Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Can's and Can't Do's of Springtime

So in the last post I was all "nobody is here."  Well, this past weekend was Michigan Technological University's graduation.  Congrats to them.  That is a tough school.

I forgot this bit of information while driving South to Houghton on that Sunday evening.  Imagine my shock when I saw a) an absurd amount of traffic traveling northbound for this time of year, and b) over half the vehicles were not from Michigan.  Lots from Texas, actually.  I was thinking, "What the heck do these people think they're going to do in Copper Harbor right now???"

And that is the question.

What can you, or any other visitor do right now in Copper Harbor?  Here is a list of those activities.

Can Do:

  • Drive to Jacob's Falls, Haven Falls and Eagle River Falls
  • Hike through snow treachery to Manganese Falls and Montreal Falls
  • Sit somewhere and watch the raptors and other birds migrate
  • Go for a not really snowshoe/not really hike
  • Ride a bicycle on the highways
  • Watch for freighters
  • Fish the open water at creek and river mouths
  • Watch tulips start to pop up from the dirt
  • Get drunk at Zik's and The Mariner and Brickside Brewery
  • Stare out at the Big Lake and sing ice melting songs
Now I really had to dig into my brain to beef that up.  Guess there's more to do than I originally thought.  You'll need some winter gear.  And the bugs are not out. 

But the falls are awesome.  I hiked up to Manganese's just the other day.  Here are some shots from the top down.

The first drop

The big drop back in the crevasse

The last drop from above

That last drop in the background from the bridge
Finally, some action.  You know, I thought this was going to be a great year for falls because of all the snow that has to melt.  Well, it's melting so slowly that nothing is too catastrophic.  I suppose that's okay because last year lots of bridges got wiped out from the fast, heavy melt.  But then, the falls were even more awesome.

As for migratory birds, I've had some cuties in my back yard picking away.  I've seen hawks circling the skies.  The robins are back.  And there are all sorts of other birds to speak of, but I am a wildflower nut who doesn't really know all her birds.  I'm just sitting here waiting for something to bloom.

Now hear this.  There are some things you can NOT do up here right now.  Either because it's impossible, illegal or dangerous.  Here's that list. 

Can't Do:
  • Mountain Bike
  • Drive over Brockway Mountain
  • Drive up Manganese Road
  • Ice fish (unless you know otherwise)
  • Cross the harbor's bay to Porter's Island (even I won't do it)
  • Cross-Country Ski
  • Golf
  • And everything that involves flora, of course
I may have missed some things, but hey, I'm more of an optimist, so I concentrate on the "can do's" of life.

Oh.  Check out these mushrooms.  I have spotted fresh mushrooms now in three different places.  That sounds like spring to me!

Stump fungus!

I had to poke them just to make sure they were from this year.  Yup.  Cool, moist and squishy.

For some updated business information.  The Pines is now open for breakfast and lunch and evenings at Zik's.  The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge will reopen this Friday, May 9th.  I hear they'll have live music that night.  It's May now, people.  Things are on the upswing.

Woah, May?  That was fast...


  1. Hey Amanda, really love your honest and creative blog. I believe your can's exceed can'ts but I'm not sure. As you know, spring is the worst season in the UP but sweet summertime is near! Thanks for continuing to share your Keweenaw experience with all of us. Hang in there!

  2. So nice to read your descriptions. I'm sitting at work right now and wishing I could be up there. My life is on a bit of a pause right now as I get things in order and make some money, so I haven't been up to "Heaven" in a few years. Thanks for providing a taste of what I'm missing. That will have to sustain me for a bit longer. Maybe some day I'll be able to make it back up there and let you mix a drink for me at the Haus.


  3. I think I'd have to get drunk at the Brickside THEN sing ice melting songs. To help with the creative process, you know.

  4. Thanks, Michael. But actually, I love the spring because it's a sign and feeling of new life and rejuvination -- especially after 5 - 6 months of winter. Sometimes it just takes a while to actually be spring. :)