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Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Journal
April 30, 2001-
    Well, I have a lot of pictures to share and some things to write about, but unfortunately my body did not adjust too well to the 80 degree temps we had today and I am not feeling real well.  Rather than try and put out a journal, making myself sicker as well as putting out a mediocre journal, I will just delay the pics of the falls and other sights of the past few days for another day.  I think that part of my problems has to do with exhaustion, so a good nights sleep should put me in better shape.  Sorry it will be almost a week between real journal entries, but these things happen.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 30, 2001- Continued-
    OK, so this is a little weird, it is actually May 1, but I putting this under the April 30 date.  Why?  Well I am still not feeling too great and to make a new month in the Journal it requires some extra work.  I have screwed up this process in the past and have lost an entire month's journal in the transfer process to the past journals section, so I though that I would just add onto yesterday's little blurb and avoid the whole "new month" process.
    We seemed to have sort of bypassed spring up here.  Monday of last week it was snowing and a week later (yesterday) we hit 81 degrees.  That is after a 78 on Sunday and was followed by a high in the 70's again today.  The next few days look to cool into the 60's, but that is still almost summerlike.  There are still a few piles of snow around, but they are going fast now.  Last Thursday I decided to run the snow thrower through the remaining snow in my front yard so that it would all melt that day.  Here is a shot of the yard before I did that.  I realize that by doing that, I compromised the official date of when my yard would be clear, but I think that it is safe to say it would have all been gone by Sunday, April 29th.  I got the front yard all raked on Saturday and it is already greening up.  A shot of fertilizer in about a week and it should be in great shape.  The back yard almost needs cutting in spots.  Looks like it is time to put away the snow thrower and break out the lawn mower.
    On Sunday, Julie, the hounds and I took a hike to see if we could get up to see the Douglas Houghton Falls.  The Hammell Creek was still running pretty good so I was hoping to see the falls with some decent water going over them.  I got permission from a friend to hike up his property to get to the falls.  The other ways were likely way too wet to get in.  It was fun to be out in the woods exploring unexplored territory.  After about 15-20 minutes of finding our way through the bush, we were rewarded by the thunder of the falls.  That picture does not do the size of the falls justice.  They are about 120-130 feet high and drop into a box canyon.  Another way I have hiked up to the falls is to actually hike up the canyon, but the creek was too high to do that Sunday.
    Sunday was also a fairly warm day.  Not hot, but warm.  The hounds may have thought it was hot, seeing as though they are still wearing a good portion of their winter coats.  This jump from winter to summer has caught them a little unprepared.  The took every advantage thay could to cool off.  Here is a shot of Burt soaking in a water hole.  Baileys had already soaked and was out by the time I took the shot.
    With the warmth, it was weird to come across areas of snow still hanging on.  What makes those areas of snow even more unique is that they were just piled up by nature and not by the plows, like the one in my front yard was.  One thing that I bet a lot of you did not know is that the shots you see in this journal are sometimes the results of several attempts.  Especially if the hounds are included.  Here is a behind the scenes shot showing Baileys attempt to hog the attention of the camera.  Here is take two.  On the way up to the falls, I made most of the decisions on how to get back.  On the way back, Julie made most of the decisions.  A good thing, as I would have overshot most of the turns we took on the way up.  The only time we went my way instead of hers, we ended up in the wrong place.  Not a major problem, just a little off course.
    So this snow season is likely over for good.  I suppose it is not out of the question that a few flakes could fly before this month is up, but the way the forecast look right now I doubt that it will happen.  The woods are just beginning to burst their buds and soon this trail will be cloaked in shade.
    This evening the hounds and I took a walk out by the Traprock River.  It is way down, almost to average levels.  About another 2- 2 1/2 feet and it will be down to the levels it normally is.  A big difference from just over a week ago.
    Not much else to talk about and I am running out of steam, so I will hang it up for tonight.  But before I go, please enjoy the summer forecasts and be sure to tell your friends about it!
- JD-
April 25, 2001-
    This may be a short one, as I am doing it before my PT.  I have a dinner date with Julie tonight and I also want to get the hounds out for a little walk.  The only time that I have to put out a journal is now, so here I sit.  Not a whole lot of new stuff to talk about.  The excitement of the weekend is gradually fading.  We had more rain Sunday night and Monday, but it was only about 3/4's of an inch so the rivers did not rise too much.  I did get a note from a colleague at the NWS Marquette who is in charge of Hydrology (monitoring river levels, among other things) and he informed me that the Trap Rock River reached it's third highest levels in the past 33 years.  It is funny, because I thought it was very high, as it had risen much above the banks in a lot of places and had inundated areas of it's flood plain that looked like they had not been flooded in a long time.  On the other hand, a few locals had told me that "in the old days", the river used to flood like that all the time.  Funny how the tails grow taller through the years.
    The rains actually ended as snow Monday night and I picked up about an inch before it ended.  I heard reports of up to about 2" down in the higher elevations in the area, which is not surprising.  It was really coming down for a while, but much of it was melting in my area because temps were still warm.  After taking the garbage out in the snow, I did manage to snap a shot of the snow, just as it was beginning to accumulate and as the sun was giving up the last of it's rays.  It's weird, even though I am excited for the warm weather of summer to come and enjoy all that it brings, it was still neat to see the flakes flying.  Areas east of us really had a topsy turvy day, with temps climbing into the 70's by midday and then snow falling about 6 hours later.
    Yesterday was a beautiful day, with crystal clear, blue skies.  Temps in the low 50's and a light wind.  Today is even better, we are getting ready to rise above the 60 degree mark for the first time since the second day of November 2000 and by the weekend we have an excellent chance of climbing into the 70's.  I will love that.  My car is dying to get cleaned inside and out, my front lawn can use some raking and then some laying in the sun will be a good idea too.  Of course, the hounds might enjoy a walk on the beach and a swim in the big lake.  Basically anything that can be done outside will be.  It will also be nice to open the windows and bring in some new air.  My windows have been shut since about the beginning of October.
