February 29- Mother nature
tried to do a number on my spirits today, as readings shot into the mid
to upper 50's again. Little did she know that I can't be shaken any
more. Truth is, I have given up on winter, even here in the Keweenaw.
Sure we will likely see more snow. Maybe even tomorrow, but I seriously
doubt that anything serious or long lasting is in the cards. All
the models point to more warm air by the weekend and into all of next week.
The snow cover in my neighborhood took another serious hit today, with
the sunshine and warm temps. I am now down to 6" on the ground, but
lots of bare spots are opening up all over the place.
I decided to take a
ski at the location I want to ride tomorrow or Thursday. Took the
camera along as well as my trusty companions. Lots of pretty snow
to show so stay tuned. On the ride out, I was actually able to open
the sun roof and windows and did not even get cold. It sure felt
warmer than the 56 we got to. Even the Harbor reported temps of 52
Anyway, we got to the
site, strapped on the skis and headed out. I am going to keep this
location a secret for the time being, as I do not want to be run out of
town by an angry mob of locals for giving away all the "hidden" spots.
Truth is, this spot is not so hidden, as a fairly major road does go by
it. However, most visitors would not take this road or even know
that this spot was there. It is not marked on the road either.
Only a logging road going
off into the woods. As you can see, there is still a decent cover
out there and the snow is very fresh. I would estimate the snow depth
to be about 6-8" on average and it is very hard packed, dense snow.
With the cooler temps tomorrow and Thursday, it will freeze up very nicely.
The trick will be to convince my friend to take off work like he said he
would and get out there. Anybody got the bug and want to come up
here with a spot on their trailer, I'll take you there for one last ride
of the season! First come, first serve! Be advise, we are not
talking about 50 miles of trail here. Although, I think that there
are a ton of side trails going off this main one and an entire afternoon
could likely be spent riding out there without going over the same spot
but once on the way back.
I really went nuts
with the camera today, as it was so beautiful out there. The
hounds were having a great time as well. It's funny, to look
at these pictures, you would think that it was cold out. But I was
skiing with my jacket tied around my waist and was only wearing a rugby
shirt (and pants, settle down ladies!). I did not even need any gloves,
and sunglasses were a must as well. Here
is another one of the hounds. With their winter coats still on,
they sure were huffing and puffing, trying to cool off. The road
looked like it may have even been plowed earlier in the season, as there
looked to be snow banks on the side of it. If it was plowed, it was
done early in the season, as there was about as much snow on the road as
there was in the woods off of the road. The other thing nice about
this road is that it has good drainage, so there were no wet spots or flooded
We skied out to the
Lake, which will remain unnamed for security purposes. I'll have
to remember this spot during the season, as it would be fun to go out to
with fresh powder. Of course anywhere would be fun with fresh powder
right about now! The lake looked fairly solid, but I did not venture
out onto it. The only spot on the whole trail where there was no
snow was this bridge
crossing. We stopped here and turned around. However, not before
Burt could sneak in the first swim of the season. There was open
water underneath the bridge. I was not able to get a shot of him
taking his dip. Actually, I did not even try, as I knew that a black
dog swimming in dark water in the shadows would not show up very well.
Here is the part of the
river that continued on from where he was swimming. This ends up finding
its way to the big lake, but I wont even say where, as that might give
away too much info. Lets just say that it dumps into the eastern
side of the Keweenaw, somewhere between High Rock Point and Baraga!
That is it for the
pictures. I really hope that I can get in that one last ride.
As it really looks like time is just about up. I would guess that
even out were I was today will be unrideable by next week if the weather
forecast models are right. If my friend wimps out, he's gonna owe
me one big time. I'm not one for just blowing off work for anything,
but he has the kind of job where if he were to call in sick Thursday, his
employer would not really be too impacted at all. The work can get
done the next day. Wish there was a way to put the sled in the trunk
of my Honda Accord!
Guess that will do it for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 28- Well, my spirits
continue to climb out of the gutter. I doubt that they will be fully
restored for a while, but at least I am eating again! Just kidding,
it dod not get that bad, but wasn't too far away either! I had a
little bit of a scare today. Awoke to temps of about 20. They held
there until about 8, then by 9 is was 30 degrees and by about 10 was 37!
I thought: "Oh no, here we go again!". Thankfully, temps topped
out at about 37 and then the clouds rolled in and readings dropped back
to about 33 and are now at about 30. Did not really loose any snow
today. And the stuff that is left was rock hard this morning.
It was weird to be walking on it and not sink in a bit! I kept waiting
to have a foot punch through, but never did.
This afternoon I took
the hounds on a ski. We headed down the #3 trail by my house.
There is a road that I can take and drive right up to the trail.
There was enough snow on the trail to ski, actually enough to ride in most
places as well. A little dirty, but off to the side was fairly clean
and made for a pretty good ski. Here
is a shot of the trail. Many of you might even be able to recognize
the spot. It is about 2 miles north of the main turndown to get into
Lake Linden where the signs for the Loading Zone II are at. You can
also see why I still hold out some hope for these trail. However,
some others I saw today are done, unless we get at least 12" new.
Anyway, back to this trail. Even this one had its bare
spots. Although this is not too bad of a bare spot, as you could
still drive around it.
In the first picture
you can see where the trail takes a turn to the left. It goes up
a hill and connects with another set of RR tracks and then follows that
set of tracks to Laurium or you can go north and head towards Keweenaw
County. Just beyond the turn to the left you can see some fresher
snow. This is where there is still an old railroad grade, but because
some homes have gone in further down it, trail jumps to the the set of
tracks higher up. Once off of the snowmobile trail and into the section
which is still a RR grade, but not all tracked off it was almost like being
in winter again! Lots
of nice, clean, and almost fresh looking snow! It still worked
out great for the hounds as well, as it had been rode on so it was firm,
but still nice and clean. That is one of the things I like the most
about new snow is it's freshness and its ability to make even the dirtiest
or drab landscape look dreamlike. I even liked the look of the big
city after a new snow. At least until the salt and plow trucks and
multitude of vehicles turned it into a blackened mess.
I think that my ski
down this trail was the best medicine I have been able to get in the past
week or so. I might have to return to this spot some more before
it too is all gone. I managed to take one more shot while out there.
It is of a ravine,
where the melt water was rushing down through. All summer and fall,
these ravines were dry and the hounds and I even climbed down into one
and did some exploring. Today it was filled with the sound of sunning
water, as last weeks melted snow continues to find it's way eventually
to the canal and then the Big Lake. I wish the shot had turned out
better, because it was a really pretty view down into the ravine, with
the trees, snow and water. Somehow it looks like the horizontal dimension
got squished. I hope you get the idea anyway.
I'm still holding out
hope for one last ride. I doubt that it will be tomorrow, because
it looks like it will be getting pretty warm tomorrow. Wednesday
I have some business to attend to, but with a little luck, I can convince
my friend with the trailer to take off from work and head out to where
I want to ride. I took a car drive to the drop off point today and
the route I want to take looked just like the good trail did on my ski
today. Could actually turn out to be a very fun ride if we do go.
There have been sightings
of sleds on trailers being hauled north to the tip of the Keweenaw.
I'm sure that those folks are finding snow to ride in, as I have proven
it is still here. Although, the DNR trails I saw today were mostly
mud around Mohawk and Calumet. The Tourism Council says the trails
are still open. That is no lie. Truth is, you could probably
legally drive down most of them on a sled in July if you wanted to as most
of them are not closed to motor vehicle traffic at any time. I have
actually driven my car down some of them this past fall. Hope I am
not incriminating myself here, but it is my understanding that unless it
is posted or gated, the logging roads are open to the public for recreational
use. So when they say that the trails are still open, they do not
lie. The trick is to find a DNR trail that you would WANT to ride
down. Maybe not impossible, as my first two photos show, but the
real riding is off trail now and will likely be for the rest of the year.
Sorry KTC for the truth in advertising statement I just made!
Well, my sump pump
had stopped running, I actually had to zipper up my coat today and wear
gloves. All a step in the right direction. We are rapidly running
out of time. Even thought the average snowfall for the month of March
is 30" or an inch a day, I am not going to hold my breath for an average
March. This has just not been one of those years. I am mentally
preparing myself to do battle with the black flies in May and the first
few weeks of June and actually pictured myself cutting my lawn in a daydream
today. Spring is not likely too far off.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 27- Today was a
touch better for my spirits. I awoke to snowflakes falling.
