Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Back to Winter

If you have talked to any yoopers lately, you know we are all joking that spring is here, and we still have four feet of snow on the ground.  The snow banks are so high that the Keweenaw County Road Commission still goes out every day to shave the banks that they can't plow any higher.  Then they dump it into a black hole.

I wanted spring so badly.  I boycotted snowshoeing and went jogging and walking instead.  Each time I opened the front door, I though, Brr!  It's too cold to go out today!  So sometimes I just wouldn't even go out.  Then I started drinking heavily.  I had to make a change.

So Winter, I embrace you.  I know that you are here, and I respect that.  I snowshoed the last two days, and life is good.  Great, actually.

Let me tell you about those adventures.

Yesterday Tiki and I went out.  I had a trail plan in my head, but got distracted by a ridge that paralleled Manganese Road.  I walked it for a bit, feeling high and mighty at the top while I watched Lake Fanny Hooe and Superior go by.  I can't remember being up there before.

Then it stopped.  Just took a nose dive back to the ground.  Not as dramatic as Brockway, but fun to slide down!

Further up I met the bottom of Manganese Falls.  Not too much to see there since it's still mostly covered in snow.  I took a moment to marvel anyway.  How can one resist?

Then I hiked up the left side of the falls.  I looked at the line I was taking, and it looked like a six inch sled had slid down.  What the heck?  Upon further examination, I noticed intermittent paw prints in the slide.  They were side by side only two at a time.  My first thought was an otter.  Is that what you were thinking?

As I carried on, I realized that there were two skid marks.  Two otters?  Nope.  Check this out.  Now, this is my analysis of the situation.  The paw prints were going forward and backward two at a time.  I deduced that the otter stuck its feet in on the way down, so it had holes to climb back up with while sliding.  From what I could tell, no back legs were used.

I even googled "Otter this" and "Otter that" to see if this theory is relevant.  I got no help.  Oh well.  If this theory is true, then I think otters are one of the coolest animals alive. Their gravitational instincts and equipment is sensational.  I sure wish I could have watched all that happen!

Today was a business snowshoe.  Can you believe that?  For the recreational guide I'm working on, I needed to confirm sign numbers and trail names up at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge for the routes I'm sending people on.

The snow was heavy and deep.  In fact, trees were releasing time bombs of snow boulders.  I watched a few come down, and I wondered when my turn would come.  I escaped without a hood full of snow and a concussion, thank goodness.

And I figured everything out that I needed for my book!  I tell you, though: sweaty, sweaty.  Snowshoeing is a guaranteed sweatfest.  But as a penalty for my actions earlier in the week, I deserved it.  I mean, look what I became on Saturday night for an Ugly Dress party!

Me at the Ugly Dress party

See what the U.P. can do to a person???  We've got to be strong, people!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Up Brockway's Nose

THIS IS POST NUMBER 300!  300 posts since the winter of 2009.  Thanks for making it this far with me.  Here's to 300 more!

And here I sit in the middle of winter.  We have sooooo much snow.  Mount Bohemia is still good if you watch the sun and shadows.  The xc ski trails are fab, though I haven't used those once this year.  Probably because my boots are too big and I need new skis.  The snowmobile trails are awesome; when I serve snowmobilers at the Bear Belly, they just rave about the trails.

But here's the thing: I don't see that many snowmobilers anymore.  It's the middle of March.  Happy St. Patricks Day to all my Irish readers!  Skiers aren't coming up so much either.  IT'S THE MIDDLE OF MARCH!  People are starting to plan their summer vacations.  But the snow is good, so if you need one last hoorah in that magical white stuff, come on up!

I think we are supposed to get a storm early this week as well.  Oofda.  It is still winter.

So I will do wintery things.  Yesterday Steve and I snowshoed out at the west end of Fanny Hooe by Mud Lake.  The trees out there are spectacular.  The way they grow had us marveling.

But your treat is my adventure down the Nose of Brockway Mountain.  I wanted to take a buddy, but ended up going solo.  Here is a view of the nose from the bottom.

The nose dives on the left side

I hiked up on the snowmobile trail.  Check out this video to see how I got down. It's rather long, but you should stay amused and "on edge."

