16-18 below. [18 photos]

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Sightseers look at a frozen rock face along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, near Cornucopia, Wisconsin, on February 14, 2014. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, about 94% of Lake Superior is covered with ice, enabling thousands of people to visit the islands on foot for the first time since 2009. (Reuters/Eric Miller)
Sightseers look at a frozen rock face along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, near Cornucopia, Wisconsin, on February 14, 2014. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, about 94% of Lake Superior is covered with ice, enabling thousands of people to visit the islands on foot for the first time since 2009. (Reuters/Eric Miller)
Sightseers trek across a frozen expanse of Lake Superior to the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore near Cornucopia, Wisconsin February 15, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
A ship is frozen in Lake Superior at port in Superior, Wisconsin February 15, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
The propeller of a ship sits frozen in Lake Superior at port in Superior, Wisconsin, on February 15, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Sightseers trek across frozen Lake Superior to the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Sightseers are framed by the icicles of a sea cave, a frozen expanse of Lake Superior in the background, at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Sightseers crouch to avoid icicles in a sea cave on at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Icicles and hoar frost form on the ceiling of an ice cave by Lake Superior, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Matthias Doherty slides down an ice wall in a sea cave of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Pete Miller, from Minong, Wisconsin looks through an opening with his dog Max Sightseers at the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Mike Rundle, from Janesville, Wisconsin, looks at ice formations in a sea cave near Cornucopia, Wisconsin, on February 15, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
A woman photographs ice formations at sunset on a rock face of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Sightseers look at icicles at the mouth of a sea cave on Lake Superior, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Chuck Steinke and Sandy Kimble from Chicago wear warm hats as they trek across a frozen stretch of Lake Superior, after visiting the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 15, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
A woman walks her dog at sunset on frozen Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, by the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on February 14, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Miller) #
Ice cave interior, February 13, 2014. Lighting and ice illumination with LED flashlight, iPhone flashlight and a headlamp. Paul Johnson) #
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, February 13, 2014. Paul Johnson) #
A cold clear night at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, February 13, 2014. Lighting and ice illumination with LED flashlight, iPhone flashlight and a headlamp. Paul Johnson) #

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