    So the excitement is beginning to grow about the warm weather coming.  I do some forecasting for the local radio station and ever since I have been talking about the potential for some 60's and 70's to enter into the region, the people I run into are smiling at me instead of cursing my forecast.  It's fun to be a weather guy when you have good news to bring.
    About the only other thing I have to share with you all is a shot of the Laurium Glacier.  It is still holding it's own and looks like it has a couple of weeks left in it.  The 60's, 70's and sunshine will do a lot to shrink it, but there is a lot of snow there and the last bits of it end up in the shade for most of the day, so those last bits really hang around for a while.  I think I will loose the contest with my date of May 5th.  Until next time...
Good afternoon from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 22, 2001-
    Do not adjust your computer screen, this is a back to back journal event!  Lots to share with you today so I will get right to it.  I have 17 pictures to show, so today will be more of a slide show than a text presentation.  Julie, the Hounds and I took off in my Blazer to do some exploring of the high water everywhere up here.  The high water is really mostly due to all the rain we have picked up in the past two weeks.  Sure the snow has been melting too and that has added to the stream flow, but we have had 4.13" of rain since April 7th.  Our average for that time frame should have been 0.90" so we have picked up 459% of average.  That's a lot of rain.  Just to make sure the streams do not go down any, it has started to rain and we look to pick up another inch overnight.
    Our first journey did not take us far from home.  About 3 blocks from my house is a place where the snowmobile trail runs along the Traprock River.  I have walked along it many times and have shown pictures of the trail and the river many times as well.  Things are muddy out there so I decided to take the truck out there and not bother trying to walk.  When I got to a spot that the hounds usually use as a swimming hole, I could not believe my eyes.  The Traprock River was inches from overflowing it's banks on our side and had over flown it's banks on the other side.  Here is a shot of the river today, with a shot of the same spot taken back this past November underneath.  There was a lady walking her dog out there when we drove up and she told us that last night the river had overrun it's banks on the side we were on and was threatening some houses about a quarter mile away (and in the direction of my house).  My house is about 5-10 feet higher than the rivers banks on our side, so I am not too worried.  YET!  Here is another shot of the river a little further up stream.  We could not drive any further up the trail, as it was underwater by a few feet.  I really am not too worried, as our weather does look to take a dramatic turn for the better by the end of this coming week (that goes for the entire Midwest too).  We look like we will be enjoying lots of sun and temps in the 60's and maybe even 70's.  That will help to bring these rivers down a lot as most of the snow is now gone, at least down here.  There is still about a foot on the ground in Keweenaw County.
    After surveying the flooded Traprock, we headed up to the Hungarian Falls.  These falls are some of the prettiest up here, I think.  The only problem is that in the summer and fall, they can almost be dry.  Another problem is that the lowest falls (there is the upper, middle and lower falls) do not present a good place to view them unless you are equipped with mountain climbing gear and know how to repel.  I have tried to get to some better vantage points with the hounds last summer, but after some near falls down a very steep hillside and lots of getting dirty, I still did not get the view I was looking for.  Anyway, the upper and middle falls provide excellent viewing locations and I got some good shots of them.  Again, my jaw hit the ground when we got to them, I just could not believe the volume of water going through.  Here is a shot of the upper falls.  Keep in mind that I have been there when you can hold out your hand and catch the few drops of water trickling over them in the summer or fall if it has been dry.  Here is a shot just a bit closer that Julie took, I like how she framed them the trees.
    The upper falls are a little bit distance from the middle and lower falls, especially when it is cold and wet and someone in our group is still a bit of a gimp, so we got back in the truck and drove down to a place that is near the middle falls.  The hounds always scare the heck out of me whenever go to this area.  They like to run right up to the edges of the drop off's and look over.  I do mean run.  They stop just in time, but it scares the heck out of me every time!  Here is a shot of the middle falls as seen from above.  There will be more of the middle falls in a bit, but next is the lower falls.
    The lower falls are the largest, at least in vertical drop.  I would have to guess that they are about 100 feet from top to bottom, maybe a bit more.  Not as big as the Douglas Houghton falls, but still a good drop for the Midwest.  As I have said, these falls do not provide a real good vantage point, as there are a lot of trees in the way of the view and the sides of the canyon that the river dumps into are just about straight down the full 100 feet.  I have hiked up the river bed and seen the falls from down there.  It is an excellent way to see them, but with the water levels today, you would end up in the Torch Lake after one step into the river.  I did manage to find a spot that gave me almost a full view of the falls, so I snapped this shot.  There is also a spot that you can get to and take a shot of the water as it begins to go over the cliff, that is where this shot was taken.  Some turbulent water, Eh?
    I did promise that there would be some more shots of the middle falls, and I do keep my promises, so here is one taken with some snow in the foreground.  Here is one taken a little closer in.  To lend some perspective to their size, Julie snapped a shot of yours truly in front of the falls.  Julie thought that it might impress you all to show you what I had to get down to take those shots, so she took a shot of the path we took to get down.  Not bad for breaking the leg less than 3 months ago huh?  Not even the hounds felt comfortable going down it, they stayed up top!  Julie really likes to take shots of me (I don't know why?!) so I posed for her one last time.  And that does it for the Hungarian Falls for this time.
    We had to head south into Houghton and I have been meaning to take an interesting shot.  Interesting from the standpoint that it shows how effective the new snowmaking equipment on Mount Ripley was this year.  In past years, the ski hill was the first to loose it's snow "on the sunny side" (that's what Hancock likes to call itself as it gets more sun that Houghton).  Now it is the only place with snow left on the sunny side.
    After our midday errands were done, we decided to head up to see the mouth of the Tobacco River.  The drive took us past Rice Lake.  I was surprised to see it completely free of ice, as it had a solid sheet of ice on it just about a week ago.  It was also very high, as high as I have ever seen it.  We got to the Tobacco, and once again, it was a sight to behold with the raging waters.  This is usually a river that has a decent volume of water going through it, even in the low water times.  Today it was cranking.  Were you able to see the guy fishing on the left hand side below the bridge?  The water was traveling about 25-30 MPH through that bridge opening, so I don't think that he had any luck.  Any fish swimming there was likely a bit too busy to stop for a bite to eat. Here is a shot of the rapids taken from near the bridge.  I wish that I had been able to put Julie in the shot to lend some perspective, but anyway, the rapids there were about 4-5 feet high.