The snow kept up for most of the morning and into the early afternoon,
although the temps were in the mid 30's so all that fell melted.
I did manage to get out of the house and snap
this shot of the front of my house while it was snowing.
I also managed to strap
on the skis and take the hounds for a little jaunt into the bush.
Even though it was still above freezing and the snow was still soft I thought
that at least I would be able to walk through the snow on the skis.
I was surprised how much I was actually able to ski, even with the soft
snow and warm temps. The hounds had a harder time making their way
in the soft snow. Still over a foot in most places around here and
they sunk up to their chests. That did not seem to deter them as
they were all for a "real" walk, not one of those leashed to dad, go around
the neighborhood on the road ones.
We even were able to
ski from my front yard in an attempt to get to the local ski trail up the
Traprock Valley. About a week and a half ago I wrote how I tried
to blaze a path through the bush from my house to the trail. Here
is a shot of my old tracks from that expedition. That was actually
the easy part of the trail blazing attempt. Nice and open and no
significant hills or gullies. This
shot shows where things got interesting and where all 4 of my dig outs
occurred. Burt is actually standing where the trail took a slight
right turn around the one group of trees and made its way on forward.
I never did get that trail in a shape where I could ski or ride through
it without major difficulty. I am now glad that I did not put forth
too much of an effort to do so, as just about the time I would have had
it done, the thaw would have hit. Maybe that will be a project for
the fall, to clear a path through so when the snow flies, it will be no
problem to get through.
Well, as I said, we
were trying to get to the trail that was created by some locals which heads
up through the valley. I have spoke of this trail in past journal
entries. Our expedition was cut short when we hit the
flood. Yes folks, that mixture of snow, slush and water in the
foreground going from center left to upper right is the snowmobile trail.
It has gotten quite a bit more flooded since yesterday, when this
pic was taken. The route of the local ski trail went through
that mess and then through a field which was even more flooded. Best
I can guess is that an ice jam had the smaller creek all backed up, as
the river (Traprock River) that the creek dumps into was flowing free and
the junction of the two was only about 1/8th of a mile from where the picture
We were able to get
around the flooded section of the trail and then took the snowmobile trail
back to my neighborhood. I discovered that skiing the snowmobile
trail will be the best way to go as I can move along pretty well and the
dogs do not sink down either. Currently the temp is 33 and we should
drop to about the low 20's tonight. That will help to begin to freeze
things up. Most of the week actually looks to provide highs of 34-38,
with lows in the low to mid 20's. That will bring the melting to
I do have plans to
throw my sled on a friends trailer Tuesday and try a ride in the woods.
I'm not going if it is raining and I am also worried about running into
a flooded area like we encountered on my ski today. I really do not
want to have to try and drag my sled through over a foot of slush.
We'll see what happens.
Looks like that will
do it for another day and night.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 26- I am thoroughly
worn out. This has not been an easy week for me. I know I really
should have things checked out upstairs for being such a snow nut, but
am too afraid of what they really might say or do if I did go in!
Today was likely a record breaker in a ton of places in the upper Midwest.
I hit 57 degrees, the airport I believe rose to 56 and I saw some places
in northern WI and northern lower MI flirting with the 60 degree mark.
My worst fears have come true and that was that this weeks thaw would take
things down far enough to make it really hard, if not impossible to ride
the trails, but leave enough snow out there to taunt me and make it too
hard to walk in with the dogs. I know that when this stuff freezes,
I will be able to walk across it like pavement, but most of my walking
will be done in the afternoon and much of the days ahead still look like
they will be spent above freezing, with the time periods from about 5 PM
to 9 or 10 AM below freezing. Guess I will just have to cope and
make due. Life sure has it's up's and down's and right now I sure
am not up.
The weather sure has
been a topic of local conversation. Not too many locals complaining
about things, as they all can do with an early spring, but they all can
never remember this ever happening so early and I have the numbers to back
their memories up.
I did manage to get
out and take a walk on the trail by my house and took the camera along.
The trail I walked was the branch of 122 which goes from it's intersection
with 3 and heads out towards the Maple Leaf Bar and the intersection with
the Dreamland Trail.
I was quite surprised by what is saw and
I do not mean pleasantly surprised. Here
is a shot of a swollen creek from all the snow melt. Normally
this is just a few inches deep and is a little meandering creek, or should
I say crick. The pic was take while standing on a bridge that the
trail crosses. This
shot is of the hounds pulling me along the trail just after crossing
the bridge. Not too bad here EH? Travel up another 100 yards
or so and you run into this.
That was caused by the backing up of the little creek into a low spot.
The creek is actually about 500 yards away from this location, but had
flooded an entire field off to the left and the trail just happen to cross
a low spot that helped take some of the water from the field. I know
it looks like the worst of the flooding is to the right, but actually that
was just a little puddle. The main flooding was to the left of this
photo. I just did not have the heart to capture it on film.
Or at least that is the excuse I am sticking to for forgetting to shoot
it. This last shot
is of the trail up a little further. Not too bad again.
So as you can see,
there are spots which are in good shape and spots which are not so good.
Most of the wet spots on that trail will freeze with the upcoming weather.
As I said it looks like daytime highs will still manage to creep above
freezing, but much of the time temps will be below freezing, at least early
in the week. IF we did get new snow soon, the trails would be ride
able. Unfortunately, it does not look like that will be the case
and new record highs might just be set by the end of next week.
I have tentative plans
to put my sled on a friends trailer and head out into the woods to ride
Tuesday. If in fact I do that. It might be the last ride of
the season. Who would have thought?
I also managed to break
out the hose and wash my car today. If someone would have told me
a few weeks ago that I would be able to wash my car with no jacket on and
even break into a sweat doing so on this day, I might have thought them
to be a little loose upstairs. My sump pump started humming yesterday
and all but about an inch of snow is gone from the roof. I spent
the better half of yesterday afternoon shoveling the snow off of my front
bushes. There was about 3 feet of snoment on them and they were beginning
to head south. I had put a snow fence around them, but even that
was beginning to give way. Next year I will have to come up with
Well, this sure has
been a very trying week. Like I said to the friend I rode with this
past Monday, it seems like that ride was a month ago! I am not kidding.
Seems sad to think that it is over. Winter came way too late and
left way, way too soon. I feel for all the businesses who were counting
on the next few weeks to have snowmobile business. They can groom
up here until the last day of March and usually do in most years.
This has to be a near record for earliest end to the season and one of
the shortest. I guess it is not officially over yet. The models
could be wrong about next week and beyond and it is not out of the question
for this area to get hammered in March, but they way things are going this
year, I would bet the farm against it happening. Any takers?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 25- Well, only about
another 14-18 hours more and things will begin their drop out of this death
zone. Actually, today was not too bad at all. Some clouds and
easterly winds kept us in the 30's all day. It is 36 right now and
the wind is still out of the southeast. It would be great to keep
the southeast wind or at least some easterly component to the winds through
tomorrow AM and then have the cool air come in, that way we would never
really warm up.
I did hike up to the
trail with the hounds today and took this
shot in the same place that I took the shot on the 23rd. I guess
things could sure be worse, with the warm temps the past 5 days.
There is still about a 6-10" base. I dug down this time to see how
far it went. Underneath that was about 2 inches of ice. So
with new snow, things in this spot would be ok. There are people
up here riding. The old 3 PM on Friday hum of 2 cycles started right
on time. Not as frequent as in past Friday's, but still there.
I hope to take a ride tomorrow night or Sunday just in case this is it.
I just don't really want to go alone, not much fun.
I managed to take one
more pic for those of you who miss your snow. Here
is a shot of the woods near the trail. As you can see, still
pretty deep out there. Probably close to 2 feet. The next week
does not look nearly as bad. Still above average and many days will
hit the mid 30's, with even some upper 30's not out of the question, but
by about 5 PM we will be back below freezing most days and stay below
freezing until about 11 AM. That gives us a lot more staying power.
