Saturday, January 4, 2014

Life in a Fairy Tale

Happy 2014!!!  Unlike most commercial holidays, I actually appreciate a New Year celebration because a person can start fresh.

Four days into it, I already have treats for you.

You can call me a wuss for this, but I don't really want to hang from a chairlift with these low temps and high winds.  I've been getting creative instead.  Here's how.

The plow banks in my driveway are 10 to 12 feet high, so I bought me a new orange sled, and I climbed up the bank for some excitement in my own front yard.  Well, that bank was okay, but, you know, my house is on a big conglomerate boulder way off the ground.

I had it perfectly planned out.

I would climb the stairs to my porch, hoist over the rail and bomb down that boulder.  It was awesome!  I got to rip it about four times before I realized my sled was slowing down.  Upon inspection, I realized that I had cracked the back end in the shape of my back end.  I didn't let it get me down, though.  I had the perfect remedy used by yoopers for years.

Duct tape.

So I taped her back up and tried again.  Wee hoo!  So much fun!  For two runs.  Yeah, that last run was a little slow too.  Did I crack it again?  Sure enough, I cracked that sled into pieces.

Me and my busted sled

At first, I was a little upset.  I mean, I planned on sledding all afternoon in my new sled, and I got six runs before it was obliterated.  But I couldn't blame anyone but me.  I am probably not in the weight class for a kid sled, and on half my runs, I got air before landing on the hard-packed driveway.  I abused that thing.  And my own back end.

Upon realizing that I was too sore to chance crashing at Mt. Bohemia or even lift my right leg high enough for a snowshoe, I had to find another option.  What can I do when it's really cold, but I can't fall or walk?  

Ride a bike!!!  

I busted out the cruiser and rode merrily to the beginning of Highway 41.  Oh, I love a bike ride, and that was the ticket.  Upon passing the Lighthouse Overlook area on my way home, I decided to pull in, and check out the shore.

It was then that I realized what I had been missing.

Shore Exploring
So I've taken you around da Harbor lately.  Up Brockway's Nose, through Clyde's Feild, on Lake Medora, almost to Horseshoe Harbor, etc.  But there is one place we haven't gone, and the minute I was there, its grandeur flooded my soul.

The lakeshore.

With a couple clumsy toddles here and an almost slip there, I became something new.  All the sudden I was Goldilocks adventuring the caves of The Three Bears.  And I wasn't even wearing snowpants.

Here is the first ice cave I stumbled upon.

Outside Baby Bear's Cave

Now pardon me for finding them out of fairy tale order, but I didn't quite realize what was happening yet.  So I crawled inside.

Inside Baby Bear's Cave

I was enamored.  I haven't been inside one of these since last winter... and it has already been winter for months!  With my curiosity antennae pointed down the shore line, I followed my instincts.  Another cave was just up ahead!

Outside Mama Bear's Cave

When I took this picture, I remember thinking, My readers better appreciate this because I can hear the water moving underneath the ice that I just jumped onto.  But I went ahead and crawled inside anyway... in my corduroy pants.  Boy, do they gather the snow.

Inside Mama Bear's Cave

Wow, Mama.  Great view of the lighthouse!

I was geeked.  What a spectacle!!!  I wished a camera crew was out there with me to capture the splendor, curiosity and magic I felt and saw.  Plus, they could help ward off the bears.

Back outside, my hesitations about the ice were gone as adrenaline took over.  I saw another cave ahead.  Surely it was Papa Bear's.

Outside Papa Bear's Cave

Papa must be able to get down low because I even had a rough time not breaking icicles off with my head as I crawled inside.

The view from in there could be on National Geographic.

Inside Papa Bear's Cave

Just imagine if I had a professional camera!  This is my new favorite picture of the Copper Harbor Lighthouse.

But wait... what are those furry looking things hanging from the ceiling?

Frosted Icicles

Have you ever seen those before?  Really, I mean how do they form?  There must have been some moisture build-up... from heavy breathing... I thought as the water groaned under me like a tired bear.  Maybe my fairy tale wasn't so tale after all....

Okay!  Time to go!  And I pedaled home.

Driving the Gauntlet
If you read my last post, you have heard all about The Covered Stretch, aka The Gauntlet, aka Super Mario Brothers game.  But let me tell you.  Besides becoming a casualty risk for all who enter, for a few days, it turned the most surreal exhibition I have ever seen it be.

I literally could not believe was I was seeing, and I drove it three times that way.  My sincerest apologies for not getting a video of it.  By the time I realized I should, the south winds picked up, and it was no longer surreal.  Just a gauntlet of tree bombs.

But I have a plan on how to describe it to you.  Make sure you are relaxed to get the full effect.  Here is goes:

Imagine the Covered Stretch -- branches arching above you, touching each other.  Now let the branches turn into elk, caribou, moose and deer antlers all entangled with each other over your head.  

Seriously, stay with me.

Cover those antlers in sparkling white velvet.  All of them.  Now take all the end points of those antlers and let gravity pull them down at least two feet closer to where you are.  If you could slam dunk a basket ball, you might be able to jump up and touch the velvet.

On top of these low-hanging, white velvet antlers, we're going to throw up some white snow snakes: 10 inches wide and eight feet long.  They lay anywhere from the thick branches close to the tree trunks to the tips of the points.  You wonder how they stay there.  So do it.

We'll top it all off with a couple frosty snowmen.  Yup, round and jolly.  They're laying up there too, winking as you pass underneath.

And all this sets against a white road and a white sky.

If you were able to follow this all the way through, you are lucky.  You are one of the few people left in this world with an imagination.

But now I'm imagining that this is getting a bit long for your busy schedule.  First, I will tell you that yesterday the whole harbor was frozen from east to west.  Today the middle blew out.  That was quick!


  1. A wonderful trip, in my imagination . . Thank you Amanda !!

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for sharing your "3 Bears UP experience" I love your photos - especially the ice caves. You should consider enlarging and selling some of your photos on

    I am another fan of your site and wanted you to know I am out here - enjoying your site every time you post something. That way, I get my Copper Harbor fix until my next trip there. I have been coming to the Harbor regularly since 1973.

    Thanks again & Happy New Year

  3. Snakes and antlers and bears oh my. It's quite a winter wonderland you have up there.

  4. Hey guys! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. That's why I keep this up, you know!

  5. Yep, the gauntlet was truly out of this world. Exhilarating to see it...your description was perfect!

  6. Glad you got to see it in real life, David. There was nothing quite like it!