HEAT WAVE! It felt more like Miami Beach around here for the past 24 hours than the upper peninsula of Michigan. I have been walking around in shorts and a T-shirt, even at night and have been comfortable. We were 22 degrees above average today, with a high of 70 degrees. If it had been 22 degrees cooler than average today, we would have seen a high of 26. The warm weather lately has lots of things all confused up here. I have seen some misquitos flying around, the frogs are singing and I'm surprised that the smelt are not running! Reality is about 6 hours away, in the form of a cold front. Temps tomorrow look to be about 22 degrees cooler than they were today. The best thing about this warm weather has been that I have not used a drop of the fuel that was delivered last weekend.
The extended forecast has gone back to a colder look, so there is some promise. I am not thinking about it too much. I'm not going to believe things the models say until the cold is forecasted to only be about 3-4 days away. However, it is nice to see cold and snow back in the forecast within the next 10 days.
Today I learned the truth behind the phrase "busy as a beaver". The hounds and I took essentially the same walk this afternoon and evening. The afternoon walk took place at about 2:30 and the evening at about 6:30. In that 4 hours, a beaver had managed to bring down 5 small trees with trunk diameters ranging from 2-5", as well as two larger trees, with diameters of about 7-8". The smaller trees he/she had already pulled into the river, but the larger ones were still there. It is damming up the Traprock River, so this could get interesting if it succeeds. I am not going to say anything to the officials up here, as it would not cause any flooding damage. The banks of the river are about 5-7 feet above the rivers surface and the river is about 20 feet wide. No beaver is going to build a dam or lodge that big. I'll try and remember to take the camera along tomorrow so I can show you it handy work. Kinda neat to have all of this happening about 3 blocks from my home. There is an old dam about a block from my house. Ah, the wilds of the UP.
The grouse are really out now. Yesterday the hounds and I flushed 4 on our walk. By far a record this year. We usually would flush one or none. Even flushed one on a short walk this evening. If you've never experienced this, it can be rather unsettling. Imagine yourself walking through the serene and quiet woods, when all of the sudden there is this explosion and then a ruffling of feathers and a bird takes flight. They usually wait until you are about 4-5 feet away from you before they do this. The explosion is similar to what a firecracker going off inside a can would sound like. Not a good situation for someone with an ailing heart!
I have the final set of 100 mailing to go out for the Northwoods Directory tomorrow, then I AM DONE! I am really, really looking forward to it. Over 2000 went out and responses are coming in. If you are planning a trip to the upper Midwest, be sure to check it out and help support the businesses who are helping support this site. I don't know what I will do with all my free time! I do need to build a new snowstation for the AL Cam. That is planned for this weekend. I also need to build the protection for my bushes and I suppose I can put up the Christmas Lights, just in case we get snow that stays.
Daily forecasts will be starting in less than a week, hope I have things to talk about.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Boy, it sure does not seem like it has been 3 days since I last wrote. How time flies! The first thing I want to say is that a few of you have alerted me to the fact that when you hit refresh on most of the pages of the site, you are taken back to the main page. I am not sure what is causing this. I did change some of the code on the main page that would cause it to refresh itself. We were having a problem with the banners not rotating. However, when it was brought to my attention that hitting reload caused this problem, I removed that code. But the problem did not go away. I just want to make it clear that it was not my intention force you to go back to the main page. I will continue to try and figure out what the problem is, if any of you have suggestions, let me know. I also want to make it clear that it is not the fault of the designer, Jim Formanek. He is responsible for the things that work, not that don't! I'm the guy who breaks things around here! But since it is my site, I think I am entitled.
Very unusual weather going on up here. We have been in the 60's a lot in the past several weeks, basically since we had the snowstorm. Has me a little scared right now. Things looked to change by the end of the week and then get wintery by next week, but now the models have backed off that idea. I'm most worried because the longer this current warm spell lasts, the less of a chance I think we have that we will see a big winter. I even updated the forecast yesterday, when it all looked good. Did not want to get caught up in the day to day fluctuations of the models, so I did not change my forecast today. However, if they stick to their current look (warm through the next 2 weeks) for the next two model runs, I will have to update my forecast. Especially since what the models are saying at this moment is so different from what was indicated when I made my update yesterday. We'll see. Too many people are talking up this winter to be a big one, I hate when they do that. Usually goes the opposite. Mother nature seems to take enjoyment out of proving the seasonal forecasters wrong!
Been taking walks with the hounds. Poor dogs, they were putting on their winter coats and now have to huff and puff with all this warm weather. I am lucky as I can still wear shorts, they do not complain, but sure seem to be hot. On my walk today, I passed this unique tree. It is a birch tree, but there is a spot on the trunk where the bark is different. I have seen this occur before, but not in this unique fashion. Usually the characteristics of the bark changes gradually, with the older bark loosing the paper like look and taking on the look of other bark. On this tree, there is a distinct region where the bark is different, with the paper bark both above and below this area. I first saw this tree about a year ago and must have gone past it a dozen times so far. I just thought I would share it with you.