    On our way back through Gay we happened along some locals out foraging.  I am not sure which was more entertaining, seeing the deer only about 20 feet from the car, or watching Burt and Baileys go nuts wishing that they could get out of the car and play a game of chase with them.  Outside of Gay a little bit, the Gay-Mohawk road was half underwater, as the Tobacco had flooded swamp really good and the water was covering half of the road.  Sorry, I did not get a shot of that, but thought it was interesting enough to bring up.
    So that was our adventures today.  As I was typing this out, several Ask John's came in and they all complimented me on the shots of yesterday.  Thanks and it really made me excited to share today's picks and stories with you all.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 21, 2001-
    Today can easily be described using one word...WET.  It was raining when I woke up, it was raining when I ate breakfast, lunch, it was raining when I went to the store and even when the hounds and I went exploring in the car.  It is about 6 PM and it is still raining.  Not even drizzle or light rain, but moderate to heavy rain most of the day.  I did take advantage of the cruddy weather and my healing leg to get some housework done.  It is so nice to be able to get around with no problems.  Almost seems strange.  I kept looking at the radar and outside, hoping for a break in the rain so I could take the hounds for a quick walk around the neighborhood, but mother nature just never cooperated.  Once most of the inside chores were done, the hounds and I headed down to Houghton to take care of some shopping.  After that was done, we went home, had lunch and decided to damn the weather and go exploring anyway.  Of course, we did stay in the car for most of our adventures this afternoon, but still, we were about the only ones out there.
    The adventure started out heading up the Traprock Valley.  With all the rain we have had and the melting snow, the creeks and rivers are really high.  Here is a shot of the Traprock River in full flood stage.  It is at least 6-8 feet higher than it normally is and any higher and it will not be able to fit underneath the bridge!  That is a brand new bridge too, they just re did it last fall.  The other way up that part of the valley was actually closed because it was underwater.  The main Valley Road is ok, with just some standing water in spots.  But man, is there the water running everywhere.  I would have to say that if areas are not flooded now, they will never flood.  The NWS has actually posted a flood watch for tonight and tomorrow, with the prospect for more heavy rain in that period.  I would have to say that we picked up at least 1.5" of rain, maybe more today alone.
    I then decided to keep heading north into the "Keweenaw".  That is the term my friends in Lake Linden use to describe Keweenaw County.  To me the Keweenaw is areas from about Twin Lakes north, but I guess it's just an exercise in rhetoric.  Anyway, we headed up the Valley, then through Copper City, Mohawk and Phoenix.  The Cliff View must have been giving something away, as the parking lot was a crowded as I have ever seen it by far.  There was actually no place to park!  I should have stopped in to see what was up, but had the hounds with me and I hate to have to have them sit in the car.  We turned off of 41 and followed 26 down towards Eagle River.  The Eagle River was really cranking as well.  There is a spot on the way down to Eagle River from Phoenix where the Eagle River goes over a set of falls.  I parked the car and walked in to see the falls.  They were not much of a falls anymore, as there was so much water going through, the 8-10 foot drop was only about 5 feet.  For kayak fanatics, there were some gnarly class 5 rapids on that river today.  When the water is low in the summer and fall, I can actually walk across the river at that point.  Today it was about 4-5 feet deep, with 3-4 foot standing waves and water moving about 20-30 mph.  It was almost scary to be standing next to it, knowing that one wrong step could lead to a fall into the river and certain death.  That is why I left the hounds in the car for that shot.  Normally when we go there, we all go and are able to explore the river.  Here is a shot looking up stream.
    Further downstream, the river heads into the town of Eagle River and there is a set of falls that is quite photogenic.  Usually there is just sort of a gentle flow water going over them and I have actually seen it when there is little water actually going over the falls.  That was not quite the case today.  In fact, the falls were quite impressive, thunderous actually.
    After driving through the town of Eagle River, the next destination was the Jacobs Creek Falls.  Now this is truly a set of falls that needs to be seen early in the warm season, as I have been through and seen folks climbing up nothing but some wet rocks.  There was no climbing up the Jacobs Creek falls today.
    I was really feeling sorry for the hounds.  They were cooped up in the house all day because of the rain and then were stuck in the car because my visits were too wrought with danger or it was raining too hard to let them out.  From the Jacobs Creek falls, I decided to head up to the Great Sand Bay and hope that the rain would let up enough to allow for a walk with them on the beach.  Well, the weather did not exactly cooperate, but the hounds did not mind going out into the rain to play on the beach.  It is funny, they will not leave the house to go outside if it is raining, no matter how badly they need to go to the bathroom.  Yet, get them out on the beach in a pouring rainstorm and they are having a blast!  Of course we had the beach to ourselves.  The cars driving along the road that overlooks the beach must have thought that we were nuts to be out there while it was pouring, but with a fleece jacket underneath a gortex parka, I was as warm and dry as can be and the hounds could care less about the rain.  Their coats kept them warm and dry too.  The sight looking west down the beach was very pretty.  It is neat, even in such a nasty day like today, this place is still breathtakingly beautiful.
    After the Great Sand Bay, we all seemed to think that it was time to head back, so we drove up to Eagle Harbor and then took the cut off up to 41 and then back down south to Mohawk, the Valley and eventually Lake Linden.  There was a brief lull in the rain when we got home, so I snapped a shot of the front of my house to show how the snow melt is progressing there.  We're getting there!
