Saturday, June 30, 2012

The People are Coming, The People are Coming!

Here they come!  Motorcyclers, four-wheelers, mountain bikers, families, campers, kayakers and travelers of all sorts.  They are here, and more are coming.  I feel good about it, though.  It’s going to be okay.  

Now it’s not even July, and I have eaten a handful of blueberries and bilberries.  Can you believe it?  The rose hips have already taken the place of the petals and are turning pink.  It’s not even July!  But it sure has been warm, and we’ve been getting a decent amount of rain.  Ooh, watch out, you little berries… I’ve got my eyes on you!

I have become ever more curious about the plants up here.  I’ve been finding more to identify and find medical and nutritional uses for.  Hey, I want to be useful in case the world ends!  Plus, my curiosity takes over when I find one I don’t know, and I nose through all my identification guides until I have conquered my new findings.  That is quite fulfilling for me.  It’s like I’m in my own little plant school.

How are you doing?  Are you sweating just sitting in your chair?  It is stinkin hot up here, so I can only imagine that anywhere south would be hotter.  I won’t even complain about the heat to you.

Yesterday, however, my friend Rachel and I made the best of a hot day and went to Bete Gris Beach down by Lac La Belle.  Oh, I haven’t been there in a couple years.  The sand flies were out to bite, but the sunshine was glorious.  And Lake Superior herself is still a bit frigid, especially with the west winds that have been turning her over.  But I jumped in a few times anyway.  She sure is refreshing in that hot sun.

Hunter’s Point has been a nice breather too.  As long as the wind is blowing over the Big Lake, we are golden out there.  And cooler.  Ahh.

I would imagine that because I have only worked two days of the last three weeks, I am not nervous about the week of the Fourth of July.  I feel ready to take it on, actually.  And like I hinted to earlier, I am excited to see some people up here.  It’s been a little too quiet for this little tourist town.  Okay now, remind me I said that in August. 

Have a great day, and stay cool!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back in da Woods

Oh baby, I am BACK!  I get to enjoy life in da Harbor, and it sure is beautiful!

I’ve gotten to take a couple good hikes lately.  Lots more wildflowers are opening up.  I saw my first blossomed pipsissewa today!  Most of them are still closed.  Only two were open on my whole journey, and I was tickled. 

Know what else I saw?  Green blueberries and thimbleberries!  We are going to have thimbleberries in July; that might be a first!  And the blueberries look like they’re going to be abundant!  Oooh, I can taste them in my mind…

I’ve sited and identified some new flowers: purple meadow rue, northern water speedwell, northern bush honeysuckle and smooth red-tipped rose.  I’m also working on telling apart the wild carrot, cow parsnip, water parsnip and water hemlock.  This is especially important because two are edible, two cause skin irritation and one causes death if ingested.  They all have very similar flower clusters, but the leaves are where I will have to take notes.

Let me bring you out of the peaceful woods and into town.  It’s the Longest Day Fishing Tournament.  Lots of boats.  Lots of people.  Lots of Old Milwaukee.  Lots of sunburns too!  So town is a little crazy, but next week will probably be even more so.

I go back to work Wednesday, which is nice because I’m starting to feel like a bum while all my friends are working all the time.  I’m enjoying my time off, of course, but tis the season to make hay.  And when I go back to work, it will be a hay day.  I will be running my butt off.  Tourists will be everywhere.  Here we go again! 

But life is good in da Harbor, and I just need to remember that.  I am one lucky lady!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bad News, but Good Beer

By now you are probably worried about me.  You should be.  I’ve been laid up for a week.  No work.  No biking.  No walks wandering for wildflowers.  No staring at her Majesty's boundless waves.  No stopping in for a pint at Brickside Brewery (just below my porch).  Just me and my puppy laying down for most of the day.  Happy summer!

Remember that video from the last post where I went over the handlebars on my bike?  (If not, you should really watch it with sound.  It’s hilarious.)  Well that incident, along with many others, lead to my current condition.  I am now able to walk carefully with a cane.

This is not meant to be a pity party.  This is simply why you haven’t heard from me.  I just checked my email for the first time in a week today! 

But never fear.  I am getting better and better every day.  Woo hoo!  So life is good.

It is also now quite different with a micro-brewery below my house.  Seriously.  My parking lot is their parking lot.  So far they have been seeing some decent business (judging by the number of car doors I hear outside).  And the beer is delicious.  I had the luxury of sampling each flavor the day before I couldn’t move.  They were only 4 once tasters, now don’t go getting the wrong idea.

Right now they are serving Walters Weissen, Fine Day Pale Ale, UP IPA and (my fave) Park Bench Porter.  If you are in the area, please stop in for a pint at Brickside Brewery, across from the general store.

