Sunday, September 30, 2012

Color Me Fall

Color Report
Well, I was right about one thing: the leaves were going to change in a snap.  They did!  If you haven't already, GET YOUR BUNS UP HERE!  I have heard second hand from numerous people that the leaves are peak south of Houghton and on up.  The north-facing ridges are still a little lacking, but the color they have is brilliant.

Need I say more?  Plan a trip this week.  This is the one!

I can tell many people already know that because town is packed right now.  This afternoon, it looked like a parade was coming into town, but it was just leaf peepers!  Oh, boy.  Here we go again!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Scenic Drive

Chances are, you've been checking this blog everyday to see how the colors are up here.  I know, I know.  If anything major changed, I would have told you right away.

Color Report
If you are getting antsy, just drive up here.  Everyone I talked to who drove up from anywhere south of Houghton (a territory currently untraveled by yours truly), said the colors are beautiful.  Granted, we do have some of the brightest maples up here, which are still mostly green.

Wednesday I took a trip down the 41 covered stretch (there were some breathtaking spots,  but still mostly green), down toward Lac La Belle (still lacking in color), down the Gay/Lac La Belle Road (not much for color, but great Lake Superior views!), down into Traprock Valley (the most consistently brilliant stretch of the trip) through Lake Linden and into Houghton (which has more of the subdued color tones).

And on my way north on 41, I would say the colors are at about 50%, but nothing really struck me as "Oh, my heavens!  You have to see this!"  Okay, so maybe you can wait a few more days.  The air has been chilly at night and the winds are low, so the leaves are still hanging on!

Whew!  Do you feel better now?  You didn't miss much up here.

It's been a busy weekend so far, though!  Last night I was so busy at work that I had flashbacks of August.  My bar was full most of the night with people waiting for a dinner table.  But that's my world.  Thanks for listening.

Oh, you might get a kick out of this.  Thursday evening was the annual Copper Harbor Improvement Association (CHIA) dinner.  Everyone dines and socializes.  The CHIA president, Syd, gave a wonderful speech and handed out awards.  We have many amazing people in this town who help it thrive.

When it came time for the Bear Pit award, which is a nicer was of saying thanks-for-doing-something-dumb-so-we-can-all-laugh-at-you award, I thought I was off the hook.  I already got one three years ago for my black market F.A.Q. pamphlet.  But nope.  "Crash and Record" I heard her say.  I knew right away I was being honored for flipping off my bike while recording it.  It was a hilarious video, though.  I still laugh when I watch that thing.  I bet they're wondering what I'll do next.  I'll keep them guessing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rain, Rain

Today is the seventh day in a row of cold, wet and windy.  Seven days of raincoat adventures.  On the bright side, we have had a few moments of sunshine in between to cast a couple rainbows.

Color Report
Yesterday I drove from Hancock to da Harbor in the morning.  Why do you care?  Because the leaves are turning beautiful colors south of here!  I saw some gorgeous purple and red maples.  Ooh, those are my fave.  Some nice yellow ones too.  I would say the southern part of the peninsula is at about 40% color right now.

But up here it looks pretty much the same as the last color report I gave.  I guess the trees needed some rain!  The cool weather could have hurried them along, but not yet.  No.  Not yet.  We are at about 10% color.  I have a feeling it's going to be a quick change after this, though.  I'll keep you posted.

Otherwise, all is well in da Harbor... at least from my little slice!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Walk Along Hunter's Point

Yesterday the wind was whipping from the north.  I was supposed to go for a mountain bike ride, but since the weather was cold and rainy, I made a plan B.  I don't need to slip off any cedar boardwalks on my bike, you know.

I donned my rain apparel and rode my bike out to the Marina.  Duce was so good; he followed right along.  I parked in the bushes, and we hiked along the south shore.  My goal was to go out along the harbor side and back along the big lake side.  I was so determined not to see Her Majesty's waves until I got to the tippy tip that I even shaded my eyes with my hands if she was coming into view.

Here are some pictures of what I noticed along the way.

My favorite spot along the south shore

A view of the town from across the harbor

A bouquet of aster

As I approached the point, I could feel the wind from the north, but I wasn't going to look!

Then I saw her face.  Now I'm a believer.

A view of Lake Superior and Porter's Island

I stood on that big rock out there.  You know, the one about twelve feet high?  It's my favorite, but even up there, the lake licked us.

Splashes from atop the big rock

The wave were rolling in

It sure was slippery walking along all those wet boulders.  I even fell a couple times, but so did graceful Mr. Butters.  Then I didn't feel so bad.  

Along the pebble section facing west

A mini rock stack caught my eye.  Just a little guy!

Then I kissed Her Majesty goodbye and ducked back along the trail toward the Marina.  But the fun wasn't done yet!

Here is our color... on the ground

A long boardwalk the trail crew built

It was wonderful to be out there again.  It always changes.  And it always stills and invigorates my heart simultaneously.  Thanks for coming with us... and you didn't even have to get wet!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall is in the Air

I opened my back door this morning to check the temperature (mostly to see how many layers I have to wear), and do you know what I smelled?  Fall!  That crisp, cool scent of fall.  So refreshing.