    There were two items that I forgot to mention in the previous journal.  The first was that on Tuesday night, there was a dramatic display of the Northern Lights.  I let the dogs out to do their business at about midnight and looked up at the sky and thought my forecast had bombed, as it looked like there were clouds overhead.  It turned out to be a very big display of the Northern Lights.  My digital camera would never pick the up, but they were unique in the aspect that they were directly overhead and even off to the southern horizon a bit.  Usually they are along the northern horizon.  I am pretty sure that if anyone was looking in places like Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit that night, they would have seen them.  The other item of note is that with last weekend's snow, Keweenaw County broke the 300" mark for the season.  I am really glad for that, as 300" sounds a lot more than 297".  Even looks more impressive.  Of course I would have liked for 11 more inches to fall this season, that way I would have guessed the total amount correctly for George's snowfall game.  Oh well, there is always next year!  Not bad though, only 3% off.
    Brian and crew did go riding on Thursday and they sent me some shots from that ride.  Here is one of Todd stuck on a hill.  Here is a shot of Brian shooting up the same hill.  Looks like he made it.  There was even enough snow for one last hill climb.  Or was that the second to last hill climb?  Only time will tell.
    So tomorrow, weather permitting, I am going to try and get over to the Hungarian Falls.  The road up is passable by truck and I really would like to see those falls when the river is cranking.  Plus Julie will be with me so the hounds can some with too.  Stay tuned.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 19, 2001-
    Well, I'm getting better at keeping up with this.  Actually every 2-3 days is about perfect I think.  That way I do not get burned out and still have enough material to write about as well.  I am getting out and about more and more as well, so that will help me to be able to have material.
    Just yesterday, Julie, the hounds and I headed off into the woods to do a little exploring.  When I say a little, I mean a little.  We probably walked about a 1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile into the woods and then turned around.  The footing was a little tricky so that is why I could not last too long.  I am using a cane to get around on longer walks, but around the house I do not use anything.  My objective yesterday was to take you into the woods and show you the snowmobile trail.  When we arrived at the place where I would park and we could head in, a truck had beat us to it and had dug some deep ruts in the snow.  That made it too hard for me to walk through, so we went in search of a new place.  I ended up on a trail that is a "locals only" trail.  By that I mean that I think that only locals know about it because it really does not hook up with any of the DNR trails and does not really hook up with too many places that visitors to this area would want to go.  In any rate, it is very handy for some us to get from one place to another and we used it in a few KSE tours.  No trucks have been down it so we were in luck to do a little exploring.  It still had plenty of snow on it, enough that someone could actually ride on it if they wanted to.  The snow was about a foot deep on the trail and a little deeper in the woods.  Kind of neat pattern created by the snow melting around the trees, Huh?
    The snow has been going fairly quickly though.  All the creeks are still running high.  Low spots are also flooded.  Here is a shot of the hounds checking out one of those flooded low spots.  I still have plans to get to some of the waterfalls.  I really would like to get to the Houghton/Douglass falls, it would be awesome to see with a lot of water going over, but with my leg and the snow down in the woods, that is just not a do able thing.  Julie and I did drive up to the road that goes to the Hungarian Falls.  It is a seasonal road and still has a huge pile of snow in front of it.  The road is actually clear in a lot of spots, so maybe we can hike up to the falls and snap some shots of it.  Two vehicles were parked at the road, so it looks like others have the same idea.  The Dover Creek is still cranking so those falls should be a neat site as well.
    Now, I have a little surprise for you all.  I bet some of you are wondering if there are still people out riding up here.  In fact, I know that some of you are still wondering that, because it was an Ask John question.  Anyway, Brian (of KSE fame) called me this morning to tell me he was out riding yesterday with some friends and they took some shots and would e mail them to me.  So I have some snowmobiling photos to show you.  They did have to trailer to the dropping off point, but still were able to find plenty of snow to play in.  On their trip, they came across a local who is probably hoping that the snow melts quickly so they can find more to eat and do not stick out so much.  That was a Ruffled Grouse.
    As mentioned, they found plenty of snow to play in, even enough to catch a little air.  Here is another in the group attempting to grab some air, but by the looks of his skis (a little uneven), he probably did not like the landing. This jump looks like one that had a happy landing.  The hill climbs were a little thin, especially if they face south or east like this one looks like it did.  But in the woods, there was plenty of snow to play in.  Brian told me that where they were riding, there was still 18-24" down.  Sort of amazing considering that it will be May in just 11 days.
    I have been by the Laurium Glacier quite a bit and it looks like those of you who guessed some pretty late dates will be in pretty good shape.  It almost looks like no snow has melted from it in the past few weeks.  I will take a shot soon, but there looks to still be about 10 feet or more of snow there.  Not much hope of it melting by my May 5th date!
    Today I took a walk around the Lake Linden sands with the hounds.  Most of the snow is gone from that area, so we went around about half of them.  It was quite a walk, over a mile for sure.  The leg held up pretty well and I really can't believe that I am almost back to normal in less than 3 months.  Anyway, the Lake is way down from last year.  In fact, this shot shows the hounds walking in an area that was underwater last year.  The water was right up to the rocks on the left.  The snows that MN and Canada have seen this winter will help to bring it up a little, as will all the rain we have picked up lately, but it is so far down, it will take quite a while to bring back up.
    This Saturday I am going to Marquette with Julie.  She has to take an exam for her teaching stuff and she does not do well driving long distances, so I will be the driver.  The hounds and I will do some exploring and I will bring the camera so that those of you who have not been to Marquette can see it.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 17, 2001-
    A real treat for you all tonight.  I have pictures, a little bit to talk about and last but not least, Julie is going to write a bit.  First a weather report... Where is Spring?  It snowed all day yesterday, accumulated a bit, but then melted.  Today was bright sunshine, but only 37 degrees.  We have had a very pronounced absence of any warm temps, but still the snow has managed to melt fairly fast.  That leads me to my next topic, some shots around the hood.
    I have been getting out and taking walks around the neighborhood with the hounds.  Took one this morning and then another this evening with Julie.  I brought the camera along to highlight some of the changes to the looks of things around here since the snow has melted quite a bit.  All the snow is gone from my back yard, except for the piles created by shoveling off the roof.  There is still snow in the front yard.  It was my guess that by about this date all the snow would be gone from the front yard, but it is still 2-3 feet deep in a few spots, especially up against the house, where the sun does not reach as much.  But it is a huge difference from just over a month ago.
