Monday, May 12, 2014


Finally, those three little words I've been waiting for.

"Spring is here."

I know it's for real this time.  The open water on the harbor, the almost all melted snow, the mostly all days above 35 degrees, the budding trees and bushes, the greening grass and the peepers don't lie.

Yesterday evening, I walked around a new town.  It was still da Harbor, but more neon lights were on in business windows.  People were out burning brush from their now snow-free lawns.  The sunset turned the skies pink and orange, reflecting off the open water.  And the peepers, oh the spring peepers, were chirping in the wetlands.

I literally stopped in my tracks to take it all in.  I've waited so long for this moment to come.  Sooooo long.  You've witnessed my internal struggle.  And now victory is here.  The seasons have changed.  I feel like a new woman.

Even though the entire day today was cold, rainy and dark, I still know it's springtime.  You can't go back now, Mother Nature.  Even one freak snowstorm will melt quickly, so save it for November.

Here's a moment for you to bask in.  Thursday night we got a loud, relentless thunderstorm.  It rained all night.  So Friday morning, when I descended my porch, I saw the most amazing sight.  But I didn't believe it at first, so I rode my bike down to the Harbor Haus dock.  Low and behold, this is what I saw.

First day of open water since...

I feel like I've been crossing the lake to Porter's Island since January.  Now I can kayak there!  And guess what else is nearly all open.  Lake Fanny Hooe!!!  The water level is above the ground there in some spots.  Oh, man.  This is all so exciting!

And remember the Fort Wilkins sign from just a few weeks ago?  NO SNOW around it!  None!  The remaining snow is mostly hiding in the cedar swamps or on the north side of buildings.  The day when I took that picture above, I was so hot in a t-shirt that I was sweating coming back up the hill.  I think Duce was hot too because he plopped down in one of our two remaining snowbanks to cool off.  I laughed.

For water birds so far, I have seen geese, buffleheads, mallards and even a loon.  All out on the open harbor.  Here's a pic of the geese and buffleheads, though they are a bit hard to make out.  They're those white specs in the middle, I promise.

Waterfowl and The Gap

Perhaps you know that old church song that repeats the word "Alleluia" several times with gusto.  I've had that one in my head ever since I saw that the harbor was open.  It's a whole new world, and it changes every day.  Here's another example.

Snow chunks in a reflective harbor

That picture was taken Sunday evening.  And today, the waves are choppy from the wind.  Changes everyday, I tell ya.  Cuz if it doesn't, we get bored and ornery.

Now perhaps you're thinking, "Amanda, did you get pictures of anything besides the water on the Harbor?"  Well, I did find one: this charming little creature that I don't ever remember seeing before.  Do you know what it is?  It looked very fuzzy, but I dared not touch it.  It's on the sidewalk, so it's only as big as the pebbles in the cement.

The mysterious red bug

I just couldn't believe how red it was!  Let me know if you are an entomologist and can identify this critter.

Other than that, Memorial Weekend is two weeks away.  Holy buckets!  While that three-day weekend means different things to different people (though it really has a purpose), to Copper Harbor it means "Here we go again!"  The tourists start to arrive more and more each weekend until they are a mind-numbing mass 24/7.  I mean that in the nicest way possible.  Wink.

I have a couple surprises for you about this summer.  It's going to be a good one, so stay tuned for those.

For now, though, let's concentrate on Memorial Weekend and how exciting it's going to be for visitors. Here are some of the perks:

1) All the businesses will be open (well, except the Berry Patch), so you can eat, stay and shop at all your favorite local places!

2) The Copper Harbor Trails Club is putting on its annual Ride the Keweenaw biking weekend.  Click the link for more details on that.

3) The Copper Harbor Improvement Association is hosting a town-wide rummage sale.  Maps will most likely be available at the Welcome Center, so you can locate all the people who have goods to peddle.

4) Fingers crossed on this one, but Touring the Tip, my Copper Harbor adventure guidebook will be available locally in stores!  This baby is a must-have for curious visitors and locals who want to confidently navigate the area.  I will add a link to this line and my blog when the web page is complete.  So pumped for this -- book number two for this girl!

Just an update that next week I'll be in Wisconsin and North Dakota.  I will probably have weather shock, but I am prepared.  On a personal note, my last surviving grandparent, Grandma Gert O'Meara just turned 95 years old, so I get to visit her in ND.  I haven't been there in years!

But enough jibber jabber for now.  I hope to see you up here soon!


  1. Hey Amanda! Congratulations to you and all the folks at CH for hanging in until the Spring thaw. It finally came here too, daffodils just in bloom a week. Looking forward to your new book !! Happy 95th to your Grandma Gert . . John

  2. Hi Amanda. From your photo of the fuzzy red bug, it appears to be a Velvet Mite.

  3. Hey John E. I checked into the velvet mite. That creature looks about 3-4 times as large as the one I found. Also, it is an arachnid, and the one I found looks more like a beetle. Thanks for your idea. It is still a possibility!