Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ice Fishing and Snowmobiling

Wait a minute.  Ice fishing and snowmobiling?  Those are not my usual activities!  Maybe this is someone else's blog!

Nope.  It's mine.

Tuesday was gorgeous.  Aaron and I got up early to celebrate his birthday with some ice fishing.  I have never gone ice fishing to ice fish before, so I thought it would be Aaron's gift.  (What?  We are cheap!)  Here are the pictures from the day.


Aaron checking the ice... how does it look to you???

Setting up the whip-ups

A Coho Salmon: first catch of the morning

Shadows of love

We caught one more salmon before the day was through.  I tell you, if the weather wasn't 30 degrees, sunny and calm, I don't think I could do that very often.  I mean, I know I can go in the shanty, but it's warm in there, and I fall asleep!  Bartending and ice fishing are not on the same schedule.  But we had lovely time!

Aaron is in charge of panking a part of the trail for the CopperDog this weekend, so yesterday I went with him for an adventure.  Here is a video of the highlights in less than two minutes.

Today the winds have really picked up.  Now it's cold again.  Today I finally psyched myself up for a run (you know how I love to run), but when I opened the door, the wind nearly blew it back in my face!  Heck no!  I'll stay home and write a blog!  There's so much going on this week that I figured I'd better stay ahead of the game.

Here are a few notes about optimizing your time on this blog:
- You can click anywhere on the pictures to see them bigger
- You can click on the videos to see them bigger (bottom right corner)
- You can click on the youtube icon on the videos to watch them on Youtube
- You can click on any words that are brown and underlined  -- it's a link.  

You might be computer savvy and know all this, but I just figured some of it out myself!  Happy clicking!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Powder and Sunshine

Mount Bohemia has been awesome.  Judging by all the cars in the parking lot this week and all the "woo hoos" I heard while riding up the chair lift, I would say I'm not the only person who thought that.

The snow was crazy this week.  Most schools and Keweenaw businesses were not open on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I guess that was nice for the hundreds of people who were at the hill on Wednesday.  It was just as busy as Saturday!  

I think the official snow total to the moment is 195 inches.  We are catching up quickly!

But now things are warming up.  My roof has been dripping two days in a row.  Also, the sun lit up the sky for the first part of the day.  Yessss!

So I went for a stroll to the Harbor Haus dock.  This is really the only picture that turned out.  I think it's fitting.

The "purest air" sign

And honestly, my legs are still pretty tired from skiing.  I'm a snowboarder, and skiing, to me, take more muscles.  At least different ones than I'm used to.  My point is that I wussed out and didn't really go out for an adventure today.  Instead I stayed home and worked on my next book -- something I should be doing more of!

But before I went inside, I found a lovely spot to lay in my driveway and soak up some rays... through, um, my jacket and snow pants.  Here is what I saw.

Watching the clouds go by...

I think this video shows how to enjoy the simple things in life, but the yin and the yang of it.  The clouds slowly passing are the yin and the goofball dog thrashing a trash can is the yang.  So different, yet each soothing to my soul.  There's some chicken soup for your day!

This weekend is the CopperDog 15o.  That's always one howl of a good time!

My GoPro helmet mount is on its way to my house.  Then I can take hands free video for you (Thank you Daddio!)!  ARE YOU AS PUMPED AS I AM???  Soon I will be purposely looking for trouble to get into.  I think a butt slide down Brockway's nose is in the mix.  Let me know if you have any other requests!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

24 Hour Turnover on Hunter's Point

Winter is in full swing today!

However, we did have a lovely day or two earlier this week.  Here is one for you.  Enjoy the color and sunshine... it doesn't last long, as you'll see.

Sunny day from the Harbor Haus dock

The two most memorable outdoor events of the week happened yesterday and today.  Boy can the weather change in 24 hours!

Yesterday Steve, Tiki and I went to Hunter's Point because the temperature was so lovely -- about 30 degrees.  A breeze blew from the southeast making the journey surreal.  The drifts were opposite of what they usually are!  Here is what we saw on the way.

The sign drifted in from the south

A beauty of a drift!

Crossing "The Gap" to Porter's Island

Steve and Tiki on Porter's

I haven't been on Porter's Island since May of 2011.  It's a liberating feeling there, even though it's so close to the rest of da Harbor.  

We laid on huge ice formations and watched the ebb and flow of Lake Superior.  We ducked under icicle caves.  We saw icicle prisons made of huge ice bergs surrounded by icicles.  We watched the ice break up on the Harbor side.  It was magical, I tell you.  So why don't I have pictures of all that stuff?  Because Steve's and my cameras both ran out of battery power!

I remember the moment Steve told me his camera died.  I thought, "Whew, good thing mine is all charged up."  But next time I checked, I had one blinking bar.  Yikes!  The irony of a photographer and a blogger on such a gorgeous day and such a seldom journey running out of camera juice.  Hopefully we still have the memories in our brains!

Today I woke up to the sound of pounding wind.  Thirty mile an hour winds with gusts up to 50 from the NNW sure changed things in a hurry!  All the towns south of us got pummeled with snow... a foot and falling was the last report I heard.  Here it just blew our bootprints over within half an hour.

Even Mount Bohemia was closed today due to the high winds.  So I had to find something else to do on a gusty day off.  

Aaron, Steve and I drove down M-26 because we knew the waves would be rockin'.  After busting through drifts on the road, we parked and hiked to Devil's Washtub.  As you watch the video below, be grateful you weren't there getting pelted with the ice pellets from the waves.

Waves at Devil's Washtub

Good Lord.  Youtube turned it yellow on me.  The sky was certainly gray instead, but you get the idea.

Then we went to Hunter's Point to see how much the shore changed.  Here are a few shots.