I have been pretty good to not think about snow too much, but we are now reaching the time when I said I would like to start to see it, so it is beginning to occupy my thoughts more (up to about every 10 minutes now). I am almost all done with the mailings, one more set of 500 to stuff, stamp, label and seal. Then I will be back to having free time. That free time could prove to be trouble if it does not start to look more winter like around here. I do realize that the winter like weather does not really lock in around here until late November, but Houghton County does average 24" and Keweenaw 29" for the month. That is not too far from the seasonal average of 38" that I was use to in Chicago. Oh how I hope it is a good year. We snowlovers have really been dealt a raw deal in the past 3 years and the 90's as a whole were not too good either. Is it really that much to ask for?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
More busy times for me, but I continue to draw closer to my finish line of tasks to get done. Today I put in the new garage door opener. The old one looked to be original with the house, which would make it about 25 years old. Last winter in the colder days, it would barely lift the door. I would actually have to get out and help it along on the coldest days. Then this summer, the remote went out and that was the last straw. So today I put up the new one which had been sitting in it's box, in my garage for the past 3-4 weeks. I did not want to be working in the garage when it was really cold out, so I earmarked this weekend to get it done, no matter what. Tomorrow it will be to rake the leaves and cut the grass in the back yard. Keep an eye on the AL Cam late in the morning and you are likely to see me working and the hounds getting in the way. They just love to run through my leaf piles, knocking all the leaves all over the place.
I have all these chores to do, plus my regular work and the continued work with the mailing. The mailing is going well. All the businesses in northern WI have been notified, as have most of the ones in the UP. Northern lower MI and northwest WI will go out early next week and then northern MN by the end of the week or early next week. Then I just need to sit back, wait for the responses to come in and add the info to the directory. So far, so good. I have received info back from a handful of businesses from businesses in Minocqua, Eagle River, Arbor Vitae and Hurley. Plus a few businesses in Newberry have signed on. It looks like the Northwoods Directory is going to become a viable feature for all of you to use when you want to make reservations or see what an area has to offer in amenities. Kind of exciting to see it all come together. It has been a ton of work, I bet I have put in over 100 hours on it so far, but once this years work is done, it should grow on it's own.
With all of this going on, I still have not forgotten about you, the visitor. Although I have not updated this journal for 3 days, it have not forgotten to try and capture some special moments in memory and on the digital camera. The other morning I was treated to a brilliant sunrise. It occurs at about 8 am now, soon to become 7 am when we set the clocks back next weekend. It was a frosty morning, which is what the white glow in the lower right is on the shot. That is the frost reflecting the cameras flash. One of these days, I will get over to the north shore to capture some of the sunsets we have.
I also have not neglected the hounds with my busy schedule. I make it a point to take them on a good afternoon walk no matter what. Today was no exception. A great day for a walk in the woods. Clear blue skies, temps in the 50's and a light wind. The leaves are all but down, with just about 10% of the trees hanging onto them. It is amazing how much different the woods look and feel when the vegetation looses it's foliage. You can see so far into them, seeing objects that were once hidden. I even discovered a fort that some of the neighborhood kids had masterfully built this summer.
I always get some much needed recharging from the walks too, so it is not just for the dogs. I usually try and not think about business stuff and try and get absorbed in the moment. Today I was thinking how much different my situation this year at this time is from last year at this time. This year I am so busy, there is just not enough time in the day. I could seriously use about another 4-5 hours to get things done at a faster pace. Last year, I was sitting around, waiting for winter to come and it was driving me nuts! I like this year a lot more.
Speaking of waiting for winter to come. The extended forecast still looks promising. It is still too far out to be overly confident on, but it sure looks like the pattern may change by the end of next week and open up the gates to the north, allowing cold air to spill in and maybe even bring some snow to the northwoods. A lot of locals have told me that Halloween is a traditional time for the first real storm up here and maybe this year will fill that bill. I am ready. I know that it would most likely melt, but it will still be nice to get back into a pattern productive for the white gold.
Well, I guess I will sign off for now. Need to get stuffing, stamping, labeling and sealing some envelopes. I need to do about 600 by Monday noon. Till next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
I'm back, both figuratively and literally. I apologize to all those who attempted to get on the site and were not able to yesterday. There was a problem which was out of my hands and the hands of my host server. We were told that a router somewhere out west, like in Idaho or Colorado was to have some work done to it and that there would be a interruption of service for about 30 minutes starting at 4 am. Obviously things did not go according to plans, as the site was down for all of yesterday. I think that this outage is related to the one about two weeks ago. These two outages were the only two of their kind in many years for my host, so lets hope they are all done with!
I have not neglected my duties totally. The past several days, I have taken my camera along on our afternoon walks. The trees are all but bare now, hanging onto their last few leaves. Quite a dramatic difference of just a week or two ago. Here is another before and after. I will have to remember to go out there and take some pics in that spot when there is 4 feet of snow on the ground.
