Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blow Me Down

I'm making a trek to da big town today: all the way to Houghton.  I heard the colors are beautiful, and I even saw some pictures for proof.  I'll do my best to grab a couple shots for you, but I can't say I'm good at driving and shooting!  Wish me luck.

I don't know what will be left on the trees or in our homes after tonight.  The forecast says that we will have high winds picking up during the afternoon, reaching 40 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 70 mph.  Hunter's Point, I'll see you tonight!

We may not have internet for the next couple days, so I just wanted to send you a brief message.  Hopefully I'll be able to capture the rapture for you!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And now, back to the show...

Okay.  Intermission is over.  Yesterday people were crawling all over this town.  Dinner at the Harbor Haus was the busiest I've worked in weeks.  People are up to see what colors the Keweenaw has to offer.

Color Update:
I would put the majestic maples at 50-60% turned right now.  They are about to peak before they fall off.  If maples are your thing, get up here soon.  Birches are yellowing at about 30% throughout the Keweenaw.  The oaks are just starting -- just under 10% are rusting to maroon and crimson.

But the leaves are fluttering through the air and starting to cover the ground.  Today the sun is shining, so it's a nice day to look at Mother Nature's palette.  Facing southwest from the top of Brockway Mountain, you'll see a nice spectrum.  I took a picture for you, but I forgot to upload it from my dad's camera.

Speaking of Brockway Mountain, today, upon that hill, is a memorial service for one of the wonderful friends I went to Isle Royale with last year.  Mr. Dan Wissman will be remembered always in our hearts as one who would always help a friend before himself.  He never spoke ill of anyone.  He was such a giver who never expected anything in return.

If you know anyone as wonderful as this, please tell them how much you appreciate them while you still have the chance.  And remember, Do What Down Wind Dan Would Do.  This world would be a much better place if we all did.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pictures of da Leaves

Overcast and cool in da Harbor today.  I like it.

There are still quite a few RV campers and mountain bikes and kayaks and ATVs going by on vehicles.  People are still coming up for a vacation!  Right about now I long for the days when I know every person who walks or drives by.

Color Update:
Maples are really coming along nice.  Here is a cluster from my back yard.

Sugar plum trees are turning yellow.  If you're wondering the percentage of change, this photo gives a good idea.

That's about all I have for now.  Ta ta!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Intermission and a Sunrise

Nice and cool in da Harbor today.  Which is funny because two days ago we sweltered in that miserably heat and humidity.  I often think the weather is just like a woman.  Make your own insinuations here.

The pace of life has cooled off too, during this intermission between summer and color season.  With this comes a drop in business hours.  The Isle Royale Queen IV, which shipped out and back every day until Labor Day, now only runs on Mondays and Fridays.  Now I have to look at the clock in the morning to see when it's 8:00 because her horn doesn't notify me.

And with that comes later hours for other businesses in town.  The Pines and The Tamarack get to open later, which seems to make the waitresses and cooks happy.  Also, the General Store opens TWO hours later, making my mornings a little quieter without the coffee talk and laughter from across the way.  It's different, all right.  I'm not sure how to feel about it yet.  It seems like it went by so fast when it's all over.

But it's not over!  This is just an intermission.  Please purchase your snacks, and use the restroom now.  The show will continue promptly when those leaves change colors.  Speaking of…

Color Update
The small maples are changing nicely to magentas and crimsons.  The tall trees of all kinds are still green.  The ferns are going brown and yellow.  The bilberry bushes are turning red.  With this cooler weather, the rest may change a bit sooner.  But don't jump in your car just yet.

Here is a treat for you (unless you are sick of sunrise pictures).  Last Sunday I slept on a peaceful, pebbly beach in hopes to see some northern lights.  No avail.  Good thing I planned for the following 5 hours because, after Lake Superior woke me up with a crashing wave at the bottom of my sleeping bag, I noticed the pink sky.  Below is the first color scheme I captured.

I took a plethora of pictures, but I didn't want to bore you, so here is one after the sun came up.  The pink subsided a bit, but it was still quite lovely!

During Mr. Butters and my time watching the sun come up, an eagle flew overhead to see if we were tasty snacks.  One wave of my arm assured him that we most certainly were not.  Off he flew, disappointed and hungry.  Darn, I should have brought some eagle snacks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fresh Air

Happy post Labor Day!  I hope you had a fun weekend.  Da Harbor was pretty nuts, but we'd worry if it wasn't.

The Fat Tire Festival was a huge success.  We had a whopping 437 racers for our cross country event -- over 100 more than our last record!  Wow, this little town has a lot to say for itself.  You can check results for this race at the Trails Club link on the left.  

Also for your viewing pleasure, here is a link to a video I took across from the Mariner of the mass start of the race.  Lots of spandex, my friend.  Note the unicycles toward the end.  What troopers!

Now the town has a sigh of relief and an air of peace.  Ahh.  Summer isn't over yet, but a bulk of the families are done with their summer vacations.  Now people are wondering when the leaves are going to change colors.  If you are one of these people, you are in luck because I'll post an update every time I write.