Down Brockway's Nose

I made it.  I did.  But that really would be a better adventure with a buddy... and some ropes.  Lesson learned!

Today sported blue skies all day.  At least we get some sunshine to make the snow sparkle!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shredding at Bohemia

It's been dumping the last two days.  Dumping.  They even called off school yesterday.  Just when I hoped spring was here.  A sure jinx.  Well, back to shoveling!

Last week I went to Bohemia on Thursday.  It wasn't the greatest conditions, but I was jonesing for some snowboarding.  I went by myself, but ended up meeting a new lady friend.  Don't meet many of those in da Keweenaw!

Here is a video of the days events, all crammed in under four minutes.  Turn it up.  This one is for you, Michael!

A day of snowboarding at Mount Bohemia

The following weekend was Bohemia's Mardi Gras celebration.  Since it involves lots of drunken dudes, I try not to partake.  I don't need beads that bad, you know?

Yesterday I went up to the nose of Brockway to take some footage for you.  That will be one for next time, so stay tuned!

But now the snow is awesome, and I'm going to hit up Bohemes tomorrow.  Aaron said it's epic and I don't want to miss out.  Let it snow, I guess!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Streams and Yellow Snow

I was working last Friday evening, so I couldn't take part in the block party, fireworks and start of the CopperDog 150 race in Calumet.  That's fine with me because the next day, they all came to da Harbor!

Looking out my kitchen window, I watched our driveway fill up.  People parked along the side roads.  Pedestrians shuffled, all bundled up, to the Gas Lite and the Brickside Brewery.  Wow, I thought.  This is like the Fourth of July!  Even most of Main Street was shut down so the mushers had a place to park their big vehicles full of dogs.

Sunday morning I volunteered to be a dog handler with some friends.  That means we each grabbed the ropes between each set of dogs and held on tight, so they wouldn't take off too soon.  Even after running 100 miles the previous two days, they were ready to run fifty more.  I mean really ready!  Some of them kept jumping in their spot like a fly who keeps buzzing into the window.

Then everybody left.  Gone.  The only thing to show was banks of yellow snow.  The contrast was stunning.  Ahh, I though.  My town is back.  If you want to see highlights, pictures, articles and winners of this event, visit their site at CopperDog150.com.

There hasn't been much action here since then.  No snow even (except today).  I mean, it didn't snow for almost two weeks!  But we already had so much, and the temps stayed cool enough that we were okay.  The xc ski trails are nice when groomed and the snowmobile trails are great.  Mt. Bohemia, though it has a deep base, is getting crusty, so this will help.  Looks like we'll get at least a couple fresh inches!

We need something to cover the ice on our roads.  Holy buckets!  I had conversations with multiple people yesterday about how it's almost impossible to walk anywhere in this town without wiping out or walking awkwardly.  Baby steps!

On Monday, Aaron was going out to see if he could catch some minnows for ice fishing.  We drove along M-26 to the Silver River, parked on Brockway Mountain Drive, and snowshoed along the river to Lake Upson.  Neither one of us had been through these parts before, so we had a great time.  Here's what we saw.

 The reddish structure in the mid-back
is the Silver River bridge you can see on M-26 

Pretty ice crystals lining the river

A fallen tree makes a nice bridge

Aaron setting a minnow trap

Watch this one in full screen

Something else has been here... often!

Looking east at the top of Brockway from Lake Upson

Even though Aaron didn't catch any minnows, we still had a fun adventure.

Oh, boy.  This weekend is Mardi Gras at Bohemia.  We'll see some crazy folks then!

Before you go, would you mind taking a moment to vote for the Copper Harbor Trails Club to win $35,000 to build a downhill trail?  Please?  Here's what you have to do.

1) Click this link to vote through facebook (you'll have to sign in to facebook).
2) Scroll to the Downhill Category
3) Click on the Overflow project for the CHTC
4) Click to place your vote
5) Click to "Allow the app"

It might sound like a lot, but keep voting!!!  This is going to be an awesome trail down the north face of Brockway Mountain!  Thank you, thank you!