    Even in spots where the snow was hanging on just 2 weeks ago, now there is little.  For a little intermission of the snow melt tour, here is a shot of me standing, unaided, with the hounds.  Speaking of the hounds, they seem to be doing better (knock on wood).  I was afraid that Baileys was coming down with whatever ailed Burt, but maybe they were just false alarms, heightened by my over reactions.  They did great on both walks and I am feeling better about things.
    Now back to the snow tour... I said that the snow was basically gone from my whole backyard, except for where it was piled up from being shoveled off the roof.  The snow station looks kind of lonely out there without the snow.  That also is a far cry from what things looked like just over a month ago.  Even the good old Weber grill is free from it's snowy encasement.
    Julie made fun of me making such a big deal of my fence being buried, so I had to drag here out there to take a shot of me posing by it.  The AL Cam has become quite a popular item with visitors to the site, so I decided to take a "behind the scenes" shot of it.
    So even with the lack of any real warm temps, the strong April sun and close to 3" of rain in the past 2 weeks have combined to really eat away at that deep snowpack.  I plan to get out into the woods soon to take some shots of things out there.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow.  Julie is coming up to see me and maybe we can do some woods walking after my PT.  Don't worry, there are still waterfall shots coming, I just need to find a spare moment.  PT shoots most of my free time on M,W,F so maybe this Thursday.
    Now I will leave you with Julie for a bit...
    Hey ya'll - it's Julie (I guess I should use my true yooper accent and say, "Hey yous guys", but I'm an English teacher now and have to use Standard English - right!?)  I've been sitting here in John's office as he looks back at his pictures from March and he's truly amazed at how there can be so much snow and then it all goes.  You can tell he's just a rookie yooper.  Us veterans of 300+ inches of snow year after year, know that no matter what - it goes.  I'll never forget, though, the time that a guy from Texas called into the local radio station and asked if it all melted by August.  I, for one, am glad to see it go.  I was getting tired of shoveling it and driving in it.  I have to drive about 20 minutes to my school everyday (I know you city folk think that's nothing, but in a town where the maximum ETA is 7 minutes, that's a long time) and I have been really enjoying dry and what I consider safer roads.  I also love this time of year because the sun comes up so early in the morning.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to sleep through it's rise above the horizon, but if I have to get up, I like it to be light out.
    Turns out that I have only 13 more days of getting up early for school.  I am done student teaching on May 4 and I graduate on May 12.  Sometimes I can't believe it.  There were lots of times when I wasn't sure if this day would ever come or that it was sure taking a long time.  Of course when I look back on it all - the time has flown by.  I am going to miss school.  There is going to be some celebrating though.  3 other gals and I are going to participate in a long time tradition at Michigan Tech called "Senior Walk"  At about 2 in the afternoon on May 4th graduating seniors do a pub crawl through the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock.  It's so much fun cuz there's hundreds of students all over the place and everyone is in a great mood.  And amazingly, for two little towns, there are a ton of bars.  I'm figuring we'll be hitting well over a dozen.  This ought to be a real experience for me, especially since I rarely drink and I'm much older than the normal graduating senior.  I'm hoping that I'll do this smart, but you know how things go when you've got a few Margaritas in ya - well, at least I know how they go with me.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I think I'll be happy if I make it over the bridge.
    I should give this back to John now.  He's going to try to give you some more before and after pictures, but when I took over there was some swearing going on...I'm sure he'll figure everything out.  He's just hobbled back to the office, unsure of what I've said about him.  Actually, he hardly hobbles at all anymore.  He's doing so well and really working out his leg.  He's going to be back to new in no time.  I bet by the beginning of May and the end of his PT, we'll hardly notice any difference in his walk at all.  It's amazing how far he's come - it's amazing how that time has gone by.  To think it was over 10 weeks ago now.  Talk to you soon everyone - Julie
    I'm back.  I am thinking on lending my crutches to Julie for the "Senior Walk".  What she did not tell you about is that about an hour after the walk is over, they have the "Senior Puke".  I'll be sure to miss that part.  Anyway, I am happy that she is finishing up, but I don't know about the "I'm going to miss school" part.  Personally, I could not wait to get the heck out of school for good, but to each their own.
    As Julie said, I am walking almost like a normal human being.  I have a week and a half of PT left and I think that I will be pretty much ready to be done with it by that time.  It has not been too bad.  Some hard work at times, but I have had worse.  I do not recommend breaking your femur, but I really expected worse from such a major breakage.
    Well, it is about 9 PM, the sun is setting and it looks like as good a time as any to end another entry.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 14, 2001-
    I am making a habit out of apologizing for not being more diligent in my writings.  Things have been a little hectic in the past few days.  Burtie gave me a little scare.  He developed some problems with his digestive track and at one point had blood included in what was coming out of him.  I am not one to panic, in fact, I usually perform better under pressure.  However, I went into a full stage panic when I saw the blood.  That is really such an unnerving thing to see, especially when you are not expecting it.  So I remembered to breathe again and got my wits about me and took him to the vet.  The only problem with that was our vet is in Marquette, 2 hours away.  There is a vet in Houghton and I would have taken him there if the other vet thought it was wise to do so, but they told me that it would be all right to take him on the 2 hour trip to Marquette.  Now I have a question... Why is it that when you are in a hurry to get somewhere, you always get stuck behind someone driving slow?  Julie said she would accompany me to the vet and on the way down to her place from Lake Linden, I got behind someone doing 35-40 in a 55 MPH zone.  To make matters worse, I was about car 5 behind him, so there was no way to pass.  So here I am, already a wreck worrying about poor Burt, knowing that we have 2 hours of driving ahead of us and not 5 minutes into the trip we are stuck behind this incompetent slug driving 15-20 MPH slower than the posted limit and the roads were not even bad.  At first I just tried to calm myself down, then tried to use some kind of mental telepathy to push his foot down on the accelerator a bit.  When none of that worked, images of whipping out a rocket propelled grenade and blowing the car to pieces started to enter into my mind.  Thankfully we came to a point where he went one way and we went the other, so I was done with him, but my nerves were a bit more frazzled.