Fresh snow will really be the key to any improvements of conditions and
right now that does not look too good.
Not much more to say,
except thank you to all who have responded to my poll. For those
of you who don't know what I am talking about, go to the forecast text
page, it will be explained there. So far the responses has been about
5 to 1 in favor of people willing to contribute funds to this site.
Although I have a strong feeling that a lot of people not willing to pay
are keeping quiet. I may be wrong, but only about 75-80 responses
so far and I know a lot more are visiting. So if you are reluctant
to tell me that you would not contribute funds to visit the site, please
do let me know. Some have apologized and there is no reason to do
that. Your choice is your choice and I totally respect that.
The only thing that will make me mad on this is the people who fail to
respond. This site is set up for it's visitors. I do get some
satisfaction from doing it, but the time it takes to update is a lot of
work and something I do for you all, more that me. Getting a firm
handle on the visitors feelings is really important to the future of this
site so please RESPOND! Yea or Nea! Enough of that. I
will likely explain things more on this topic in the not too distant future,
but don't really want to clutter up the journal with it. The journal
is for fun stuff.
From a still snow covered
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 24- Man, you would
think that knowing this thaw was coming would help me to deal with it,
but is hasn't! I can't believe we still have about 36 hours of this
stuff to go. I also can't believe that Monday I was riding and things
were not too bad. Monday seems like a month ago! So much for
a shortened holiday week!
Today started out like
it might provide some good combatants against the snow eating monster.
Thick fog and temps in the mid 30's occurred to about 11:30. Then
in a reversal of things from yesterday, BAM, the sun came out and things
heated up and the snow eater was going in full gear. I have a good
way of telling how fast things are melting by checking the pace at which
drops are coming off of my roof. Up to about 11:30, it was a mere
trickle. A few drops here and there, once the sun came out and things
warmed to the upper 40's, maybe even 50, the trickle swelled to a constant
dripping, darn near a shower! Good news came at about 3 PM as clouds
rolled in and an easterly breeze cooled things back down to the upper 30's
and that is where we stand now.
I feel like I am at
war, with some evil force, which comes and goes without warning and of
which I have no control over. All I can do is sit and watch it do
it's damage. Helpless to save any of our precious snow. As
mentioned yesterday, I would not be this distressed if it were a month
later when this usually happens, but this is highly unusual, both in severity
and duration. Something which has never happened here this early
in the past 40 years. I checked the weather data records. Chalk
up another one for my first year here! I really feel like I am one
of those poor Chicago Cubs fans who is plagued with the "Wait until next
year" disease. Thankfully, I never allowed myself to catch that disease
while living there. I loved to go to the games, even made a good
deal of money off of the poor fans who wanted to be true to their team
and bet in their favor. I was able to see that the Tribune Company
does not care if the Cubs win or loose. They really don't have to.
Wrigley Field and the Cubs are one of the main tourist attractions in Chicago
and as long as they have a product to market (Andre, Ryan and now Sammy)
they will turn a decent profit even while putting a loosing team on the
field. Hey, Hey! Holy Cow! and all that stuff.
But I digress.
It's going to be a close call as to if we can manage a season beyond this
thaw. Really close. The latest computer guidance indicates
that the weather will do everything in it's power to delay the cooler air
Saturday. First it is stalling out the low and now it is making the
cold air travel all the way around the low so that we will actually see
our cooler air arrive via the southwest Saturday afternoon. It looks
like Nebraska could be cooler than us for most of the day Saturday.
How's that for rubbing it in.
I did break down and
cleared off my driveway today. There were already bare spots opening
up and it was becoming a real mess. It did not look like it would become
totally clear by itself by the time the cooler air arrived and just in
case we do get enough snow that needs to be removed. I would rather
be removing it from an even surface than from a surface with bumps and
gullies on it. Check out the "Front of House Shot" in tomorrow's
Al Cam page for the new look. The road crews have been out doing
the same. Many of the roads in my hood are clear of ice or slush.
A few of the more shaded areas still have a 1-2" coating of ice on them,
but I would not be able to ride from my house to the trails without crossing
over a considerable amount of bare pavement.
I guess that the only
solace I can take in all of this is that I am not alone in my misery.
I don't know why that should make me feel better. I do not wish misery
on anybody. Even the guy who almost hit me head on about 3 weeks
ago! But visiting some of the snowmobile web sites and going into
their discussion boards, I read a lot of messages from folks who have the
blues just as bad as me. At least I can still look out onto 18" of
snow and hope it does not go away before we can get more. With that
thought I will close.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 23- Day three in
the death zone and counting. Another warm one, as my thermometer
read 50 at about 1 PM. A wind shift did occur soon after that and
easterly winds dropped the temp to 42 by 2 PM and we are sitting at 33
and a little band of rain is pushing through at the moment. The airport
got to 44 and Copper Harbor managed a 36. The big difference in the
northern Keweenaw is that with southerly winds, the air travels over the
lake. Even if it is just for 30 miles or so, that is enough to cool
things down. That is a big reason why all the locals will trailer
their sleds north of Phoenix to ride in April in almost any year.
We'll see if they can do that this year.
I did take the hounds
on a walk this afternoon and we hiked up to check out the trail.
It is always a little fun to hike up there, because I cannot tell what
kind of shape the trail will be in until I am on it, as it is elevated
from the direction I hike from. I was expecting to see something
a lot worse that I saw. Here
is a shot of the trail. It was basically soft to a depth of about
2 inches, but still had plenty of base on it and was not even too bumpy.
I have actually seen this trail in way worse shape, even after a fresh
snow. Keep in mind that not all of the trails up here are like this,
but I would imagine that about 90-95% of the miles on the trails up here
are like this, with only a few sections in bad shape. One is to the
south of Houghton to about the turn off for Dan's and then the trail from
about Calumet to Mohawk also likely showing a lot of bare spots or is in
bad shape. These are area which were thin before the thaw.
All other areas were in about the same shape that the trail by my house
was in. I was talking with a guy who rode in the groomer Sunday and
said that they were planning on going out tonight if the temp dropped below
35. Quite frankly, I do not know what good it would do, as it was
not too bumped up, no one is riding it and it is so soft that the grooming
would not hold up anyway. Plus if they use the blades too much, they
might tap into some of the decent snow below the soft stuff and mix it
in. That would not be too good to do right now, as we still have
some mild temps and another round of rain likely for later Friday and into
early Saturday. The perfect thing to do would be to groom it right
before the temps drop and we get some new snow Saturday. If that
happened, things would be really good. We'll see what happens.
I got into a bit of
a debate with some anti snow friends at the bank today. All in good
fun, but I think I was able to blow huge gaping holes in all of their arguments
on why this warm weather is good right now. One of their arguments
was that it was melting the snow. I asked what good would that be
unless all the snow was melted and the ground was able to firm up so we
could go out and play in the woods. They could not come up with an
answer. Then they said well at least the warm temps are nice and
I asked why. Did they dress any different to go out? No.
Did it let them do anything that they would not have done if it were colder?
No. Would the cold have had any different impact on them today?
No. I also had to remind them that no matter what happens to the
snow, this region is still going to be in the 30's and low 40's for the
next 6-8 weeks because the lake is at about 33 degrees and will modify
the air greatly. Sure we could have a few days where the winds are
either too light or out of the south, southwest and bring in some warmer
temps, but the true warmth does not start here until about May. They
tried to hang onto their position that this warmth was a good thing, but
it was more out of being stubborn rather than on any real reason.
I explained to them
that I too will enjoy the warm weather when it is time for that, but that
we may as well have snow when it is suppose to snow so we can all play
in it and have fun, then let it melt when it is suppose to and will fully
melt, not to return until it is suppose to. Then let summer provide
it's wonders up here. Summers are lots of fun, lots to do.
38 degrees, rainy weather and snow on the ground which is too deep to walk
in and too shallow to play in is not fun. I left the central Midwest
because that is their winter!
Looking at the longer
term forecast models which go out 14 days from today, there are reasons
to be hopeful. But I am not going to get too hopeful, as things can
change with the forecast and this has been one of those winters in this
neck of the UP where the weather has done lots to keep it from snowing!
So where did all the
cold air go this winter? That is a good question. Not Europe.
