Monday, January 28, 2013

Frosty the Harbor

So far I haven't come across any major ice volcanoes.  However, while driving down toward the blinking light, I saw some nice white mounds by Porter's Island.  I'll have to go check those out.

But that Monday I went hunting for them, I got another surprise.

Duce, Tiki, Steve and I went out to the lighthouse (a favorite past time) in search of the splashing beasts.  Now this was one of those really cold days with a wind off the lake (which should have made it feel warmer, but Mother Nature must have been having one of those days).  Instead, this is what we found.

A frosty little tree!

An eight foot high conglomerate covered in icicles

The spot where you can see the Chrysocolla

The crew battling the icy shore

Icicles on the end of the dock

Then we went to the shore by the Water Treatment Plant, but the Harbor was freezing over, so not much excitement there.  Just cold!

I believe everyone in town survived the negative degree nastiness.  Now we are relishing in the snow.  We got so much consistent snow that I was inspired to write a few haikus (or at least my version of them).  Here are a couple. 

After busting through
Medora's drifts, one brown leaf
lays on the white ground

Calumet snowbanks
piled so high, the houses
look like triangles

Today was the first day I got to snowboard Mt. Bohemia.  It was awesome!  Five to six inches of fresh, heavy snow.  I can't even really call it powder because it was so buttery!  But I got fresh tracks on nearly every run I took, and some of them were mostly freshies!

It was great to get back into that game.  I love watching the clouds spin over Lac La Belle.  It was a gorgeous winter day.  The sky was blue in da Harbor this morning.  Temps warmed up to drips.  The wind shook not a leaf.  And, of course, we got more snow.

Well, let's see what this next week brings!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shanty Rides and Ice Volcanoes

I guess sensible is a relative term.  

Aaron and his friend Allan have been working on building an ice shanty for the last year.  It's mobile, fully enclosed, has trap floor boards for jigging and has a wood stove.  I was home the day they decided to take it out onto Lake Fanny Hooe, so I went with them.

Here is a video of our journey.

They didn't catch any fish, but they sure had fun!

Since then I've gotten to go for my first snowshoe of the winter!  Finally!  I would say that, although the snowshoes weren't necessary for the snow, the cleats on them helped with the ice!  My adventurer friend Steve and I went out on the Double Lakeshore Loop.  But instead of taking the trail, we hiked the Superior shore from the Harbor Haus.

What did we see forming along the way?  Ice volcanoes!  These babies form as ice builds up along the shore.  As the waves get rougher, the splashes start to hollow them out in a swirling fashion.  Soon the ice chunk has a twisted cylinder inside for the wave to splash into, up and out of the top.  A fascinating phenomenon that I hope to capture for you... if they are still there!

But I really have to be brave to get out there.  Here is the forecast for today and into the week for 49918.

Brrrrrrr!  Hopefully we'll at least get some of the predicted snow out of the deal.

It sure keeps snowing!  I never realized how in tune snowmobilers stay with snow reports.  This last weekend was CrAzY with snowmobilers!  Every place from here, at least to Lac La Belle was booked for the weekend.  Awesome for the businesses, and terrific for my tip jar!

Hmm, now you've got me curious.  I'm going to check on those ice volcanoes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snowing and Blowing

Ha!  I knew the arbutus threat would work.  Just hours after I posted about searching for springtime flowers, it snowed.  And snowed and snowed and snowed!  I shoveled twice the first day it started and three times the second day it continued.  

It was all mostly fluff, however.  We call it champagne snow because you can blow on it, and it just poofs into the air.  We were hoping it would settle a bit, but today is soooooo cold!  Weather Underground says it "feels like" -17 F with windchill.  These are not UP temps!

With winds from the WNW at 25 mph, I'd love to sail across Lake Fanny Hooe again, but I want to keep my nose, fingers and toes!  (Look at me being sensible for once.)  I have been scouting the ice out there and watching the wind because lots more people want to parachute across with us.  Maybe it's because that Para-sledding video made the TV6 News out of Marquette!  I don't know who put it on there, but that just makes it that much more exciting for us!

So far it's snowing on and off today.  If you would like to keep a detailed eye on the snow up here, I have added John Dee's website to my "Harbor Links" on the left column.  Go to his snowfall report and check out his other weather stats.  He is on it!

Thus far Mount Bohemia is predicted to open January 25th.  Feel free to visit their link on the left if you are interested.  I'm ready to shred some pow.

Oh, and with this snow, a few friends and I wend sledding down Brockway Mountain Drive.  You know, that first steep curve on the way up from Copper Harbor?  Yeah, you can really get rippin' down there.  Good thing I figured out how to steer the sled!  Now we just need windshields, so we don't have to squeegee our faces on the way down.

If this snow keeps up, we just might have a real winter!  Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We got creative indeed.

THE SCENE: Lake Fanny Hooe, frozen over.  Gusts up to 40 mph from the west.

THE PROPS: Two plastic sleds tied together at the front.  A parachute.

THE TESTERS: Photographer Steve Brimm.  Writer Amanda Wais.

This is what ensued...

Otherwise, it looks like spring outside.  The temps are supposed to cool right down, but if they don't, I'm going to look for trailing arbutus and hepatica flowers!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cell Tower Diversion

Drip, drip, drip.  That is what my roof is doing.  

My heart goes out to the business owners around here.  This sunshine and warming temps are killing the economy.  Not much more than the locals are around to partake.  For the commerce, I hope we got lots of snow soon.

For me, I can deal.  I always find something to do outside.  So far, it isn't making a snow fort, but hiking and jogging will suffice.  Some of us antsy locals are starting to get creative as well.  I'll let you know what we come up with!

So's not to linger over things I have no control over, let me tell you about something new you will see when you visit here in the summer or fall (or heck, right now, if you like to watch snow melt!).

Cell phone towers.

You will see the first one as you drive north on Hwy. 41 at the Delaware Mine sign.  It's on your left.

The Delaware tower just before it was finished

During the last couple days of their construction, I visited the site to get some shots of the action.

Notice the long pulley on the left.
That part is going up.

Hoisting the pulley to the top

The boys lay out the cable for the orange gin pole
which attaches to the pulley and shimmies up the tower

Its lights are blinking, but it will be transmitting in the spring.  The structure is standing tall and proud at 285 feet.

The construction crew was here for a few weeks in November.  Since they were the only non-residents around at that time, and they were good-hearted lads, we adopted them.  Some folks were sad to see them go.  I bet they are glad to be back in the warmth of the southland.

The second tower is shorter.  You know that left hand curve just before you get to Lake Medora where you realize you are going a little too fast?  It's there on your right.  I am not sure if this one is transmitting yet, but its red lights are on.

As far as I know, neither one of these will bring cell phone reception to da Harbor.  Remember the Brockway tower dispute?  Officials are still searching for another location for the Copper Harbor tower.  I'll let you know when that one goes up.  Maybe our southern boys will come back to assemble it!