    We got to the vet and they gave him a good checking, x-rays, blood tests...the works.  None of them gave any clear indication of what was causing the problem, so we came to the conclusion that he just caught a bug and that was upsetting his system.  The vet gave him something to settle his stomach and help slow down the digestive process and he has made a good recovery in that department.  However, today I felt his ears and they were twice as thick as they normally are and were hot too.  I called the vet and she explained that he was probably battling an ear infection when he caught the bug that upset his stomach, so with the two of them, both infections got out of hand.  I am cleaning his ears and praying that he is all back to normal very soon.  I can tell that he does not feel too good, the poor guy is just so sluggish and just spends a lot of time laying around.
    So that is my excuse this time.  Plus there continues to be a distinct absence of things to write about.  The snow is really melting quickly.  My back yard is almost totally free of snow except for the piles caused by shoveling off the roof.  However, even those are only about 2 feet high, down from their 8-10 foot depth at the height of the winter.  We have also had a ton of rain.  A months worth in the past week alone.  That combined with the snow melt has the creeks, streams and rivers really cranking.  Locals all say that they are higher than they have been in many, many years.  Some of them are downright dangerous if you were to fall into them.  The Tobacco River near Gay looks like some raging tempest in the Rockies or something.  The road between Tamarack City and Mason had about a foot of water rolling across it the other day due to the water pouring off the hills above.
    This is also the time when some of the fish species head up stream to spawn.  I can't imagine them being able to get through some of the spots on these rivers, but they do.  The frogs have not begun to chirp, so the smelt are not running yet, but I can't imagine it being too much longer.
    The canal is opening up.  It is open at the bridge and remains open about a half mile in either direction.  The other day when I was driving by the canal, I saw an almost erie sight.  A large piece of ice was floating in the middle of the canal and across it were a few snowmobile tracks.  The tracks were made this winter when the canal was "safe" to ride on, but it just looked spooky to see snowmobile tracks lead up the waters edge and then disappear.
    I do promise to get to some waterfalls and snap some shots.  The unfortunate thing is that most of them are still blocked by some pretty deep snow in the woods (over a foot still) and the only ones that I can get to are a bit of a drive, but I will get there in the coming days I promise.
    Today the hounds and I took our first real walk since the accident sidelined me at the beginning of February.  I have been on some short walks with Julie and the hounds and do not mean to make light of them, but today's walk was more like what we are used to.  We went and explored the Lake Linden sands.  The snow is gone from the shoreline and we were able to walk for quite a distance.  I am able to walk without the aid of crutches and have almost no limp.  However, for the longer walks like the one this morning I use a cane.  I would imagine that even the cane will be ditched in the next week or two.  It is just so nice to be able to walk around the house with no device needed to aid me, you cannot even believe it.  I still have a lot of work to get it back to the way it was before the break, but things are progressing very well.
    I'm going to close with a big thank you.  I got a surprising and great e mail from Dan's Polaris.  They said that there had been some money given to them for me.  I did not understand, but not being one to walk away from money given to me, I headed over to see what this was all about.  It turns out that a fund was established by a visitor to the site to help get me new bibs to ride in since the ones I was wearing had to be cut off.  I had no idea that this was going on and I was just amazed that someone would take the initiative to do this and that there would be responses.  It really makes me feel so good inside that there are such nice people out there and so caring.  Not just because they were so nice to me, but because they would do it for anyone that they cared about.  Personal thank you's will be on their way to each and every one of you, but I wanted to say thank your here.  I am sorry that I did not thank you sooner, but I just learned of all of this a few day's back.  I'll be sure to post a picture of me sporting my new bibs as soon as I get them.  Hang in there though, it may be a few months down the road until I get them.
    Well, it looks as though I have come to the close of another journal entry.  It does feel good to have spring here and in a month or so, things will feel more like summer.  We could still have some bouts of cold weather, maybe even a few flakes of snow as deep as into June, but by the middle of May, more days feel like summer than any other season.  The shorts will be getting dusted off soon.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 10, 2001-
    I have been sitting here for a few minutes trying to think of some things to write about and all I have come up with is a strong case of writers block.  I am a bit tired and do have a lack of material.  I guess I can talk about the weather!  We continue to thaw things slowly up here.  That is actually good because it has kept things from getting too messy.  I really feel for the folks in western MN and the eastern Dakotas with their flooding problems.  That is really a mess.  I have only had seepage at my house and with a lot of the snow gone, things should not get too bad.
    All the creeks are really running good now.  I wish I could get to see some of the waterfalls, a bet they are really a sight.  I saw the creek that feeds the Houghton Falls and it was really flowing.  That is one waterfall that I would like to see with a good flow of water going over it.  With a little more melting, I should be able to get up to the Hungarian Falls with the truck, so maybe that will be the first display.  I could get over to the Haven Falls or the Jacobs Creek Falls by car, but that just seems too easy.  The slow way things are melting up here, I may not be able to get up the mouth of the Montreal until June!  Of course for that one I need to have my leg going strong as well.
    Speaking of the leg, it is coming along pretty good.  I am working it twice a day at home and PT is also giving it a good workout.  I am walking on it fairly regularly and have almost done away with the limp.  I would suspect that in another week to ten days I will be able to get around pretty good and that will mean some regular walks with the dogs.  It is just amazing to me how fast things are moving.  Today I went into the "Ask John" and read some of the old posts from when the injury just happened.  I could remember how bad things were when I first got home, not even being able to move it without being in severe pain.  8 weeks later I am just waiting for the leg to be able to hold it's own like a regular leg would.
    Another thing I did a day or so ago was to look back at some of the pictures of when the snow was deepest up here.  I can't believe how deep is was.  It is funny, when you watch it pile up all season, by the time it is really, really deep, it does not seem like it is that deep.  Now that I have seen it melt and look back, I am amazed at how much we had up here.  Actually, I am amazed at how much is still down.  I need to get out and take some shots because my back yard does not do things justice.  Almost half of it is bare, while in the woods, there is still at least 2 feet down.  I bet in spots up north in Keweenaw County, there is even more than that.