I do really love this time of the year. Walking through the woods, there is such a strong scent of autumn. Actually I think to be technical it is of decaying leaves, but that sounds kind of gross. The smells take ma back to being a kid (in true age, I am still a kid a heart and spirit) and playing in the leaf piles we would make in the fall. After spending hours raking them into a huge pile, my younger brother and I would then take turns jumping and diving into the pile. It is a wonder that neither of us did not break out neck. The leaves did not really offer that much of a protection from the ground, even if it was 4 feet tall! I can then remember just laying in the pile of leaves looking up at the trees, the gray autumn sky and wishing that I could stop time. Never have to go back to school, or any of the other unpleasant things that came with the regular weekday. Smelling the leaves still brings back the memories of those days.
I suppose that the scent of the decaying leaves also seems to signal the approach of winter and that is a very good thing! Although our weather has been anything but threatening of winter lately. For a while, I was becoming rather concerned, as the pattern we jumped into about October 9 or 10 was the same one we got into last fall and could not shake for most of the winter. The one that brought about record low snowfall totals for a few places up here. Even the forecasts were not providing much in the way of promise for the past week or so, but the past two days, a glimmer of hope has been spotted in the forecast guidance. It is way out in the 8-14 day period, about the least reliable time frame of the forecast, but the signs are looking encouraging to me. I would really like to see the pattern revert back to the below average setup soon, as that would speak volumes to me about the winter. It would basically tell me that there are strong chances that this winter would not be marked by long periods of above average temps and below average snowfall. There could be a few interludes, but they would not likely be too long lasting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The change could actually be marked by a storm bringing some snow the weekend before Halloween or even Halloween Day. Many of the locals have told me that a Halloween storm is a tradition up here and I am all for traditions!
I have just one last shot to share with you all. It is of a fairly new road that was put in that runs from near the Calumet Waterworks to just south of the Tamarack Waterworks. It is a favorite place of mine to walk. A nice distance of about 2.5 miles round trip and the dogs love to run off into the woods on either side of the road and explore. There are a few spots where the fir trees grow with more density and the smell that they give off is just amazing. If someone could figure out how to reproduce those smells with true realism, they would be an instant multi millionaire. Note the blue skies in the photo. We are entering into the time of the year when skies like that will become a rare commodity, but man, when we get them, they are incredibly blue. Almost fake looking.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Only been away from the journal for 3 days, but it sure seems like a lot longer. I have been absorbed in getting my mailing out for the Northwoods Directory. I have about 1000 letters going out for this first mailing and about 1000 will go out in the next one. It has been raining up here almost consistently since Friday night. Never very hard, but not really light enough to be able to be outside without getting wet. Since the hounds are waterproof, I have been taking them for walks. They don't really like to go out in the rain to do their business, but ask them to go for a walk and it can be pouring out and they will not care! It's strange and cool how such a simple thing like a walk can be so much fun for them. I have learned some things from them and that is one, to just enjoy the simple things in life.
The rain has also been good to keep me inside and my nose to the grindstone. I put in about 8 hours on the mailing yesterday and so far have put in about 9 today. I plan to put in about another 1-2 tonight and then it should be all done. At least for this one.
Another nice thing about the rain has been that it has caused the leaves to fall straight down. That is good for me, as all my trees are at the edge of the lot. You have been looking at them on the AL Cam. Last year we had some wind storms which blew the leaves all over my lawn which made it hard to rake. When I get around to raking this week, I will not have to rake that big an area. Plus I learned that all we need to do is get the leaves to the roadside and then the city comes along and hauls them off. They use a front end loader and dump truck. You can put them in biodegradable bags, which is what I did last year, but you don't have to. This year I will rake them the day before they come to pick them up and just pile them up at the curb.
Even though it has been 3 days since my last update, I have no new pictures to show. Partly because of the wet weather and partly because I have been too lazy. I can tell you that the trees are about 80 percent bare. Almost ready for the heavy snow! Speaking of which, in my last journal I said I was a little worried because the pattern had changed to one like last year. The forecast looks a little more encouraging tonight. There is a system to arrive by the middle of next week (Oct 25th-26th) that would bring some snows and cold. It is way too early to feel very confident about it, but the way the pattern is indicated to shape up by then is more encouraging than the potential for snow. We'll see.
My biggest concerns for the winter being another balmy one is the fact that the NWS and Weather Channel are both calling for a cold and snowy one. That is usually the kiss of death! Bottom line is that there is no way to tell with any real certainty and maybe they will be wrong because they underestimated just how cold and snowy it will be! Think I will end on that thought.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Watching some of the midday news today, it is sad to see the development of events in the world. Even watching the WGN midday news was saddening to see all the negative stuff happening just 400 miles to our south. Sure we have our problems here, but they pale in comparison. Should a ski hill be built? Can certain areas be developed? What are we going to have for dinner tonight? I guess life is always filled with questions and controversy, but I was very glad that I could just turn off the TV and head out into the great outdoors of the Keweenaw. It was another beautiful Indian Summer day up here. Temps in the high 60's and tons of sun. I figured that it would be a good day to head towards some body of water, just did not know which would be the best. I decided to stay close to home and head off to the Lake Linden sands. Actually, they are not sands anymore, thanks to a restoration project that covered them up and has vegetation growing on it. I guess they will have to be called The Prairies or something.