Color Update:
Just a few maples are turning crimson.  Thimblberry leaves are turning yellow.  All else is green.  If the weather stays mild like this, it should be about three more weeks until peak and sooner if it gets cold.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Copper Harbor Sunrise

I thought you might enjoy watching the sunrise with me.  Notice how much it moved over from only two mornings ago, before I went to the Island. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Almost Three Hours on Isle Royale

Surprise!  Yesterday I took an impromptu day trip to Isle Royale.  My friend Rachel was going for the night, and I had the day off, so I figured, what the heck… I haven't been there this year.

At 7 am, when I biked down to make my reservation on the Queen IV, I wandered around the boat dock area, and, low and behold, what did I see?  The sun rising from the lake.  Oh, glory, what a treat!  I was hoping to catch a sunrise since I was up so early.  Here it is below.  

I swung home quickly, and when I got back to the dock, what did I see then?  Forty geese in a row in front of the ascending sun.  I'm not a photographer, as you well know, but I thought you might enjoy this scene.

I boarded the Queen IV, and made my way to the bow, where I knew I would spend most, if not all of the 3 1/2 hours to the island.  The sun was right behind me, pasting my silhouette perfectly against the front of the ship.  Here is my self portrait from the front of the boat.

The ride over was nice and smooth.  Mostly cloudy with a spot of sprinkles.  Captain Ben mentioned that Lake Superior's temperature this summer was only about 58 degrees F, so the ride was a little chilly for a couple girls who planned on basking in the sunshine for the day.

Two hours into the ride, I took a video of being in the middle of the Big Lake.  We couldn't see land anywhere around us!  I just love that.  Do to a lack of bandwidth at my house, however, I will be able to download that video at a later date, and make it available for you then, if you're still interested.

By the time we were close to Isle Royale, I was on the back of the boat, watching the wake.  I tell you, without warning, I turned my head, and there it was: Isle Royale in all its rocky, lichen, foliage glory.  My heart exploded through my eyes, and I sobbed for a moment.  I had forgotten how magical it was for me.  Seeing all the little islands, beaches and Rock Harbor brought all my memories back to me in an instant.  I suddenly felt so at home -- on my favorite playground.

Off the boat, Rachel and I knew exactly where we wanted to go -- not too far because I am easily distracted, and I had to be back on the boat in 2 hours and 45 minutes, but in a place where we wouldn't see anyone.  We had a place on the bouldery shore in mind.

On our path there, I was just amazed at all the beautiful plants.  I've only been there in early May, so September foliage was a treat.  I mean, it was the same stuff the Keweenaw has, but it was on Isle Royale!  We ate raspberries and thimbleberries right off the plants.  Mmm, Isle Royale berries.

We ventured across some large rocks (one of my favorite things to do) and found a nice spot out of people's way.  We set up a little base camp, and focused on taking it all in.  The spot we picked was windy, but look at the waves coming right at us through that gap.

I couldn't resist climbing around.  I crawled up some boulders and scouted the area.  One phenomenon worthy of note was a huge pine tree that got knocked down (presumably by the wind) and the four foot wide boulder that it used to be rooted in, cracked from the fall after the tree's roots gave way.  My pictures of this really did't turn out, but I marveled at it for a while.  Here is a pretty good idea of the landscape.

Time passed much too quickly out there, and it was time for me to make my way back.  We hiked up to the Scoville Point Trail, so I could make better time.  Rachel went on her way, and I turned to run to the boat.  Then I stopped, Wait a minute.  Why am I running in Isle Royale?  I should walk and enjoy my time.  If I hear the boat horn, then I'll sprint.  So I walked down the path -- it probably only took me four minutes, but when I rounded the corner to the dock, what did I see?  The Queen IV pulling away from the dock!

It can't be!  I never heard the horn!  I raced to the dock -- all the way to the end, my arms flailing to them.  No one was around, so I called out to a lady by the store, "Is the Queen leaving?"  She nodded her head.  I shoved my sun glasses and sweatshirt in my backpack and yelled, "can I just swim out there?"  I was ready, but I didn't really see a safe way to mount the boat from the frigid waters of Her Majesty.

Just then, a ranger came out with a  radio, and paged the Captain to let him know what was going on.  They had a bad connection, and further and further the Queen IV putted out.  We went into the information center, so he could get better reception.

Then I heard the Captain's voice, "Yes, we are turning around."  That sweet, sweet Captain, he came back for me!  I was so grateful for everyone who helped this poor little girl make her way on the boat.  Honestly, I wouldn't have minded being stuck on the Island for a night, but I'm sure the Harbor Haus would have!  At first I was pretty embarrassed, but then I thought, well, it will make a good story!
On the ride back, I met a very cool lady, named Cindy, who came over from Massachusettes.  She spent ten days out there by herself.  We talked almost the whole time on the bow of the boat --- my favorite spot.  But the water wasn't so calm this time, and we were crashing in some pretty heavy waves, so I had to stand at the front and be one with the waves, so my stomach's contents could stay one with me.  Again, it was another lovely ride back with Captain Ben and Company.  

This morning when the Queen IV honked her horn to leave, I felt a little twinkle in my heart as I remembered yesterday, when I had to cover my ears for it because I was on the boat to my favorite place.