    Speaking of snow melting, I talked about the Laurium Glacier in the last journal.  It was brought up to me that that item used to be the source of a contest with locals up here.  It seems that a contest was made out of when all the snow from that area would be gone every year.  The person who used to have the contest is no longer with us, so it was brought up to me that I should resurrect it.  I don't have the time to manually collect all the guesses, but if you want to go to the Ask John and look under the "Laurium Glacier" post, you can leave your guess there and the one who is closest to the date will win a little prize.  I do not know what that will be, but I will come up with something unique to the area, maybe Julie can help me with that end of things.  I think that my guess will be May 5th, a very special persons birthday!
    I am getting sleepy and think that I will wrap it up.  About the only thing I have left is a pic that Julie took of me and Baileys on the couch relaxing yesterday evening.  Isn't she a cutie?  She just has to be by me all the time and is laying at my feet as I type this.  She's daddy's little girl, that is for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 7, 2001-
    I'm starting this on Saturday, but I am afraid that I will have to finish it on Sunday.  It is about 4 pm and I just got back from having lunch and then doing some shopping with Julie and then going to the beach with the hounds and I have a big date of dinner and a show with Julie which I will be leaving for in about an hour, so we'll see how far I can get today.
    The leg continues to make leaps and bounds, just a figure of speech of course!  However, I do find myself just getting up and walking and totally forgetting about a crutch.  Especially when I am in the house.  I actually lost one for a while and then found it in the garage!  I still need them if I am going to be doing any serious walking (more than 100 feet at a time), but it is nice to even have my conscience not worry the leg.
    I took the hounds out on the snowmobile trail yesterday.  I was really surprised at things out there.  Here is a shot of the trail 3 looking south from near Gas Plant Rd.  Just so that you don't think that I took a shot of the best looking part of the trail, here is a shot taken 180 degrees in the opposite direction looking towards the road.  As I took that I was thinking to myself, "man here we are a few days into April and these conditions are better than some places in the Midwest see all winter!  Now of course, all of the trails are not like that, but as I have said in previous journals, the conditions of the trails in the woods are still good.
    Not only is there still snow, but what I was walking on is very dense snow.  It was about 45 degrees and the sun was out, but I could walk right across and even use my crutches on the snow, it was that dense.  I decided to see if I could tell how much snow was still on the trail and managed to get a crutch in to where it hit solid ground, I think.  The depth there was 18".  So at least in some spots, we have 18" of base left!  Man o man, a two week cold snap and maybe I could still ride.  Naw, I'm not even going to consider it.
    As I sit here and type, we just had our first thunderstorm pass over Lake Linden.  I heard thunder and it poured rain for about 5 minutes then stopped.  We have had a bit of rain, most of it came from about 3 am until about 11 am.  However, it is still in the mid 30's and very overcast, with fog in some spots.  Not a very beautiful day at all.  However, it is still very possible to find beauty up here on a day like this.  Of course, what you did not experience in that shot was the 25-30 mph winds and 30 degree temps.  A wee bit chilly, but I dressed right and was comfortable.  The hounds even cooperated and gave me the first beach photo op of the season.  They had a blast, running and chasing each other and even taking a tumble into Lake Superior.  Did not even phase them in the least.  They sure come well equipped for the elements.
    Today was not a very good day for a picnic at the beach and I suppose that based on this shot, we need to wait a while longer to do any picnicking anyway!  One interesting side not is that there were some old snowmobile tracks that ran right up to the table and then continued on the other side, which means that someone rode right over it this winter and did not even know that it was there in all likely hood.  Lots of things are being uncovered.  My weber grill can actually be distinguished as that, the car across the street has snow melted down to it's door handles and even the north side of my back yard is free of snow.  Due in part to the fact that I did keep an area clear for the dogs with the snow thrower up until my leg break, and also due to the fact that the pine trees there do not let the snow pile up as much.  In those areas, there is also lots of things being uncovered, which would just as well stay buried!  I am on top of things, got a pooper scooper at Wally World today.
    I see that I have just enough time to wrap this up and get it all loaded in before I head off for my date and since I am out of pictures and anything real interesting to say (unless you all want to hear more about the dogs poop), then I may as well call it a day and end it here.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 5, 2001-
    For Sale: One used pair of crutches, excellent condition, only used 8 weeks.  Solid aluminum construction, genuine rubber hand grips and arm pads.  Stainless steel ice picks.  All reasonable offers considered.
Yep, I'm walking on my own.  Well, most of the time anyway.  I still use one or sometimes both crutches if I have far to go, but I have been using the leg for what it was meant to do for 2 days now and it feels good, really good.  One thing that I think escapes most folks is that when a person has a leg out of commission and is on crutches, while walking, so are their hands.  One of the biggest problems with my crutches is the fact that I could not really carry anything while I was walking.  Not unless it fit into my mouth or could be carried on a strap by a free finger.  This has complicated things in the kitchen the most.  How do you carry things from the fridge to the counter, or from the counter to the oven or a plate of food to the table?  I invented many different techniques, but all were awkward and time consuming.  It is so nice to be able to carry things again!  I don't think I will be totally free of my crutches for another week or so, but every day I use them less and less.
    Part of the reason for my ability to use the leg to walk on has been time and the body's ability to heal itself (with the help of an orthopedic surgeon), but the other part has been my physical therapy.  When I started, it did not seem like I was doing much.  Sitting in a tub and moving my legs around, but then I started to walk in there, letting the buoyancy of the water take weight off the leg.  So that when I came time for the real thing, the leg was basically ready.  I still need to get a lot of strength back and the PT has moved from the tub to dry land and it has gotten a lot harder.  I was really pushing it the last time and was really worn out too.  I miss the tub, but I also know that what I am doing now is progressing me along very well.  So slowly but surely my life is returning to normal.