Of course the hounds came along and they did their best impression of Field and Stream. Speaking of the hounds, I have two burning questions about dog behavior. First, what posses them to roll in something they find that smells terribly bad? Today it was dead fish. However, the list also has included, bear poop, coyote poop and goose poop. It is a toss up as to which is worse, bear poop or coyote poop. My second question revolves around the events that follow the stinking up of the dogs, and that is the de-stinking of the dogs. They love the water, absolutely love it. I like to say that "You can lead a lab to water...You just can't keep them out of it!". But, try and have them sit still when I am soaping them up and hosing them off outside and they can't stand it. They act like it is acid coming out of the garden hose and not water. I sure wish that I could figure these things out. That way all three of our lives would be better!
Anyway, I got them all de-stunk and we are all a happy family once again. Not much else to talk about. Things are pretty quiet around here. The trees continue to become bare and are now about 50% bare. Our temps have been pretty wild. Down to 28 this morning, with a heavy frost. Only 50 on top of the hill at the same time. Then we rose 39 degrees to 57 today. The warming was due more the dry air and abundant sunshine than any strong surge of air from the south. We were probably as warm as areas to our south. Right now I am happy with the weather we are having, but not too happy with the way the pattern has changed. It has gone back to almost exactly what it did last year about this time. Hopefully this setup will not last as long as last years did. I think that there are a bunch of people out there who do not want to have to endure another brown winter.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Indian summer is upon the UP. I broke out the shorts today. Not too many days left that I will be able to wear them so I have to get it in when I can. That is about the only thing that I miss about summer, being able to wear shorts.
With the sunny skies and mild temps, lots of outdoor work is getting done, leaves are being raked, grass is being cut, even a few bushes are being wrapped in preparation for the seasons onslaught of snow weight. I have plenty to do myself. Rake the leaves, cut the grass, fertilize the lawn, install a new garage door opener, secure the bushes, make sure the snow thrower starts, build a new snow station and put up the Christmas lights. All of this in the next 3 weeks. Don't worry, I won't light the Christmas lights until after Thanksgiving, they just need to be up sometime soon after Halloween as that is when snow can come and stay, and I don't need to be up on the roof hanging lights when there is snow on it!
It's funny, even with the warm temps, the fact that the trees are becoming bare it seems much like winter is just around the corner. It is getting dark much earlier. On our evening walks, I was able to be assured of sunlight up until 8 pm just a month or so ago, now by about 7 it is getting dark. Soon the darkness will be coming at about 6, then 5. Another sign winter is coming. The last sign is seen in the sales ads and stores themselves. Snow throwers are being put on display and summer accessories are being put in the back, behind the scenes. Now, don't get me wrong, with all these signs of winters imminent approach, I am still not all that nuts about it coming. I am still able to keep myself calm. I think that I will be able to do so for about another month, then things will start to get a little exciting for me. I would just assume have days like today, 50's and low 60's with sunshine, until deer season (Nov. 15), then let it start to snow and stick.
No new pictures to display today, but I do have a special treat to share with you. This is not the surprise that I talked about in yesterday's journal. That is still weeks away. This is something that Jim Formanek, the person who helped redesign and build this site, introduced to me. It is a program that creates a panorama view of shots that you supply. To view this, your browser needs to be Java capable. I am pretty sure most browsers are, if yours is not, I am pretty sure that you will know right away when the program tries to do it's thing. Anyway, this first panorama was an experiment. I took the shots last Wednesday on our afternoon hike up to the top of the Cliffs near Phoenix. Like many experiments, I learned some things to do and not to do. One of my next attempts will be from on top of Brockway Mountain. The view up there is truly a 360 degree panorama. I am open to other spots, just let me know. Keep in mind, I need to haul a tripod to the spot and need to be able to set the tripod up. Anyway, here is the first panorama, hope you enjoy.
Well, guess that will do it for another day. I need to end this and answer some "Ask John" questions. I am really having fun with this site and it's interactive features. If you have not checked out the "Guest Shots" section lately, I recommend you do so. There are some unbelievable snow shots from a record breaking snowfall event there.
Good night from the Keweenaw
- JD -
All the excitement of the snow is gone, the colors are being transferred from the trees to the ground and the sun was out. Other than that, there is not a whole lot to talk about. I have been extremely busy with preparations for a bulk mailing to try and get businesses in the Northwoods Directory. I really hope that businesses will reply to this offer. I am charging just over 2 dollars a month. How can you go wrong. I really feel that it could become a useful item if enough businesses join in. I know I would have loved to have had such a reference on the net to go to when I was planning trips "up north". I realize that it may take a few years to really catch on, I just want it to be the best it can be right away. Anyway, I am preparing a mailing for over 1000 businesses this week, with another 1000 or more planned for the end of next week or early the following week.
