Monday, June 23, 2014

Busy Weekends, Slow Weeks

The longest day of the year has come and gone.  I certainly enjoy these ridiculously long-lit days.  It will be a while before I notice the light subsiding.

Guess what I saw on Tuesday.  It was the first one I've seen up here in a couple years.  It was running across Highway 41 south of Delaware.  Can you guess?  A black bear!  Nothing too huge, but it sure looked cute and cuddly!

My backyard neighbor has seen one by Our Lady of the Pines chapel right by our houses as well.  I think Duce caught a scent of that one yesterday.  It's nice to know the furry little guys are still around.  However, I still don't want to run into one while berry picking!

Speaking of berries, many of the bils and thimbles are green right now.  Berry season should be right on time -- whenever that is supposed to be!

Have you ever seen the big orange poppies on your way down to the Harbor Haus Restaurant?  They are blooming right now.  So lovely.

Arial view of the poppies

This past weekend was the Longest Day Fishing Tournament.  It was a bit cool and rainy, but quite a few people came up to fish.  Also this weekend, Giant brought up a bunch of mountain bikes to demo.  There were more bikers than fishermen in town, I think.  People were everywhere.  Plus, there was a wedding in town.  I got to attend the ceremony on Brockway's Nose.  Someone clocked it at 8 minutes long.  Perfect length of time for a chilly, breezy wedding!

Another happening thing this weekend was that my parents came up with 5 of their friends.  I got to surprise them with a concert of my and a couple buddies new classic rock band!  That's right!  There's a new band in Copper Harbor, baby!  And according to our classic rock-loving audience, we did a pretty good job.

We may play at a couple/few open mics at Zik's this summer, and we're scheduled to be the opening band at the Copper Harbor Chili Cookoff.  I'll update you later on this.  Never a dull moment, hey?

The progress in the park is happening quickly.  Remember the dirt shot from the last post?  Well look at it now!

Progress in the CH park

While we're looking at pictures, I may as well show you a couple other ones I took today.  This morning, as I exited my house, the sun was out, but it was raining!  Kinda goofy, but that's what it did.  And there was a layer of fog on the harbor.

Fog lining the Harbor

It was actually that cool, moving mass that crept up the shore and over the pavement like a ghost.  When I get really good with my camera, maybe I'll be able to catch a picture of that.  For now, I'll just have to tell you about it!

During that walk today, I went where my cravings often take me: to Jamsen's Fish Market and Bakery. Today they had banana cake with chocolate frosting and walnuts.  I had to try it.  Delicious.

Then I tried to get artsy and take a picture of their chalk board for you.

Follow that sign!

Life is good in da Harbor so far.  Town still isn't too crazy during the week yet, but that will change soon.

So some people say that this summer is just going to stay cool.  And some people say it's going to be really, really hot.  I don't have any expectations myself.  I'm just excited to enjoy it to its fullest.  One thing I will never bet on is the weather in the Keweenaw!

And for a book update, 500 copies of Touring the Tip should arrive on my doorstep in the next day or two.  Woohoo!!!  I'm stoked to get those little helpers circulating the area.  Soon you'll see the little book at the top of this page change!  Thanks to Kevin Blackstone for the wonderful drawings again!

I hope to see you in a week.  I'll be on my way home from Wisconsin that Monday, but I'll do my best. Enjoy for now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Civilized Island Adventure

Oh, there you are!  I think I was lost in a time warp because it's been two Mondays.  Sorry about that.  All is well.

Let's get right to Mackinac Island.

Here's a view of the Mighty Mac Bridge from the ferry.

Mackinac Bridge from the Lake Huron side

And here is my hotel from the ferry.  I know, I stayed in the Grand.  But when my professional trips are heavily subsidized, I get to do those kinds of things!

The world-renowned Grand Hotel

Not going to lie.  It was a little too grand for me.  I prefer to live simply, and don't need a harp playing when I walk down red carpeted stairs or perfumerie shops or $20 glasses of wine.  I did enjoy the breakfast and the view, though!

The Grand dining set for breakfast

Quite exquisite.  And another unknown bucket list item to cross off.

My main goals on the island were to circumnavigate the outer road on my bike, go for a guided nature hike, do some research and simply take it all in.  I loved it way more than I expected.  Actually, I wasn't ready to leave my last day.  But alas, I had to.  Here are some of the highlights.

Mackinac Island traffic -- horses and bikes

A peaceful setting by the beach

Arch Rock!

Hellooooooo Lady's Slipper

You know me.  I cherish wildflowers.  The scene on that island blew my mind.  I found trilliums with heads the size of my fist, fields of fragrant lily of the valley and poison ivy -- just to name a few uncommon sightings for me.  I would love to stay all summer and watch what blooms next.  I wonder what is out there now....