Not most of western Asia and not even in most of eastern Asia. Not
Canada and not really even Alaska. One pocket in Siberia was below
average for December and January as well as the first few weeks of Feb.,
but that is it. All other areas were above average for this time
period. Global Warming? I'm not going to open up that can of
worms believe me. Let's just hope not. Cause if it does occur,
I would bet my life on it that it will not be something that we can just
change our ways and have things return to normal in a few years.
If or when we break it, it will be broke for a long, long time. But
don't sell those skis or sleds just yet. It is easy to worry about
global warming when record highs are occurring.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 22- Wow. That
is about as creative a word I can some up with right now to describe the
day today. I had some friends decide to take a drive and stopped
by and we stood on my driveway and watched their two black lab puppies
play with B & B. We were outside for more than an hour and I
did not have a coat on the whole time and never got cold! I was thinking
to myself "man, did I ever get use to the cold", thinking that the temp
was in the low 40's. Turns out it was 52 out! No wonder I did
not need a coat. Plus the sun was fairly bright as well. The
high today was 27 degrees above average. Our average high climbs
to 52 by April 27th, over two months away, just to show you how extreme
things were today. It did not get that warm in all areas of the Keweenaw.
The Houghton County Airport recorded a 43 and Copper Harbor only managed
to rise to 37. I did see where Minocqua WI rose to 58 and Eagle River
WI rose to 54. Plus we got down to 20 early this morning and are
now below freezing at 30 degrees and it is only 8:30.
Needless to say I was
not all that happy about things, but I also did not pout. I cannot
say the same for some of my friends who I ride with. I stopped by
the garage to shoot the bull with them (the repair garage is sort of our
local hang out after work) and a couple of them were in there and were
more upset than me at the thaw. They said they now could understand
why I was so distressed a few days ago when I knew it was coming.
They also knew why I was so anxious to ride the past few days. They
all sure did want to know when it would cool off and when or if we would
get some new snow. Unfortunately, I did not have all the best news
I did a little checking
and found that from this point on last year the area got about 6 inches
of snow. Bummer. Of course there have been years where 70 inches
fell in March, but those years were also marked by decent snows in most
of the other months. Double bummer. We are on track to set
a new record for least snowfall in a season. The hat trick of bummers.
I must put in a qualifier. Those records go back to 1950. Prior
to that, records were kept, but I am a little skeptical of the numbers.
It is amazing to me that in the years prior to 1950, most of them had less
than 200" and many were even under 120". Something is not right with
Anyway, one bright
spot to all of this is that my furnace has been on only about 3 times all
day! Of course, I would rather pay some huge heating bills and be
riding through three feet of new snow, but what can you do.
I also witnessed the
luckiest person in the world today. As I was driving through town,
I saw an elderly woman walking down the sidewalk. All of the sudden,
about 10 feet in front of her an avalanche occurred. An entire roof
load of snow broke free and crashed to the sidewalk. The amount of
snow was a ton too. It covered an area on the roof of about 6 feet
wide by about 15 feet long and was about 2-3 feet deep and it broke to
the surface as they say in the avalanche biz, meaning, there was not snow
remaining on the surface where the avalanche occurred. It was quite
a sight to see really. The pile of snow on the sidewalk was about
6 feet high and about 10 feet in diameter. The look on the woman's
face was sheer shock, relief and amazement in that order all in the span
of about 2 seconds. I shudder to think of what might have become
of her had she been just 10 more feet along in her travels. Makes
you realize just how at the mercy we really are to things that we have
no control over. I suppose the owner of the building was the second
luckiest person in the world today.
With all this occurring,
I lost only 2" of snow from my yard and I would attribute this as much
to settling as to actual melting. The road even has snow over most
of it, although there are bare spots opening up. I doubt that the
road will remain snow covered for the rest of this week, although today
was the last day of sun. Tomorrow through Friday will be cloudy.
The rains do not look too heavy tomorrow and tomorrow night and cooler
air looks to come by Saturday. The only thing concerning me is the
clouds at night keeping temps above freezing. That can eat snow fast
as well, having the overnight temps above freezing. No use loosing
sleep over it.
No pictures today,
sure wish I had the camera with me and ready when that avalanche occurred.
That does remind me. I received my first donations for the new camera,
thanks. For those of you who missed my little solicitation for funds,
I decided to take the advice of some visitors to my site and quit complaining
about the quality of the pictures taken by my camera and just ask for some
donations to get a new, better one. So, if you have a couple of bucks
burning a hole in your pocket and feel so inclined I would love to be able
to provide you all with the best pictures possible. If not that's
cool too. Just trying to do all I can for my audience without going
broke at the same time!
Well, I believe I have
done said all I can for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 21- Today was "one
last ride" day. At least for this week. I made the most of
it, leaving the house at 10 AM and not returning until 6 PM. Most
of that time was spent riding. I hooked up with some friends from
Mohawk and we took the bush to Lac La Belle. I did manage to bring
the camera along and took some shots along the way. Here
is a shot while on the pole line. The shot was actually taken
while at the angle, where the line makes a 90 degree turn. It is
also the highest point on the line so you have great view off in either
is another shot from the same spot, looking down the other angle.
The snow under the lines was really tracked up. Still, it is fun
to get out there and ride in an area where which is not groomed.
There are a few spots that you can catch a little air and still have a
fairly fresh landing. But it is amazing how different the riding
is out there now compared to my first time down it, when we were basically
the first tracks. It is a challenge to get stuck now, whereas it
was a challenge not to get stuck before!
shot was taken from on top of a bluff. Directly ahead is the
hill climb I talked about in the journal entry January 29 and 30th.
The view from here is also quite dramatic. From there we hooked up
with the trail to Lac La Belle and stopped in for a bite to eat at the
Restaurant. I finally got to chow down on the hot beef sandwich
with gravy that I have been wanting to since the snow began to fly.
MMMMM Good, it was even better than I was imagining.
is a shot of the infamous Mt. Bohemia. It was taken from the
lake, right in front of the Landings. Of course the picture does
not do it justice, as you do not get a true feeling for how high it sticks
up relative to the surrounding hills. The band of white on the left
side of the hill is the clearing where you can attempt to ride up it.
Right now it is really iced up so studs or a 2" paddle track would be needed
to get to the top via the front. This
shot is also of the mountain and was taken a little further down the
lake. You also get a better view of the clearing. Next year
at this time it is suppose to be a ski hill, so no more playing on it with
From Lac La Belle,
we took the brand new Deer Lake Trail to Gay. We had reliable information
that it had been groomed yesterday. That info proved to be correct
and we found the trail to be in fairly decent shape. It was a little
bumpy, but certainly tolerable and in better shape that the trail from
Calumet to Mohawk was today. More of a small, washboard feel than
moguls. It was really fun to ride a new trail, and I give that trail
a thumbs up. Congrats to all the folks who made it possible.
With regular grooming it will be an absolute joy to ride. Lots of
turns and probably the most varied types of surroundings that any of the
trails go through. At times you are going through a dense hardwood
forest like most of the trails up here do, but at other times the trail
goes through areas with only a few trees and at other times it is crossing
swampland with no trees. There is also a lot of side trails off of
it. We did not take any, but many looked tempting!
From Gay I separated
from the two friends I had been riding with as they headed to Mohawk and
I was to head to Lake Linden. I did not have to ride alone, as I
hooked up with some other friends in Gay and was able to ride home with
them. It is really neat to go into a bar and know someone there who
is riding. That is about the 3rd of 4th time in a row that that has
happened. I am really beginning to feel like a local.
I do have plans to
ride tomorrow night before the rain hits. The trails I rode today
will all withstand the thaw and rain that is forecasted for this week.
Bases are still close to 2 feet in most spots, with only the area between
Calumet and Mohawk thin in spots. If we do see cooler temps and some
new snow after the thaw, they could actually be really nice as the base
underneath the new snow will be rock hard and likely fairly smooth.
My main concern will be for the roads in my neighborhood, the well traveled
ones are now bare and even my own road is showing some bare spots and will
likely be all bare by the end of the week. I really do not want to
have to put new carbides on this season!