I made some adjustments to the AL Cam. It was brought to my attention that the image size was 250K! That is no big deal with a high speed connection, but for a dial in, it can take a long time to get the picture. I played around with the quality of the image being uploaded and found a good combination of settings that will produce about the same quality image, but with a size of about 40K. That will save a lot of time to download.
The "Historical Weather" link is being updated as it the "Firsts and Lasts". The firsts and lasts link can be found on the historical weather page.
Something new coming to the site in a few days will be some advertising. I hope that this does not turn people off. I am making sure that the ads are from businesses that will be of some interest to the majority of my visitors. I could have taken the easy route and signed up with one of the banner ad retailers who supply the banner ads and I collect money for impressions or click throughs. but I did not want to just have an add for anything. I have already turned away a few businesses that I thought would not really fit in with the theme of the site or be of interest to the majority of the visitors. I really want all to benefit: The visitors to see ads for businesses that may interest them, the businesses to have people learning about what they have to offer and me with a little revenue.
There is one more addition to the site coming in about a month or so. I will not say what it will be, only to say that I think that I will be HUGE. Very popular. Maybe the most popular feature on the site. Stay tuned...
So that is about all I have to talk about. Most of my activities have revolved around the site and so that is about all I have to talk about. Sorry. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something more exciting to talk about.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Good news and bad news. The good news is that the entire region got their first accumulation of the season. The bad news was that it was not nearly as heavy as was thought in most areas. Especially in the Keweenaw. It looked so promising, but a strange set of circumstances set up to keep the Keweenaw out of the heavier precip. It was not a case where the lake caused the precip to fall as rain or even really mix in with rain, it was just that we were not really in the precip for most of the event. Places hardest hit were in the far western UP and into far northern WI, where over a foot came down. I am still very grateful for the snow we got, it was nice to get the first accumulation out of the way. Last year we had to wait until Thanksgiving to get our first inch.
I awoke to a dusting and it was still snowing pretty good. As soon as it was light enough, I went out and took a "front of house shot" just to prove that we did, in fact, have snow. It kept snowing so I thought that a walk with the hounds would be nice. They of course did not have any problems with that. I think that they would be ready to go on one 2 minutes after we get back from one! Here is a shot of a field by my house as it was snowing. Just to show you the lower visibility we had.
Watching the radar and hearing reports of deeper snow, I got the bug to hit the road and do a little snow chasing. I was thinking about heading to the western UP or northern WI, but decided against that, as it has been my experience that the snow totals from that area can tend to be a little over zealous at times. Not saying they are lying, I just have been there when a few inches fell and they were reporting 8-12" new. The next option was the higher terrain between L'Anse and Marquette. I picked the little hamlet of Herman as my destination, as they were the ones to report heavy snow with an event early in the season last year. The hounds and I piled into the car and headed down the road. These early season, elevation snows are always interesting to experience. As I drove into Houghton and Hancock, the areas down by the canal were bare, but higher elevations, like at the top of Mt. Ripley were covered in white.
The trip down was marked with periods of heavier snow, some of the heaviest fell as we were driving along the bay near Baraga. At times, visibility dropped to less than 1/4 mile, officially heavy snow. Reports on the radio of events being canceled in the Baraga got my heart beating a little faster. The twin cities of Baraga and L'Anse did not have much snow down, as it was melting as fast as it was coming down. Heading up the the hill out of L'Anse brought a deepening snow cover, then we turned off onto Herman Road to drive the 5 miles up hill to it's namesake. By the time we reached Herman there was about 4-5" down and it was snowing pretty good. The road to Herman is paved and was mainly clear of snow, but then becomes dirt just past town and was snow packed. Rather than risk getting stuck or even worse slipping off the road, I decided to pull off to the side and park and just go for a walk. After all, that is what we were there for, or at least that is what the dogs thought we were there for!
It was absolutely quite out there, except for the wind through the trees. The snow really came down at times, then backed off a bit - typical of lake effect. There was really not enough snow there to ride on. A ski might have been possible, but it was just a lot of fun to be walking in a winter wonderland. Especially on October 7th!
After that walk, I decided to do a little more snow hunting so we drove back down to 41 and then headed south towards Alberta. Passed a bad accident, on the way to Alberta. A warning to slow it down a little. Then at the 141 junction, I had a decision to make: Drive on towards Marquette or head back west towards Kenton, Bruce Crossing then back home through Mass City and Twin Lake. I opted for the later. Mainly because I had never been down that road and also because I was afraid that the mysterious pull of Menards in Marquette would suck me in and I would end up blowing a ton of money on things I really don't need right now. My choice took me the wrong way for snow. It did not take too long to get back to bare ground and had that all the way to about Mass City. It was an interesting drive. First time through that way. Got to some deeper snow (2-3") on 26 by the Twin Lakes that hung on until about Trimountain.
The hounds and I were very glad to get back home and I think that my snow chasing will be over for a while. My plans are for the snow to find me for the rest of the season.