Trees turned icy from the waves

Waves rolling in

Walking back to the truck
(note Steve's jacket covered in ice... he got splashed!)

Our goggles thawing on the defrost vents

It's hard to say how much snow we actually got here because it blew all over the place.  I mean, we have a four foot drift on the back porch!

With all this snow, and Bohemia closed today, it's going to be wicked tomorrow.  Oooh, I can't wait.  Good thing my snowboard is freshly waxed!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Never a Dull Moment

I've been doing so much in a week that I don't remember it all.  Sorry!  I guess I'll just have to stick to the highlights.

Saturday's story is kinda X-Rated, and I don't know if I should share...

I've strapped on my snowshoes quite a few times this week.  One time was up Manganese Falls where the water is still rushing, but ice has formed on top.  Quite surreal, but my picture did not turn out.  From there it was up to Lake Manganese and up the ridges behind it.  That's a cool spot to hike if you've never been there.

Sunday I was going to go out to Porter's Island to check out the ice volcanoes.  I was crossing the large chunks of wobbly ice carefully, and I looked back to beckon my three canine friends.  They all looked at me like, "Heck no, crazy woman.  We are NOT going out there!"  And they didn't.  So I walked back.  I bet we would have been fine because I saw a couple ice fishermen out there.  However, by yesterday morning, all that ice had blown out.  Smart dogs.

Cwyfan, Duce and Tiki on our alternate adventure

Yesterday I was all ready to go skiing on a glorious, cement snow powder day, when ring, ring!  "Amanda, it's for you."  "Hello?  Oh, sure, I'll come into work today."  I'm a sucker, but I prefer to think of it as good karma.  I did get two glorious runs in before I hustled down to work.  At least it was busy at the Bear Belly, so I didn't have to look longingly across the road at Mount Bohemia.

Today I meandered over to the snow fort.  Everything looked great.  Walls were still up.  Snow was all around.  View was priceless.  

A view of Lake Superior over the new fort wall

Then I headed back along the frozen shore.

Open water in the Harbor

Well, okay.  You've made it this far, so I'll tell you about Saturday.  Now I work in the tourist industry where I see many snowmobilers during my shift.  I had never driven a snowmobile before Saturday, so I really didn't know about snowmobiling people besides in the bar.

That particular day I had to find a couple sledders (snowmobilers) to help me start this snowmobile that I was going to drive up to Clark Mine with my friend Donica.  She is very artsy and creative.  We were going to do a photo shoot.

Of course a couple guys are going to help a chick in the parking lot asking to start her sled.  "I've never driven one before."  I told them.  "And I don't know how to start it."  After finding the correct key, they helped me start it.  Vroom!  Then they made sure I could start it myself.  Vroom!  Off I went to get Donica.

We got everything ready for the shoot, and about 40 minutes later, I went to start the sled. Nothing.  Crap.  Try again.  Nothing.  We went to find her man, and with one turn of the key, Vroom! he had it going.  How come I couldn't do that?

Up the hill we drove at a nice, easy pace.  It was a fun ride, really.  I would love to ride around the Keweenaw on one of those things... if I could start it.

We made it.  Clark Mine.  The ride went smooth, and we got right down to business.  Here's where it gets risque.  I was sitting in my pose, well off the trail, behind the stack, like this:

Posing with a haiku on my back

When all the sudden, reen, reen!  I looked through that little gap in the trees, and there was a snowmobiler.  He took one look and said. "Whoa!" then waved for his buddies.  Another one came around with a GoPro on his helmet, but I was already curled up and yelled, "See ya!"  They yelled, "Sorry!" and drove away.

Donica and I laughed so hard.  Can you imagine their surprise?  I mean, they're out in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere, and there's this woman sitting in the snow... I don't need to explain this, I'm sure.  Oh, gosh did we laugh! 

Once the shoot was done, and most of my extremities were numb, we were ready to go back.  "Let's see if this thing starts!"  Nope, nope and nope.  So we started walking.  "Someone will pass us," we thought.

Soon enough, a group of four sledders came past.  "You break down?" one asked.  He tried to start our sled, but it was totally seized up.  We hopped on with them and got back home safely.  Then I just had to ask Aaron to rescue the sled for me.  He did.  What a man.

Right now he is trying to get his portable ice shanty out of the 18" of slush on Lake Fanny Hooe.  I tell you, never a dull moment in da Harbor!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A New Fort and Brockway

Wow.  This winter has been quite fulfilling.  Work has been busy.  Adventures have been plentiful.  Hobbies have been creative.  I am grateful.

Last Tuesday, when the temps rose and the snow turned heavy and wet, Mr. Brimm and I went out to (dun, dun, DUN!) build a snow fort!  I took him to the spot were Fort Juniper was, but he saw a more manageable spot one ridge over, so we started there.  We got a great foundation built in an hour and a half.  I think we got more built in one day's work than all winter when I worked by myself!  No thanks to the many melts on that, though.

Since that day temps plummeted and the snow has been too dry to work with.  That's okay.  I can wait for a good building day.  There's plenty to do on the mean time!

Like yesterday.  Aaron and I journeyed up Brockway Mountain.  He wore his skis and skins on the way up, and I wore my snowshoes.  He was taking GPS points for a downhill mountain bike trail, so I just meandered behind him.  It was delightful to be out on a calm day.  Here are some of the moments captured in that adventure.

Looking north to the Big Lake

Looking north higher up the mountain

Aaron's tracks through the trees

The sun through the clouds at the top

I couldn't help but put together a little video for you.  Come with me!

I finally learned how to edit videos.  Can you tell?  You are a part of my learning process, so bear with me.  The clips should get snazzier as I figure more out, but don't set your expectations too high.  I'm a writer, not a videographer!