Well, I am going to
sign off for tonight. I owe the hounds a walk before turning in and
it is getting late. From a spring like northwoods...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 20- Well, I have
fully prepared me for the impending doom (thaw). It really amazes
me how addicted to the snow I am. Here I am in a place which has
seen over 10 feet fall since Thanksgiving, has at least 2 1/2 feet still
on the ground and I am bumming that temperatures will rise above the freezing
mark for a few days! I have spent the past 2 days mentally preparing
myself for what is to come and I believe I am ready. Today was a
nice day all in all. Temps in the high 20's and mixed clouds and
sun. Went for a ski with some friends. We skied an area where
dogs are not really welcome so B and B had to stay home. They sure
did not understand why they could not come along as they saw me putting
on my ski boots and gaiters. That usually means that WE are going
out for a ski, not just me. They have come to know what it means
when they see me put on my snowmobile bibs and boots. They both just
hang their heads and go into the other room to sleep. Poor neglected
dogs. Today while skiing, we struck up a conversation on what kind
of animal we would like to be if we had the chance. The answers varied,
but once someone said that they would like to be one of my dogs, all the
others decided that they would change their vote to that as well.
It actually made me feel very good! Those two dogs have helped me
through some challenging times in the past 3 years and they deserve all
the good times they get.
I did not take the
camera along with me, not a whole lot new to show anyway. We ended
up going to McLain State park to ski and then to a persons house who lives
along the lake shore. Today was likely the last day for a ski until
things cool, possibly next weekend. Actually, I could ski in the
morning, but have to work, so it looks like we will go back to taking walks.
This evening, as the
sun was setting, I cast a beautiful hue on some Alto Cumulus clouds and
I did manage to take a shot, and the shot did manage to turn out fairly
good. This shot
was not something that was unique to the area, but I thought you all would
enjoy it anyway. It's too bad that I was not at the lake shore when
that was happening, that would have been even more dramatic.
I hope to be able to
ride tomorrow. There were some plans made, but I have come to not
plan on things to play out always as planned. The majority of the
trails will do pretty good through the thaw. There will be areas
which will be hurt, and I think that the area from Houghton to South Range
will be cooked unless they figure out a way to get new snow on it.
Plus, all the bush riding spots will hardly even be phased. What
I am most concerned about is the side streets in my neighborhood, as I
was hoping to make it through the rest of the season with the carbides
that are on my machine. The last thing I want to do is put new ones
on and wear them down with the end of the season riding conditions.
Maybe I can get the plow driver to pull a little off the banks and onto
the side of the road, YA RIGHT!
It must be getting
late, I am getting even stupider! Will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 19- Getting a late
start tonight, but thought there was no way I would leave you all hanging
again. I had friends arrive thins morning, they were suppose to arrive
last night, but got a late start and the snows in northern IL and southern
WI delayed them further, so they just pulled off and stayed the night at
a hotel, rather than push it to get here. They got here about noon
and we did not waist too much time saddling up.
We ended up riding
to Lac La Belle, mostly via the bush, but were on the trails from Lake
Linden to about Copper City. I must say that from Lake Linden to
Calumet, things were in good shape. You could then tell when you
got on the main trail that everyone takes from Houghton to Copper Harbor,
as it was in worse shape. Not a total disaster, but not too good
either. We then rode the 124 trail towards Gay for a short while
and it was in great shape. Almost did not want to get off of it!
But the bush was calling and we headed out to do some off trail riding.
We did not find a whole lot of untracked snow, but did have an enjoyable
time. The bush was not bumpy and I did manage to find a little fresh
snow as well as some excellent jumps to lunch off of. We got to Lac
La Belle and climbed Bohemia (back side). The view really impressed
my friends and then rode down the front side and had a wonderful meat at
the Landings. Saturday is prime rib night and I was not bashful in
ordering the king cut. From there, my friends rode on to the harbor
(Copper Harbor) where they were staying overnight. I actually hooked
up with a friend from town that was at Lac La Belle and we rode back to
Lake Linden. It is really fun to be able to go just about anywhere
and see someone I know. It was also nice to have company for the
ride home. My sled has been running fine and I would not be out in
the middle of nowhere, but still nice to know that if anything did happen,
I would not be stranded alone.
It took my friends
and I about 4 hours to ride to Lac La Belle the challenging way and took
my friend and I about an hour to get back the easy way. I think that
I can get back from Lac La Belle faster via sled the easy way than it would
take by car!
All in all, it was
a very successful day. A good ride, no injuries or breakdowns and
even the weather was good. It snowed most of the way up. Not
very heavy, but enough so that you knew it was coming down, and enough
to freshen things up. Taking a look at the latest European Model,
it is indicating cooler air to arrive by about Friday of next week.
That would be really nice if it did occur. While out on my ski today
I realized that with the warmer temps, I will not be able to ski, or at
least ski as effectively. Another reason to dread the warmer temps.
Well, guess that will
do it for now. Sorry no pictures, but I do plan a ride Monday in
the bush so maybe then.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 18- My apologies
for not writing last night, but I just plain forgot until it was too late
and my head had hit the pillow. Not a whole lot went on to talk about.
I did spend the afternoon trying to make a path from my driveway to both
the ski and snowmobile trails. That way I can stay off the roads
for both. Blazing a trail on the skis was fairly easy. A little
more difficult for the hounds, as the snow was totally untracked and very
deep. We did manage to find some areas which had drifted over and
were easily 6 feet deep. Even on my skis, I sunk in to my knees.
Anyway, I did manage to find a way through the woods to get to a point
where I could access my driveway. I decided I would take the sled
through and try and pack down the trail a little better. Big
mistake. Number one, a sled needs a lot more horizontal room to get
through. On the skis I could just sneak between trees. On the
sled, it was either try and go around them or over them! Several
times, both methods failed and a dig out was required. Also, with
all my skiing lately, I have become very adept at maneuvering. Taking
sharp turns on a snowmobile in deep snow through the woods is not so easy.
Hence more dig outs. I think that I set some kind of a record, with
about 6 dig outs in the space of an hour and a half, while only traveling
about 100 yards! And to think I want more snow! After all of
that effort, I still did not have a trail which was set for the sled.
I can get through just fine on skis and I think that there is enough of
a packed down trail to allow the hounds to get through without much trouble,
but it will take more effort for the sled. The trail there now has
too many 90 degree turns in it to make for a suitable run for the sled.
I think I will have to scout out a new path and try and blaze it next week.
I have never swatted so much in 15 degree temperatures in my life!
My shirt was literally soaked as were my pants!
Today was back to school
day. Well in a matter of speaking anyway. I had contacted a
professor at Michigan Tech a few months back to introduce myself and see
if we could meet some time just to sit, chew the fat and explore avenues
for any possible relationship we could establish. He invited me to
a seminar which was today and then we talked some afterwards. After
parking the car and heading off to the building in which the seminar was
to be held, I began to get nervous in the scholarly atmosphere and was
reminded just how much I hated school! I really did. Not so
much the work or actual learning process, but the treadmill I seemed to
be on while getting my education. So much of the work seemed to be
in vain. Take this test to pass this class so you can advance to
the next class, all to do it all over again, while never really retaining
much from the previous class. I really have a problem with doing
something for nothing. It does not have to have financial gain or
other rich rewards, but I do like to have some sort of payoff for my efforts
and you'll have to excuse me, but that piece of paper that I got for my
4 years of toil that says "John Dee has successfully earned a Bachelor's
Degree in the School of Science" just did not quite earn me full satisfaction.
I don't even know where the thing is. I have it somewhere, but would
have to look for it pretty hard to find it!
Walking though the
campus I could see the look of helplessness on many of the faces of the
students and knew just what they were feeling. I think that the only
thing worse than going back to school against my will would be to have
to spend time in the hospital! I would not mind taking a few classes
or even a few seminars to bring me up to speed on some of the latest theories
or discoveries in the world of atmospheric science, but to do it all over
again... NO WAY.
With all that said,
I am glad that I went. I did learn some things and I was an interesting
seminar. It was also refreshing to be in an environment where some
pretty technical things were being said. Nice to put the brain into
high gear to try and follow a conversation or discussion! Who knows,
maybe I will even be able to do some teaching of my own there. The
professor did seem interested in having me help out in the intro to meteorology
course they offer. I would love to teach meteorology! I think
that if I could earn a decent living at that, I would make the switch.