It is nice to have that first snow out of the way. Last year was quite stressful waiting until Thanksgiving for the first accumulation. I doubt that we will have to wait until then to see the next snowfall. Something tells me it will be back in not too long a time. Time to build a fire, cuddle up with the hounds and relax after our busy day.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
I forgot to mention yesterday was the one year anniversary of the journal. Happy Birthday Journal! Seems like it was even longer that I started this, but I mean that in a good way. It just seems like I have written about a ton of fun stuff. The neat thing is, it only seems to be getting better!
Today I awoke to some rain and snow falling outside my house. I needed to see what was happening elsewhere up here for my local radio broadcast, so the hounds and I drove up to Calumet to see what was happening "up on the hill". About 1/8th of the mile up the road and about 150 feet higher, we hit all snow and by the time we were in Laurium, there was about 1/2" down. That was all I needed to see to help me with my forecast, so we turned around to go home get the forecast out.
Since then, we have had some flurries, they did show up on the AL Cam, but you had to look pretty hard to see them. Other areas have seen more snow, especially to the south in Gogebic County, where 8" has fallen between Wakefield and Marinesco. Painesdale picked up 3-4" early this morning. There were some heavier squalls showing up on the radar at about noon so I decided the hounds and I would head north to chase some snow. Chasing is what we did all right! Got to Mohawk where Chris and Marlo, the new owners of the White House Motel had said it was snowing. Well, by the time I got there, it was sunny!. Then saw cars coming back from the direction of the Harbor with snow on them so left them and headed north. All the cars coming south on 41 had their lights on and about an inch of snow on them. The heart started to beat a little faster. Got to the Eagle Harbor cut off and it was snowing pretty good. Got up the road a little more and it was not snowing, but everything was frosted with about a half inch of snow. I decided to find a place to hike since it looked like the snow band I was chasing was working east off the tip of the Keweenaw and I would run out of land before catching up with it.
We found a seasonal road and I pulled in and let the hounds out for a walk. The snow was melting pretty fast, so I pulled out the camera to take some shots of it before it all melted. I have always thought that seeing fresh snow on autumn colors was pretty, and really wanted to take a few shot of my own one of these years. Today was able to make that desire come true. Here is a shot with yellow, green and white in it.
By the time we reached the top of the road, almost all the snow had melted, but here is a shot I took from the top before all the snow melted. This next shot is the kind I was talking about always wanting to have. I think that part of the reason why I think that type of shot is so neat is that is tells a story as well. It says that an unusual event occurred to allow accumulating snow to fall before mother nature was really ready for it. I believe that mother nature really has things figured out pretty well, as each season the trees usually loose their leaves before the snow flies and can cause the limbs to become weighed down and bring harm to the tree. Sure there are the odd years when things don't go as planned and seeing snow on the leaves illustrates those years.
So now I sit here, hoping the "Lake Effect Snow Warning" we are under for the development of 6-12"+ comes true so I can ride. I am worried that this will be one of those systems that gives us a glancing blow, but hammers other areas. The heavier snows in other areas is the main cause for my worry. I did just get a call from another friend in Mohawk and he says it is snowing pretty good, with snow accumulating on everything, including the roadways. As I type, another friend called in from his tree stand out on the way to Gay and said 2" is down and it is coming down pretty good. Maybe I will be able to get my ride in. Still no snow here, but these early season, elevation snows are really weird. 100 feet can mean the difference between 3" and 12".
It is not that I am dying to ride that bad, I just think that if I do, it will be one of those memories that stick with you for a lifetime. Not to many chances to ride in deep snow on October 7th, even up here.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
My hands tremble a little as I type this. My heart rate is a little elevated and I am quite a bit uneasy. Near bear attack? Nope. Business problems? Nope. Something wrong with the Hounds? Ugh, don't even go there. No, the source of my anxiety is the weather forecast. The cold air dumping into the region is going to set up the seasons first lake effect snow event. It keeps looking more and more impressive. This morning in my forecast I called for as much as 3-8" to fly across the higher elevations up here. This afternoon, the NWS-Marquette issued a winter storm watch for the potential of 8-12" of snow in the higher elevations. I was a bit surprised at this. Not because I think it impossible, the storm really has a lot of potential. I found it unusual because the NWS is usually quite conservative. Usually if they error, they error to the low side. This storm will be very hit and miss, with some areas possibly seeing that 12" of snow, but others not even seeing an inch. The main story will be what the marine layer does. For those of you who have not heard of this term, it applies to the area of air that is modified by the lake. The cool, dry air works over the waters of the lake and is warmed as well as has humidity added to it. This time of the year, the lake is still fairly warm, in the upper 40's to low 50's, that is enough to warm even the coldest air into the upper 30's and low 40's, as well as make it fairly well saturated with moisture. This modification only takes place within the first few hundred feet of air or so. Further up, things are much less impacted, especially temperature wise. In cases like that which will happen tomorrow and Saturday, the marine layer will be blown inland to some extent. The extent is determined mainly by how strong the wind is blowing. During a storm last October 22nd and 23rd, the marine layer was blown in over the entire Keweenaw. Winds peaked at 60 mph in that event. Anyway, the marine layer will cause the snow to mix with, or change to all rain and that is not good for snowfall accumulations. How much snow places get up here will depend almost entirely on if they are in the marine layer or not. Winds look to be about 15-22 mph so the layer will make it inland and up the hills some. How much is the whole question. I'll be sure to keep you all informed.