Color Report
When I walk or bike along the trails, I look on path and see golden maple leaves, crimson maple leaves and brown oak leaves.  Just above the ground, the thimbleberry leaves are yellow, the bilberry bushes are spotty with purple and red and the ferns are brown.  Then I look up to the trees, and the leaves are still green.  Green.

Even up on Brockway Mountain the other day, I would say only 5% of the leaves are not green.  It's going to be longer than I thought!

All is well.  I have a book signing at the Laughing Loon tomorrow from noon to 2pm.  Come get your book signed!  Oh wait.  You are such a loyal reader that you already have a signed copy.  Well, then.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brockway Nose Job: Complete!

Since May, the nose of Brockway has been under reconstructive surgery.  Now it is finally finished!  I went up to check her out the other day.  The doctors did a nice job.  I was expecting her to look a little more glamorous, but they kept her simple, just like the rest of the Keweenaw.

If you want, you can see her when this all started at this link.  Just a little reminiscing.

Here she is in all her glory.  The picture below is the view I can see from my front porch.  I kept the nose in the middle.

The great wall of Brockway as seen from town

Here are some pictures from the site itself.

The reconstructed nose in full view

My parents are modeling for me, but the way.  Just fabulous, dahling.

A closeup of the railings

The two stair cases

Not bad, eh?  You could have a little picnic up there, and watch the town go by.  But pick up your trash because I didn't see any garbage cans yet.  Oh, and keep off the grass!  Ha ha ha.

Now come on up and see it for yourself.  I'll keep up with a color report for the leaves, so you can plan your next trip.  So far, not much has changed since I last reported except the temperature, the wind and the clouds.  Ooh, it feels so fally!  I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drying off with a Wet Towel

We made it.  Labor Day Weekend 2012 is behind us.  I am alive and loving life.  Whew!

After my nine day stretch of bartending at the Harbor Haus, I got Sunday and Monday off.  Sunday was the trail's clubs Bell's Beer Copper Harbor Trails Festival.  It was big.  You couldn't get a room in town.  Nearly 500 racers rode through the rocks and dust of the cross country race in addition to the kid's race and the enduro.

The party in the park was awesome.  We drank 26 kegs of Bell's beer (and some of it was 10% abv).  The band, Steppin' In It was fun to dance to even when the power went out on stage.  The weather made a gorgeous summer evening despite a few easterly gusts.  From what I could tell, people were having a good ol' time.  I tell you, that park sure is a great place for a party!

I have to say THANK YOU sooooo much to all the people who helped out before, during and after this event.  Oy, it is a doozy, and we couldn't have done it so well without such a community effort.  And it's over.  Now I just have to finish up the after math including mailing out the raffle prizes.

I have to apologize because I never told you about our raffle.  Shoot.  We had over $20,000 in prizes including CH vacation packages, Trek bikes, bike parts and a teardrop trailer from TC Teardrops.  Only two winners were present to win, so I got to call everybody else yesterday and tell them that they won.  I could do that as a job -- tell people they won something.  

The winner of the trailer was a special treat.  He called me back after he got my message, half shocked. And do you know what the first thing he told me was?  How much he loves my blog!  He really gets it.  I was flattered.  The next thing he told me struck me too: he didn't even mean to win the trailer.  He signed up so he could support the trails club.  I told him it was good karma.  He will find a good use for it, I'm sure.

I have another classic Amanda story for you.  Yesterday I took Duce down to the shore by the Harbor Haus to jump in Lake Superior.  I left my dress and towel on the side of a big rock where I carefully crawled in.  The temperature of Her Majesty took a little getting used to, but well worth the patience.  I swam around, calling Duce to come swimming with me.  He likes Fanny Hooe better, and didn't budge, but I treaded around while he pranced along the shore.

At 8 am that morning, I must have been sleeping deeply because I didn't hear the Queen IV go out to Isle Royale.  I just didn't think it went out that day (nor can I keep track of the days).  But I heard her diesel engines churning beyond Porter's Island during my swim, so I knew not to swim too far out.  She always cuts close to the Harbor Haus while the servers wave and dance the can can.

After the Queen cruised past us, I noticed her wake splashing over the big rock my towel and dress were on.  Now, I don't swim for speed, but when I envisioned my dry clothing being whisked out to sea, I front crawled like a shark was on my heels.  (You got to watch out for those Superior sharks anyway.)  Soon I saw my towel still in place, just brighter in hue.  Oh well, at least I don't have to find it!  The wake was so much fun to bounce with that I decided just to play in it while I had the chance.  I love bounding with the rollers.  It's as invigorating as mountain bike shuttle runs.

I went back to the shore to entice Duce in for a swim.  Finally he came in, but only for a couple minutes.  Maybe because it's shallower there and his paws hit the rocks... I don't know.  Soon enough, I crawled back onto the rock and laid out my dress, hoping it would dry a little before I had to put it on.  I rang a gallon of water out of my towel and sat for a moment in the sunshine.  Even though I would not be dry before I left, there was no place I would rather be.