    We continue to slowly melt off our deep snowpack.  I have to say that what you see in the AL Cam is not a true representation of what most places still have.  My yard is exposed to the sun almost all day and melts off a lot quicker than other areas.  An example of that sits just across the street from me where an old station wagon lays still buried in the snow.  That shot was actually taken on Tuesday, but we have not lost that much snow since then.  It also sits in the shade for most of the day, that is why there is so much snow there.  I ran into Brian today and he said that he had gone for a ride earlier today.  He also said that there is still plenty of snow in the woods and I believe him.
    I took the hounds for a walk on the road we went to last Saturday.  I took this shot just to show how much snow is still in the woods there.  It looked to be about 2-3 feet.  I bet it is even deeper in areas around and to the north of Mohawk.  Looking at that pic, it is easy to see why good snow play could be had if you knew where to go.  The main problem, other than not knowing where to go, is to know where the creeks and wet spots are.  Here is Burt and Baileys heading off to see one of the wet spots.
    The creeks are all coming alive.  Just driving down 26 from Lake Linden to Hancock, you will pass no less than a half dozen creeks coming down the hills, each making it's own set of waterfalls.  In another week or so I may have to try and get to some of the bigger ones to snap some shots of them in their prime.  I can't believe I am making plans to do some exploring, man is that great!
    One area that will have snow for a long time is a spot I like to call the Laurium Glacier.  It is just outside the town of Laurium, heading down the road towards Lake Linden.  It is a spot where a huge drift forms and then is protected from the sun for most of the day.  To help explain how big that drift is, the pine tree directly in front of the drift, on the left hand side of that shot stand about ten feet higher than the snow it is in.  It was the last place that I know of that still had snow last year.  I can't even begin to imagine when it will be gone this year.  Probably not until later in May.  I keep you all updated.
    So with all this snow, what do the trails look like.  Well, the ones between Hancock and Dollar Bay have no snow on them.  Here is a shot of the trail #3 up by my house.  It was taken where the trail crossed a stamp sand road, so that is why it looks to dirty.  About 100 yards down the trail, the snow was a lot more white.  Not pristine, but still way different from where this picture was taken.  I suppose that it does not really matter, they are not being groomed and some are even closed now, but I bet there were at least a few of you wondering what they looked like.  Tomorrow the hounds and I may even take a hike down one to snap some long needed shots of the real woods up here.
    A regular to the site sent me a shot the AL Cam took while a bird was visiting.  She brought up the idea of putting a bird feeder there and I think that would be great.  I will be dismantling the snow station as soon as all the snow is gone, but a summer bird feeder would be neat and provide something to look at when the snow is not flying.  My only concern is that if I start feeding them now, will they depend on the food in the winter?  I do not think that I could keep a feeder stocked all winter long, as I do go away for the holiday's and also do not want to worry about having to keep a path cleared to it.  So, I know that I have visitors to my site who know a lot about this topic than I and I would appreciate hearing from all of you on my concern.  I know that if it goes dry for a period in the summer, there is plenty of other food for them to eat (the UP is not lacking for insects in the summer).  Hope to hear from all of you birding experts!
    I guess that will do it for today.  I think that with my leg starting to function, I will be able to get out and about more and the updates to the journal will hopefully become more frequent.  Hopefully.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
April 2, 2001-
    The season is officially over.  The trails were "closed" Sunday, as we changed the calendar to April.  I say closed, because some areas can still be used by motorized vehicles and can be all year long.  The only thing is that you need to know where they are.  Most areas off limits will either have gates closed or will be posted, so if you are still planning to come up, please respect the private property owners who are gracious enough to let us use their lands in the winter.  As far as enough snow, there is enough snow in a lot of places.  Not necessarily the main trails, but the woods still has a ton of snow.
    Actually for most areas outside of the lake effect snow belts of the UP, there is still a ton of snow in my back yard.  It is melting, but the fence is really a fence again and even my weber grill is starting to be exposed.  Here is a shot of Burt checking out the strange object buried in the snow.
    I am glad for the spring weather we are getting too.  It has slowed the death threats way down.  As if I can actually control the weather!  Just kidding, I did not receive any death threats, but there were rumors floating around that some folks might be wanting to break my other leg if it did not stop snowing soon.  I actually am glad for the end of winter.  As much as I love snow, I also love the change of seasons and I am ready for the change.  I am not sick of the snow, or snow in general, it is just time.  Time to allow the snow to go, the grass to green and eventually the trees to fill out and provide the shade from the summer sun.  I am ready to stroll the beaches of the Keweenaw with the hounds and now, Julie too.  We got to take in a few walks before winter started.  Actually, one walk, on our second walk on the beach, winter was slamming us in the face with snow squalls and 25 MPH winds out of the north.  I am also looking forward to some bonfires on the beach now that I have someone to do it with.
    So now we wait, wait for the snows to leave the beaches and woods and for things to dry out enough to allow the exploration that we love to do.  The roads are all clear and dry too, which does provide for some walks.  My leg is doing well enough that I can go for some walks with Julie and the hounds. I still need the crutches, for a few more days at least, but I am putting full weight on it beginning today and that allows me to walk a lot further.  On Saturday we took advantage of that and headed off to the north shore to do some walking "in the woods".  That is a road that Lake Superior Land Co. put in to develop the lake shore there.  There has not been much development yet, so it is still a great road to be able to walk down without any car traffic.  Lots of deer though.
    I am going to have to finish this up soon, as I have to get ready to go to physical therapy and then down to Julie's for dinner.  I am sitting here watching the Cubs home opener and it looks like another great season for them...Only 2 pitches have been thrown and they are already loosing 2-0.  Oh brother.
    Sorry this has been so short, but things are still really busy in my life.  The physical therapy Mon, Wed and Fri basically takes up most of my afternoon and then the evenings have been busy as well.  Things will settle down some and I will be able to spend more time on this.  Plus, I should be getting around more and more and maybe some pics of the real woods will be showing up soon.  Julie's spring break is next week so maybe we can use that time to do some exploring.
Good afternoon from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
 
 
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