Not the Lake: Boats in the snow

The 1,000 foot long Burns Harbor bulk freighter is docked off Superior, Wis. for winter lay up.
The 1,000-foot-long Burns Harbor bulk freighter is docked in Superior, Wis. for winter layup.

It looks like someone tipped a skyscraper into a snow-covered cornfield outside a small Wisconsin town.

Or maybe a cold Canadian wind blew it down.

Actually, this picture features the sun setting on a giant ore freighter docked for the winter in Superior, Wisconsin.  The boat is called the Burns Harbor. It measures 1,000-feet in length. For comparison, the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis is 792-feet-tall.

That’s a lot of boat.

Jen and I and my buddy Keith explored the Park Point Nature Trail on Minnesota Point last Sunday. We walked out an ice-packed beach, slid across frozen waves and jumped over lonely driftwood. After turning around near a bigfoot stick structure, we ducked into a small pine forest for shelter.

“Let’s go across the point and watch the sunset,” I said. “There’s a ‘crosstown’ trail not far back.”

Jen and Keith were game.

We forged a trail through a foot of snow and stopped at the frozen edge of Superior Bay. The BNSF ore docks glistened orange and black in the twilight. Almost directly across a desert of ice and snow sat the Burns Harbor, docked for winter lay up.

“That thing is 1,000-feet-long,” I said. “How many stories tall would that be?”

Keith did some quick calculations: 10-feet-per-story. 1,000-feet.

“About 100 stories?”

“Almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall,” I said.

No one believed me.

A quick smart phone search backed me up: The Empire State Building is 1,250-feet-feet tall.

I stepped away from the shoreline and made this picture with the trees in the foreground. The Burns Harbor glowed in the sun and dwarfed an East End church steeple.

We turned and walked back into a fierce winter wind.

In a few months, that wind will blow our Superior skyscraper back out to sea.

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