The ice dunes at Lake Erie Bluffs have dissipated with the thaw. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

As the lake starts freezing, ice chunks form, and waves push them into shore. Those ice chunks build up mounds, 10 feet tall or higher.

But when winds blow from the south and temperatures warm, some ice melts and plates of ice shift north, into the middle of the lake. That dissipates the dunes.  Cold weather may refreeze the water, but without waves, you won’t get more dunes.

“These dunes they come and they go. They may not get any better than this from here on out,” said Andy Avram, interpetitive manager for Lake Metroparks. “I’m going to guess this is probably as good as we get unless we get a real cold March, after a warm-up.”

Which probably none of us are hoping for.

Lake Metroparks are hosting an ice dune hike Feb. 24 at Lake Erie Bluffs.

Avram walked me along the beach at Lake Erie Bluffs in Painesville, which after the first January thaw, were a few feet high in places, made up of foot-sized chunks of ice. Near shore, the ice is mixed with sand, like jagged bricks surrounded by a mortar of snow. Yards away, into the lake, the ice looks pure and clear and blue.

The pure, blue ice — blown in by winds — has also created the incredible ice shoves at Port Clinton.