Plus, I can guarantee, my class would not be boring. It would be
one of those that there is a waiting list to get into! Who knows,
the possibilities are exciting to think about though.
Other than that, not
a whole lot has happened. I got to watch my old stomping grounds
(Chicago) get hit with snow through the day today. I do believe that
they have now received about twice, if not three times as much snow there
for the month as we have! Strange year, strange year indeed.
I am going to blame it on the North Pacific Intra Decadal Oscillation Index.
That is what the seminar was about. The speaker did not draw such
conclusions, but I am sick and tired of El Nino or La Nina catching the
blame for everything!
Well, guess that will
do it for now. Have fun with your new snow all you folks in S. WI,
N. IL and S. MI. I am jealous.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 16- Getting an early
start today, as I am going to be riding this evening and will be getting
back too late to probably write then. If it were not for my profound
love of snow, I would have thought that today was a beautiful day, with
mixed puffy clouds and cobalt blue skies. But with missing the heart
of yesterday's storm and looking at the satellite imagery basically showing
the lake effect clouds developing just before the shores of the Keweenaw,
I was in a bit of a funk. Here
is a shot of the visible satellite imagery showing how the clouds were
developing right before the KP. The image also shows how the clouds
were much more plentiful over the eastern UP, where several inches of snow
accumulated today. This has been par for the course this year.
It has really been a strange year, with the Keweenaw seeing at or less
than a lot of other places in the UP. We sure do have less on the
ground, as 28" is down at my house, 18 at the Houghton CO Airport (that
is a joke of a measurement if you ask me), but 40 at Marquette and 42 at
Champion to the west of Marquette. We should really be up at about
36-42 right now. I would have to say that is about the average for
this time of the year. Anyway, I guess that I should be grateful
for what we have, as it could be worse (but not much!)
But I digress...
As promised, I took a ski on the local trail and brought the camera along.
one is of a swamp that the trail crosses. I know it to be a swamp
as the hounds and I did explore out that way in the fall and were halted
by the swamp. This shot
a little further up the new trail that I found yesterday. On the
left you can see the tracks from yesterday and where we were headed.
I am not sure if this area is a swamp too, but my guess is that is is some
kind of a low area which is wet most of the year. When all this snow
melts, things in the low areas stay wet for several months and all the
creeks really run up to about the 4th of July, then things settle down
some. This picture
was actually taken at the opposite end of the field in the previous shot.
We are located in the upper right of that photo. From this point,
we head into the creek bed area which is really my favorite spot of this
whole side trail. It is so peaceful back in there and I just love
how the creek is bordered by the pines. Plus on a windy day like
today, it is also nice as we are sheltered from the winds as well. Here
is a picture of what I am trying to describe, B & B are in the
lead, or "On Point" as I like to call it. Unfortunately, this part
of the trail only goes on for about a quarter mile, it would be neat if
it went on for a mile or so. This
is another shot of the creek bed, but this is where it goes one
way and we go another. I just love how everything is draped with
the deep powder. It is amazing how things like 2-3 feet gullies or
stumps are completely covered. Keep this fact in mind if any of you
out there decide to do some off trail riding of your own. Take it
slow if you are not positive that there are no hidden obstacles.
Imagine having to try and drag a 500 lb. sled out this place. Believe
me, you would sink up to your chest in snow.
Made it back from the
ski in time to do some grocery shopping. I have been so busy and
will only be busier in the next few days that this was about the only time
I could do it!
This next part I have
been debating for some time now. In a recent entry, I apologized
for the quality of the pictures. I only have an inexpensive camera
and it has a resolution of only 640 x 480. After writing that entry
and apologizing, I got more than a handful of responses that I should just
ask my readers for a small donation to come up with funds to get a better
camera. Like I say, I have been struggling with this, as it has never
been my intention to have my visitors pay for anything, but since I got
several responses from YOU that I should just pass the hat, I guess that
it is not too forward of me. So if you feel so inclined, you may
send a donation to me at P.O. Box 46, Lake Linden, MI 49945.
Please include a return address, for if I do not come close to the amount
needed (about $300), I will just return the money and hope to get a better
camera in the future on my own. I know that I have at least 3000
different daily visitors to this site, as that is what the log file said
back in mid December. I imagine it could be double that now, as word
has sure spread and my netfriends number has doubled since then as well.
Keep in mind that the forecasts will end at the end of March, but I do
plan on continuing the journal all year round. There is the snow
melt, waterfalls, summer sunsets, beach shots, wild flowers, wildlife and
autumn colors to show, just to name a few! I would really love to
be able to show these in all their glory.
Ok, now that that is
over, I guess I will close for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 14&15- Well, my guide
services were a success, as I did not bring harm to any of my friends and
managed to bring some wide eyes and big smiles. We did not have nearly
the time I would like to have, as they were basically up here for about
18 hours and some of that was spent sleeping, but we did manage to get
around a little. I only took one picture as a lot of the riding was
at night. This shot
was taken on top of Whealkate Bluff with the Houghton/Hancock area in the
background. That little black dot to the left of the guy on the left
is another guy in the group who did want to climb to the top.
Before I forget, I
must make a mention of the trail conditions up here. My travels took
me from Lake Linden to the Twin Lakes south of Houghton. The trail
between Houghton and South Range has been beat to a pulp. On the
ride down yesterday is was in not too bad of shape, a little snirty, but
groomed and fairly flat. On the way back, it was fairly bumped up
an a little more snirty. Today on the way down it was even more snirty
and still had some bumps on it, even though it had been groomed, and on
the way back today it was a total mess. Lots of snirt, bumps and
even a few bare spots! That section will need a lot of new snow to
make it even close to good again. The good news is that it is only
bad between Houghton and South Range, actually only from about Houghton
to the turn off to Dan's. The trail from South Range to Twin Lakes
was in good shape and allowed me to travel at any speed I desired.
The trails last night (Lake Linden to Calumet to Hancock to Lake Linden)
were also in pretty decent shape and the new snow we are getting right
now through tomorrow will put them in really decent shape for the holiday
weekend. So I guess my advice to you would be to try and avoid the
stretch from South Range to Houghton if you can. If not, just be
prepared and know that things are only like that in that one section.
The Freeda Loop is in great shape as I took it for a short while today
As I said, I rode as
far south as Twin Lakes to meet up with my friends coming up from the south.
That is the furthest south I have been so far this year! I did meet
up with some visitors to the site at the Golden Harp in Twin Lakes.
Hello good folks from Iowa, thanks again for lunch and it was really great
to chat with you!
I made it back in time
today to take the hounds for a ski, but did not bring the camera.
I found a new side trail to that local trail and it really went through
a neat place so tomorrow I plan to take the camera along an show you all.
Ooh, I can feel the anticipation building!
Like I said, we are
getting some snow. I really should not complain, as we have about
3-4" new, still snowing and it looks to me like we could get about 3-4"
more before it ends tomorrow in the afternoon. BUT... Other
places around here got hammered. Northern WI and the southern UP
have reported 10-12" as has Marquette. Marquette could still see
another 4-8" fall before it ends. Man, would it have been great to
get 14-20" new! Still some time, but we are running out of it.
It still snows way more than it rains through most of March, but the cold
air outbreaks diminish and thus so does the lake effect. It would
be interesting to see how much of the snow we have received this year was
due to the lake. I would anticipate it to be about 30-35%, maybe
a little more. In an average year about 60-65% of our annual snow
is due to the lake.