Hopefully I’ll have some fun outdoor things to tell you soon!  Take care, and be safe!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Making Sticks

Oh, you are really going to get me into trouble one of these days.  Last night, because I promised you some footage, I ended up full of blackfly bites, soaked up to my ankles and with my face in the gravel.  However, the clips and stories I got for you made it all worth it.

Right now the logging company is actively logging up by Clark Mine Road.  Three of the CHTC singletrack trails have been demolished.  And as I watched empty double bed trucks go up, and logfull double beds leave town, I wanted to see for myself what it looks like up there.  Only I had to do it when the workers weren’t cutting, so I didn’t die.  Well, I didn’t die.  There’s another bright side to this adventure!

These are some of the first things I saw as I pedaled up East Vein Road.  The blackflies  swarmed me maliciously, so some of these were taken as I was on the move.

Something big has been here

East Vein Road as it veers off from Clark Mine Road 

Blue paint markings on the soil

Pink ribbon markings on the trees

Huge piles of moved earth

Another pile further up the road

Now let me interject.  Right around here is where I took a video of what it looks like to travel down these roads.  They are quite bumpy... I should have been hanging on with both hands.

You can laugh.  After I watched this, tears streamed down my face for way longer than the video itself.  I even laughed after I wiped some of the dirt off me on the road.  Oh, boy.  I need a hands free camera indeed!  Yes, I flipped right over the handle bars because I only had my hand on the front tire brake.  Stupid, stupid.

Shortly after that, I had to traverse a loooong puddle.  I geared my bike, so that I could pedal through without tipping over.  But this puddle was deep, so even on my bike, I got soaked up the pant legs.  Oh, boy, I thought.  What's next?

A marked stump

The site of Old Clark Mine -- Closed

 At this point, I was heading back west toward Manganese Road.  There were so many new side roads, that, if I didn't trust my gut, I might have gotten lost!

A tree marked in red


Then I came upon the equipment.  Now I am not necessarily against logging.  I write in notebooks and wipe with toilet paper.  As long as trees are replanted, they are a renewable resource.  But when I saw these machines, my heart ached for the loss of life in my back yard.

Huge pieces of logging equipment

A close up of the red one's tool (it was as tall as me!)

Another view of the red one

The other side of the green one.  Those claws were scarily huge

Then I came to another site with stacks of logs.  I must say, I wasn't quite prepared for this one.

The blade on that saw was bigger than me!

The claws on the other side of this orange beast

Trees that were in the way

A close up of the freshly cut

Gravel in front of another "Closed" sign

At this point, I was next to the beaver pond.  It was alive!  ALIVE!!!  So here is a video of the sounds.  Crank it up, and you will be able to hear them all.

Oh, the pond made it all worth while for me.  I even saw a swimming turtle!  I thought that would be the end of my logging journey, but further down the Clark Mine Road, I saw another pile of sticks.

I did not obey this sign

The panoramic view of more logs

And that was pretty much it for my adventure of how one clears the forest.  As I coasted down farther, I stopped when I heard a strange sound.  Coyotes!  Ooh, they were howling like mad!  They weren't audible on the video I took, however, so this will have to do.  Owoooooo!!!  Ow ow ow owoooooooo!!  Yip yip yip.  Owoooooo!!!  

The sun was about to set, and I was up on the hill, so I decided to ride down to Lake Manganese.  Oh, it was so beautiful and still.  Ahh.  

On the way back home, I found some little friends!

Turtle digging to lay eggs

Turtle crossing Manganese Road

On my way down the hill, I saw a little mouse run across the road as well.  It was a good thing I was wearing my glasses because I got pelted with bugs as I coasted to Lake Fanny Hooe Resort.  

Thanks for coming with me.  Promise me you'll think of the old Clark Mine site next time you blow your nose!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Back to the Grind

Whew!  Today is my first day off since Saturday, opening day of the Harbor Haus.  But it is not really "off" since I am volunteering to man a booth for the Trails Club.  Welcome to summer!  At least I got my batch of thimble-raspberry wine started.  Yes!

Memorial Weekend was the busiest one this town can remember seeing.  That is great for all the businesses.  The Trails Club had their Ride the Keweenaw Event.  This brought up pro mountain bike riders, hundreds of other riders, press for the Keweenaw and the inauguration of the Copper Harbor Trails Club's Ride Center Status.  We are one of seven mountain bike destinations IN THE WORLD according to the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Gosh, I don't think I even told you that yet.  Shame on me.  You could have been here for the chainsaw ribbon cutting!  Want to see it in action?  Check out this TV6 News Post.

During this week, the pace has slowed down a bit.  But here is another weekend with the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association in town (where I'm manning the booth).  It should be fun.  Maybe I'll even sell some books!

I hope you are doing well.  I just wanted to check in, but I have some interesting news and pictures on the way, so stay tuned!