We have reached the peak in colors today. At least in my area. Some areas are now past and others still likely have a few days. Took the hounds for the afternoon walk. We went on the snowmobile trails. Very pretty, very autum-like walk. I really liked the mix of colors in that last shot, the reds, yellows and oranges of the maples, greens of the pines and white of the birch bark. Here is one with lots of yellow.
The view across the valley was also quite dramatic, even with the heavy overcast. Soon the leaves will fall to the ground. Very soon if we get that snow. I suspect that the power company may be quite busy tomorrow and Saturday.
Not much else to talk about, so I suppose I will end it for tonight. Hope to tell you all tales of snow. Maybe even some riding come Saturday!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Ok, now I am all legal (with the date that is)! Two entries in one day, is that dedication or what? If you all knew the problems I am having with my computer lately, you might really think that this was dedication. I have problems with my e mail in that the permissions for my inbox were changed somehow. I could not check my e mail, nor could I get to the messages that were already there. To make things even worse, there were messages that came in, but I could not get to them. I have put in a temporary fix by creating a whole new user profile. That allows me to get new messages, but the old ones are still out there, not accessible. Hopefully the fine folks at Netscape will be able to help me out. I have a trouble ticket in with them.
Enough of the bad stuff, onto the good stuff. Took the hounds on another adventure. Like I said in the previous entry, I had planned on going to a spot that I bet most do not go to when they come up here, and we did go there. The colors were not as far along as the spot we went to yesterday, but it was still very beautiful. I decided that I would play a little guessing game with you all to see if you could identify where I was. I will tell at the end of this journal, as well as give some hints along the way. Anyway, this was the intended item of our destination.
The first hint is that you are looking at about 2/3rds of the entire body of water, the rest is to the left, out of the picture. Here is another shot from a different angle. The second hint is that it is in Houghton County. The third hint is that it is about 1/4 mile away from this much larger body of water. For those of you who did not recognize a somewhat angry Lake Superior, that is what the third hint was. It is funny, when I look at the photo of Lake Superior, the waves look about 2 feet high. Actually, they were about 4-6 feet high. The shot was taken about 100 yards from the waters edge and there was a large slope where the water was running up the sand. All of those factors make it seem like the waves were smaller than they actually were. I wished to get a shot with the hounds in it to show the size, but they were not too interested in going near the water.
Here is hint number 4. I really must be fair with this one, as I am sure about 90% of you just though that picture was of Hwy. 41 south of Copper Harbor. Ah, but remember, I was in Houghton County, that stretch of 41 is in Keweenaw County. Confused anyone? Anyone got it?
Here is the last hint, a goodie and it will clue many of you in. If not, you really need to see this place. I needed to take a road called "Covered Drive" to get there. That is the actual name, not just a nickname. I think that "Cathedral Drive" might be more appropriate, as that is really the way things looked, with the trees causing a cathedral effect, not just covering it. I had hoped that the colors would be further along for the full effect, but it looks like I was about 3-4 days early. Still very neat road to drive down.
So who knows? Should I give it away....Hmmmmm.....Maybe tomorrow? Nah, I spill the beans. It was the Reservoir at the Redridge Dam, out by Redridge, Beacon Hill and Freda. For those of you still not in the know, you take the Canal Road north out of Houghton and turn on Coles Creek Road. That will take you to Covered Drive and then the road to Redridge, Beacon Hill and Redridge.
Hope everyone enjoyed the little mystery tour. More colors tomorrow. This time in Keweenaw County.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Technically it is October 3rd, but I am writing this in the morning and just about everything I am going to talk about will be about my day yesterday, plus I plan on making an update this evening to cover today's adventures so I titled this entry the 2nd.
Hope everyone likes the AL Cam improvements. You may just get to see some white in it this Friday and Saturday, as the latest forecast indicates some snow possible, maybe even a bit of accumulation by then. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
The next few days I plan on touring some places of the Keweenaw that most do not go to. They are also places where I think the colors will be quite dramatic. My trip yesterday was local, but non less dramatic. We took the little loop through the woods that brings us past the quarry and then through the deep woods in the hills above Lake Linden and then back down to town. Did everyone see Baileys (the yellow lab) in that pic? She's in there, just a little camouflaged.
I realize that there are lots of fans of the hounds out there. I get lots of e-mails telling me to say hi to the hounds. Most of my pics of them are of their backsides as they are exploring. Yesterday I was able to convince them that it would be nice for them to pose for a shot so you all could see them.