Well, I guess that
this will do it for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 13- Whew... I think
that I would be very happy to not see or eat another spaghetti noodle for
another 2-3 months! I am back from the fund raiser. 6 hours
of doing nothing bu cooking noodles. I made the terrible mistake
of grabbing a bowl of spaghetti when I first got there. Then had
to test the noodles for the next 6 hours and by the end was not enjoying
the experience at all. All in all, things went well. Not the
biggest turn out they ever had, but I think that about 500-600 dinners
I'm sure that most
of you did not check in to hear about the spaghetti dinner so I will cut
with that stuff and talk about my ride yesterday. I was not able
to take as many pictures as I would have liked to. When I ride with
these guys, there is not a whole lot of stopping we do. The trip
was again most enjoyable. Maybe not as fun as the last time, but
still full of new places to ride and yes, we did find lots of new, untracked
powder, which is getting more and more rare, as we have just not had a
whole lot of new snow in the past 2 1/2 weeks. I think that we have
received 7" in that time, which is about 30" below average. Anyway,
the first point of interest was a field that had some really great hills
and gullies in it. Perfect for catching a little air. Here
is a shot of one of the guys catching air, and here
is another. This spot will definitely become one of my favorite
places to go after some fresh snow. We had 10 riders in our group
and tracked it up pretty good, so I will probably not be going over there
until we get at least 6-10" new. The terrain was perfect though.
A nice ravine dropping about 20 feet, with the perfect slop for climbing
and then jumping. Plus it is really nice to land in several feet
of snow. Makes the landing quite soft.
From there it was into
the bush and I do mean the bush. One of the guys riding with us had
a hunting camp about 10 miles away and we decided that a trip to the camp
was a good idea. Only problem is there was really no road or trail
going there so we made our own. At times we were going down an old
logging road, but at other times, we were just making our own path through
the woods. At times having to work around or over blow downs.
That type of riding sure does become a workout, with all the hairpin turns
and other maneuvers you have to make. Here
is a shot that I was able to take while we were awaiting the lead sled
to maneuver a blow down. We were successful at finding the camp and
then worked our way to one of the local watering holes to get some food
and refreshments. From there I had to break from the group as I think
that something I ate or drank did not agree with me and the thought of
being out in the woods in the cold and dark did not sit well, with me and
my stomach. I did not miss out on much as after I left the group,
they took the same ride ride I had been on Friday, up to Gay and back.
I have several more rides planned for this week and I might, just might
break the 2000 mile mark in another week or so. That seems surprising,
as it does not seem that I have done that much riding. It also does
not seem like we have received that much snow, but 10 feet has fallen so
far this year. Basically in the past 2 months, as it really did not
begin to snow until about a week before Christmas.
Needless to say, my
skills have increased to the point where I would say that there is no situation
which I could not handle that others could. Not bragging, just that
I have been able to go anywhere and do anything that the others have done
and now even find myself doing things that others in our group will not
do or go where they will not go. There is still riders in the group
that are way better than me, but they have been riding for the past 20
years like I have been in the past 2 months, so I won't be too hard on
Tomorrow I become the
guide, as I have friends arriving from down south. Thus, I may not
update things tomorrow, but we'll see. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 12- Is this dedication
or what. Here it is 10 AM and I have already updated the forecast
and AL Cam pages of the site, cooked breakfast and taken the hounds for
a short morning walk. In the next 2 hours, I will be going to the
post office, bank and then a short ski with the hounds. At noon I
head off for a ride. I am fairly certain that the ride will last
until the wee hours of the night so I thought I would update the journal
Went for a ride last
night. Took the back roads and trails up to Gay and then over to
the Drift Inn in Copper City and then back home. The trails were
in OK shape. You could tell which areas had been groomed in the morning
and which had been groomed a little later in the day. The good news
is that the snow in most places was of the type which will hold a grooming
so things should not get overly bad this weekend. That is good, as
I have friends coming Monday to ride for a day or so and I keep telling
them how great it is here during the week and did not want to disappoint
We do look to get a
couple of inches later tonight through tomorrow so that will help some
as well. I really do not have a lot new to share today, seeing as
though I just wrote something about 12 hours ago. I can say that
the new Deer Lake Trail between Gay and Lac La Belle is officially open!
The Keweenaw Tourism Council says that it is receiving limited grooming
by the local club. I have no idea what that means, as to the best
of my knowledge there is no local club up that way. The closest club
is the one I belong to and there was no mention of us grooming it at the
meeting last Wednesday. I did hear from some friends that they had
heard that the trail was in not too bad a shape, so maybe it is being groomed.
I might be up that way today or Monday so if I find my way onto the trail,
I will let everyone know what is up.
The ride today will
be with the same group which I had the "Ride of My Life" two weeks ago,
so I am trying to not get too psyched up for it. The leader said
that he thinks we will take a different route than the last time to try
and find fresh snow. I hope this is true. There is still plenty
of untracked snow out there, you just have to find it. I will take
the camera along on this ride so tomorrow I should be able to show you
all the trip.
Busy day, so will close for now.
Good day from the Keweenaw.
February 10&11- Sorry for the
absence yesterday, but entertainment duties called and I was unable to
get to the journal. I did however get out yesterday to run my newly
found, favorite ski trail almost right out my front door. It has
really become a joy to be able to open the garage door, click into the
skis and head out into the wilderness. Not that the 5-10 minute drive
to the other spots was that bad, but every little bit helps! Plus,
I managed to get my fanny into the store to buy a 9 volt battery for the
camera and it is back to life. I did take the camera along on the
ski yesterday and most of this report will be focused around those pictures.
Once again, I must apologize for the lack of quality that my $76 camera
takes, but I hope you at least get the idea of how beautiful things are
just a block away from my house.
It did manage to start
snowing yesterday at about 11 AM and has kept up at one pace or another
ever since. About 1-2" new since then, just enough freshen things
up, including the main DNR trail 3 by my house. It always amazes
me what 2-3" of fresh snow and some grooming can do to the trail.
I took a look at it this afternoon and it was flat as a pancake.
Won't likely last too long this weekend, but at least we are not heading
into the weekend with poor conditions. Actually, it looks to get
very cold tonight -5 to -20 depending how far away from the lake you are
and that will really help to stiffen up the trail. Plus we could
get a little fresh later tomorrow and into Sunday morning so I guess things
could be a lot worse!
Back to the ski. This
first pic is taken as we just start out. Like I said, the trail
is about 1 block away as the crow flies, but being an earth bound human,
I have to weave my way around about 4 blocks in my neighborhood to get
to it. Today I checked out the feasibility of possibly blazing a
trail through the woods to get to trail, but it looks like I would need
to go through neighbors yards and I'd just as soon not have to worry about
asking for permission and all that jazz. As you can see from the
pic, the trail really just sort of weaves it's way through the bushes and
is not part of any kind of official trail and I bet in the summer it is
all filled in with weeds and smaller bushes which would make a journey
much more difficult if not impossible.
is a shot of the trail as it crosses a swamp. Another nice thing
about winter travel in the back woods of the Keweenaw. You can cross
areas like this with the greatest of ease. I have been out here in
the summer and would never even dream of venturing through it, as it was
filled with cat tails and other swamp dwelling plants. Not to mention
the bugs. This pic
really begins to show the cameras inability's to represent the depth of
field and pure openness of the area. Off to either side of this view
are hills which rise about 300-600 feet. Not massive mountains, but
it sure does create a valley. Just off to the right about 200-300
feet is the Traprock River. Again, not a huge river by any means,
but it is basically what carved out this valley over the past 100 million
years or so. Reducing the view also was the SNOW! Yes, this
picture was taken when the visibility was about 1 mile, I just love to
ski in the snow!
Well, what would the
first day back with the camera in working order be without a
shot of the hounds. They were unusually camera shy yesterday
and it was all I could do just to get them to pose here.
last shot is of one of the sights we saw just to the side of the trail.
Again, the camera does not do it much justice at all, as the mix of shades
and colors of the hardwoods, conifers and snow was really worthy of a painting.
Nothing overly dramatic, but still, just plain and simple northwoods beauty.
Nothing that man could create in a million years, but yet nature has found
a way to re create it in less than 100. The Traprock Valley was extensively
clear cut and farmed back in the areas mining hey days. Slowly one
by one, the farmsteads have become abandoned and the native vegetation
has begun to reclaim the landscape. Once where there were vast stretches
of cultivated fields, there are stands of mixed hardwoods and conifers
commingled and the open fields are slowly, but surely filling in.
Coming from a place where there were vast fields of row upon row of corn
and soybeans are being replaced by row upon row of houses. It is
really neat to be able to witness first hand how mother nature can reclaim
that which was taken away from her years ago. The other thing that
the camera could not illustrate was the pure silence of the spot.
Nothing but the crunch of my skis through the snow, my huffing and puffing
to try and catch my breath and the wind singing through the trees.