Okay, so I drove home, took an impromptu trip to WI, came back and planted the garden.  This is the first time I have been able to plant a garden since I lived in the fertile soils of Wisconsin.  Clyde and Lloyd Wescoat have generously donated a plot of their black soil for a Community Garden.  If you are up this summer, check it out right behind the main trailhead by the Welcome Center.  I am grateful for that, and excited to tend this summer.

What else is happening in the park?  Major construction.  I guess it was time to make it look like a real, civilized park.  Here is what it looks like mid-operation.

CH Park under construction

Just a few key items here.  Note the brick terrace.  Behind it, on the right, you'll see the pavilion.  Lots of equipment and dirt, otherwise.  They will be planting grass once the machines are done.  We'll see how it looks then!

I must give a shout to the weather today.  It is warm again.  The last few days have been chilly, windy and rainy.  The power even went out yesterday from the strong gusts.  Life in da Keweenaw, I tell ya!  So, nice to see you Mr. Sunshine!

But, of course, sunshine brings the bugs.  They are hungry.  I look a little like I have the chicken pox myself, but it's just blackfly bites.  They can go away anytime now.

Back to our flowers, I get to sniff lilacs and roses -- two of my favorite smells.  Lots of others are blooming now, too but I won't go through them all again.  I'm sure you have them memorized by now. And if you don't, come on up and take one of my wildflower tours!

Now there is one more event that I need to speak of.  Okay, two.  The Fundraiser for the Fireworks sunset cruise on the Isle Royale Queen IV is this Wednesday.  The boat leaves at 7:00pm sharp from the dock.  I believe the price is $15 per adult with all proceeds going to the fireworks fund.  This is usually a great time.  Come if you can.

The other even just happened on Friday the 13th.  It was the Annual CHVFD Fundraiser Spaghetti Dinner.  This event packed the Mariner North.  People came to eat spaghetti, buy local baked goods, bid at the silent auction and enter the 50/50 raffle.  Somehow (sober and tired) I managed to stay the whole time and talk to lots of friends.  It was a lovely gathering.  This is a great place to meet and mingle with locals.  A special thanks goes out to everyone who volunteered time, effort, money, goods and services for this great cause: our fire department.

Well, let me leave you with a picture I took when I was trying to figure out how to use my new camera.  I am fond of this shot.  

Lake Fanny Hooe and East Bluff

Happy Solstice!  I have a hard time going to bed before it's dark these days.  Oh, I love it!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Oh, Baby.

Good thing it's raining today because the blackflies and mosquitoes would be horacious otherwise.  And it's also a good thing because the world was starting to dry out up here.  One more reason it's good (and I speak for myself) is because after 1,000 gray winter days in a row, hot and sunny days tend to fry a person right off the bat.  The cool, wet, grayness is a nice balance every once in a while.  Besides, it's Monday, and those usually feel gray anyway.  Okay, well, I like Mondays.

In my last post, I emphasized the fact that blood-sucking insects were at bay.  I knew they would be here by now.  My doggie can't even lay peacefully on the porch; he's too busy biting at the swarms around his body.

But, 'tis the season.  We knew this would come.  Of course, they can go away anytime now.  I think we've earned ourselves a pleasant summer.  I'll keep you posted as it progresses.

A few days ago, just before the bugs got bad, Duce and I went up to Lake Manganese.  After the "spring," that pond was a welcome sight.  Duce ran right in to swim.  I tested the water with my hand, then kicked off my shoes to wade a bit.  Pretty tepid, actually.  I would have to be beading sweat to want to swim in it, but it will be an option -- when the bugs die off a bit.

Speaking of sweating, have you noticed that I haven't been doing much of that lately?  I've traded my death-defying, hear-pumping adventures for wandering wildflower walks.  I'm currently not allowed to do the former because there is a baby in my belly.

That's right.  I'm incubating a mini adventure buddy!  This little person should make their appearance to the world in late October, so I've got all summer to give tours and write and garden and pick berries and paint a baby's room.  Aaron and I are really excited to be parents.  It must just be that time in our lives!

So, yeah.  No mountain biking or cliff climbing (or descending) or anything crazy like that.  But I tell you, I can't wait to take my kayak out.  The inland lakes should warm up a bit soon until I get a wetsuit.

But this weekend I'm going to a new place.  Mackinac Island.  Have you ever been there?  Talk about a tourist destination.  I'm going to the Annual Summer Conference for the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association.  Last year I went up to Canada for that, remember?  I sure am looking forward to that trip.  Something different, you know?

After that trip, I'll have some pictures for you.  But this time, well, I'm not really sure how it happened, but I have nothing current to share.  My apologies for this round.  And don't hold it against me; I'm a little sensitive these days. 

Well, have a great week, and I'll see you when I get back from the little island!