On our last trip up this way, it was Sunday and a very nice day. Thus we ran into lots of activity, with cars, trucks, ATV's and even other hikers. Yesterday it was mostly overcast, cool and being Monday afternoon we had the place to ourselves. It is not that I do not like people, but being in a setting like that, it just seems better to be all alone with the dogs. The quarry was especially peaceful with the colors reflecting off the water and the fallen leaves floating on the surface.
I have said that the colors here are really brilliant, with some trees actually appearing to glow. Even with the overcast we had yesterday, I came across a few of those trees yesterday. Here is a shot of one of them I came across. It is more of a sapling, but still was glowing. The camera does not quite pick up on the glow as well as I would like, but I think you get the idea.
Walking around in all that color can almost seem surreal. At times, I would just do a 360 and take it all in, thanking the powers that be that I am fortunate enough to be here, to be able to see it and to be able to appreciate it. Another one of those magic moments in the Keweenaw. If you are wondering what I was experiencing, here is a little sample. Yes, it really is that breathtaking and beautiful and I wish everyone reading this was here to enjoy it. Today looks to be even better, with lots of sunshine. I will keep my destination for this afternoon a secret, but I think that you will not be disappointed.
Have to get back to work so will close for now.
Good day from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
Welcome to October everyone. Just two (hopefully short) months away and the trails could be groomed! Lots to talk about, but I have come down with a cold, so I may be brief.
First, "AL Cam" is alive! Thanks to a visitor to the site, I was told about a very easy and relatively cheap way to set up a web cam for the site. That was something that I was wanting to do for this year. I knew that it would not likely be too hard and had seen some cameras in the store that were pretty cheap, but I just did not know what the best way to go was. Thanks to this friend, I was able to know what camera to get and also was told that setting it up to automatically update it would not be too hard. He was right, I loaded the software, plugged in the camera and about 10 minutes later had the camera automatically sending the image to AL cam page. I still need to play around with the camera to maximize the image quality. For now it will just look out at the changing trees in my back yard. I do plan to put the snowstation stuff within it's view. It looks out onto a much better area to represent the snow cover and new snow. I have set it up to update every 10 minutes. I hope that it has lots to show this winter!
More news, I ran into Sandy from the "Landings" in Lac La Belle. She informed me that the bank came to terms with new owners. So it looks like that place will be open for the snowmobile season. I do not have official conformation, nor do I have any details on the new owners. As soon as I find out more, I will let you all know.
The color show is reaching it's peak. We are about 2-5 days away from the true peak in most areas. I had plans to take lots of pictures over the weekend, but things change and my little cold virus did not allow me to take as many as I had wanted to. Yesterday we went fishing out on the big lake. This time of the year, you really have to watch the weather, as it can go from a surface like glass to 3-5 footers in about an hour. Not too comforting when you are in an 18 foot runabout. We first tried a few spots about a mile or two off the shoreline of Big Traverse. Nothing was biting and the lake was pretty calm so we decided to make the run to the Huron Islands about 15 miles east. The trip to the islands is across open water. You are always in view of land and in cell phone range, but still, it always is nice when you finally make it to the islands and then back home. On the way to the islands, the wind started to pick up. Not to really high levels, but enough to create some chop. We have a rule that no matter how good the fish are biting, when the waves get to 1 foot, we go home. When we got there, they were just about at 1 foot, but not growing. We fish in about 180 feet of water for the lakers. The wind was blowing hard enough for the anchor to not hold, and then the waves hit the magical 1 foot mark so we pulled up the ineffective anchor and headed home. The waves got to about 2-3 feet by the time we reached the shoreline of Big Traverse, but then the wind died off, so we decided to to a little trolling for salmon in the shallows near the shoreline. Did not have any luck, so we called it a day. I did bring the camera along on the fishing trip, but some haze did not afford any decent shots.
Then I wanted to go and get a few shots of the sunset along the north shore, but the clouds blocked out the sunset so no shots of that.
Today I took the usual few walks with the hounds and on the afternoon one took the camera along to show some of the colors. I do not know what it is about this place which causes the colors to be so much vibrant than in other areas. I have witnessed the color change in the mountains out west, the glacial valleys of southern WI and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and none of them can compare with the colors I have seen here. Last year was not the best I have seen up here, but this year looks to be a winner. The colors are extremely vibrant and all the trees seem to be changing at about the same time.
Our walk today was in the general neighborhood of my home. We did head up to the tracks to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy Lake Linden. Here is a shot of the hounds making their way up Nordman Road. That is the road that the snowmobile trail uses to get from the main trail (#3) to the trail that heads to the Maple Leaf and Dreamland. Speaking of trail 3, that was one I took while walking along that route. Back in town, the color was no less dramatic. Like I said, the colors up here are very intense, some trees actually appear to be fluorescent. Here is a shot of one of those trees. The camera did not do the best job of showing the glow of the tree, I suppose that I could have played around with the image on the computer to try and get the glow to show up better, but wanted to get to the journal.
I do have plans on going to some of the best places to show the colors in the next few days. For those of you planning on coming up to see them, pack those bags and get up here now. Next weekend may be too late!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD -
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