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!


  1. Wow, that was quite intense although a bit concerning. The lumber industry is pretty revolting but at least it's renewable, and probably necessary in this day and age. The Beaver Pond audio was amazing, taking me back to many camping trips up in Da' Keweenaw. Thanks for taking the time and effort to capture & post it all Amanda!

  2. Hi Amanda, yeah, logging isn't pretty. Even when it's done according to best practices, it's pretty damn ugly for awhile. But not forever. It's the case with so many of the products and foods we use, people can be shocked when they see how they're made.

    As you say, paper comes from trees. :-) But just as importantly, forests need to be managed, and part of that is regular harvesting. Left alone, forests become overgrown, the floor gets choked with debris, and forests then "harvest" themselves by means of fire. When people live nearby, fire isn't a great option obviously, so it's preferable to harvest the trees through environmentally-responsible logging. This is also good for the wildlife, renewing their habitat. The best way to regenerate and get new growth sometimes involves manual replanting, but often the better way is to allow the regeneration to happen naturally.

    Love your blog! :-) And congrats on your wedding,

    - Gretchen

  3. Thank you for the wonderful trip! The videos are very nice...but try to be a little more careful! You need a Gopro camera attached the your hanble bars.The sounds remind me of the days growing up on Portage lake outside of Dollar Bay. How I love traveling up to the Harbor. Going to try and make the loop through the Harbor around the 4th of July. Take care of yourself we need our Harbor Fix!