Today, we took the same route, but our peace and quiet was punctuated by
the roar of 2 cycle engines. You can almost set your watch to it.
3-4 PM every Friday. The masses have arrived! Welcome all.
Ride safely, have fun and try not to hit a rider on an XLT Special wearing
a Skidoo-Yellow Northface jacket!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 9- The snow gods
must be reading this journal, because we got some new snow overnight last
night. Not a lot, about an inch an a half. It was also a pretty
wet and heavy snowfall, there might have even been some rain mixed in at
the end. Temperatures then dropped and by daybreak, the snow had
become a freeze dried crust. It was enough to freshen up things and
the roads (except the main highways) are again snow packed. We had
light snow and flurries all day to boot. Not much additional snow,
about a half an inch or so. Look to get another 1-3" by this time
tomorrow so maybe that will be enough to allow the snow on the trails to
be fresh enough so that it will hold a grooming.
Had a nice discovery
today. I found a little cross country ski trail right near my house.
It is about 2 blocks away as the crow flies but about 5 blocks by foot.
I actually could ski from my driveway to the trail head. The trail
itself was really fun to ski on, as it just basically works its way through
clearings and across meadows in the Traprock Valley. We took it as
far north as it goes and then it branches to the left (west) or right (east).
Tomorrow we will see where the east branch takes us. It was about
3 miles to the branch, so we skied about 6 miles today. The hounds
are really worn out as I lost the trail for a while and we were breaking
our own. That is not much of a problem, as the 8 ft long skis support
me fairly well and I can skim across the snow. For the dogs it is
a different story. There is nothing to keep their paws from sinking
and they basically sink up to their chest. It's really is a lot of
work for them to get through, even following in my track. I did manage
to pick up the trail after about 500 yards of breaking our own, but by
that time the hounds were really huffing and puffing.
Then, as we skied along
the trail, every once an a while they would find a sink hole and boom,
they would be up to their chest again. I really liked that trail
and I believe it is now my favorite one. It is really fun to just
sort of bushwhack our way through things. In spots, you really would
not be able to get through in the summer, even just walking, as the bushes
are too thick. There were even some swamps that we crossed.
To be out there in the quiet world of nature was really wonderful.
Now I just need to find a way to get there without having to ski down the
roads to get to the trail head.
I was not able to take
any pictures as I was too lazy to get to the store to get a new battery.
I think that is all that is wrong with it, as it turns on and then whacks
Well, I need to sign
off for now and head off the snowmobile club meeting. Remember, if
you are up here this Sunday, head over to the Dreamland Bar between noon
and 6 PM for our Spaghetti Dinner! See you there!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 8- I can guarantee
that this will likely be one of the shortest entries to date. I am
really at a loss for new and exciting news. This feature of my site
is back to being "JD's LACK of Snow Journal". Another day for the
sunglasses to come out and the shovel to remain in the garage. The
forecast does not look way too promising either. We do look to get
a little snow, but the main events over the next 2-4 days look to occur
to our south.
I did manage to hike
up to the trail and have a look at it and it was not in very good shape.
Not a total disaster, but for a Tuesday, not too good. A few sleds
ride by and were bouncing along. The snow condition on the trail
was not too good either. Basically sugar snow and will not hold a
grooming too well. It reminds me of things about the first week of
January, when the base was ok, but was sugar snow. I thought that
it would take about 4-6" of new snow to bring them back and actually took
only about 2-3". So I would think that we are in a similar setup.
After about 2-3" and grooming, they should be in pretty decent shape.
I guess that I should be grateful, I know of may other places in the Midwest
who don't even have a base down anymore. They have snow on the ground,
but the trails are basically a mix of snow and dirt of just dirt.
No pictures as the
camera is acting up. I hope all it needs is a new battery, as I really
don't want the hassle of having to get it fixed. Stay tuned.
Well, like I said,
this is a short one.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 7- And the snow
drought continues... Well, maybe not a drought, but we have not received
more than 2" in a single 24 hours period for 13 days now. The forecast
models are still all over the road, but the one theme in them all of them
is for at least a couple of inches of new snow by the end of the week or
the beginning of next week so we'll see.
I did not make it down
to see the snow statues from the Winter Carnival, but I did go their web
site and "borrowed" some of their pictures. I hope that they do not
mind me posting them here. The only reason I copied them is so that
if they take their site down, my readers will still be able to view them.
If you want to go to their site, here
is a link. I cannot promise how long it will be active.
For those of you who don't want to go to the side, here's some shots of
some of the statues, so you can get a better idea of what the hard working
college students are up to. Honestly, I have no idea how most of
them found the time to do these. Tech is a big engineering school
and I had to walk with the engineers step for step my first two years at
Purdue and did not have much time to do anything but study and eat and
sleep. Anyway, here is the Delta
Sigma Phi entry. It was called "Space Colonization Unifies Nation"
and one first prize in its class. Second Place was won by the Sigma
Phi Epsilon fraternity and was called "A Chilling Interpretation of
our Final Revelation". I guess before we go on, I need to tell you
all one thing, the theme for this years carnival was "Icy Predictions of
Future Conditions". That will help to make sense of the unique titles
and themes to the statues. Third place in the fraternity division
was won by Phi Kappa Tau,
and was entitled "Future Family Choice in Ice Children's Voices".
In the Sorority division, Alpha Gamma Delta won first place with this
entry. It was titled "Endangered Spec-ICE No Longer Exist".
The Alpha Xi Zeta
entry won third place with that statue titled "Nature's Conservation for
So there you go.
If you plan on coming up next year to partake in all the fun of Winter
Carnival, better book the rooms soon, they are already booking for next
year. I have no idea of the dates for next year. The one thing
I missed was the fireworks display. Next year I will go for sure.
It would have been neat to be able to ride my snowmobile down and watch
them from that.
Well, this may have
seemed like a short journal entry, but for me it was a lot of work to download
the images, create the links to them and get the titles correct, so I will
sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 6- First let me
start out by saying that once again my internet provider's e-mail server
is all screwed up. I seem to be able to get messages fine, but the
ones I send get trapped and not sent out, but I get no notification that
they have not yet gone out. So for those of you possibly waiting
for a response from me on something, please hang in there. The messages
will get to you soon, I hope. With all the problems with my e-mail
lately, I would love to switch providers, but I have a high speed cable
modem through these guys and they are the only ones up here with that type
of service and the high speed is awesome.
Anyway, today was pretty
much a complete opposite of yesterday, as I managed to get lots accomplished,
including my first ride since Saturday of a week ago. I knew there
was a reason why I don't like to ride the DNR trails on weekends, today
I was reminded of why. An idiot and I kissed skis and it was totally
his fault. I was heading towards the Range Snow Mobile Club near
Houghton and was on the local access trail that goes to Dan's Polaris and
then to the club. The owners of Dan's groom that trail, so it was
nice an smooth. Anyway, The trail is not real wide and has enough
turns in it, so I was cruising along at about 30 MPH and came to a turn
and slowed down some more, when out of nowhere, some pinhead on a red Yamaha
comes flying over a hill and on a direct collision course with me.
I hit my breaks and he did too. He was so much on my side of the
trail that he ended up passing to my right and our right skis kissed.
He ended up off the trail on the wrong side and in the ditch. I stopped
just to let him know I saw him go into the ditch and then rode away.
I know I probably should have helped him out of the ditch, but with my
blood boiling as much as it was, it was probably safer I did not go over
there, cause I would have likely torn his head off. What a but head.
The saddest part about that whole thing was he probably thought that is
was not luck which kept us from a head on, but was his skills as a driver,
so he will not likely slow down. Too bad. That guy is going
to hurt himself and maybe someone else some day, I can almost guarantee
The races were fun.
It is not a big event. They have them every other weekend and it
is just a chance for the locals to get together and legally drag race against
each other in a controlled atmosphere. There are purses to win and
entry fees, so that adds a little to the want to win, but for the most
part, guys all know each other and are just there to have a good time.
I took some shots, but they did not turn out all that well. Here
is one at the starting line, just as they hit the throttle. That's
my buddy on the Cat on the far side. They also had a modified class,
which is fun to watch, cause these sleds are basically a motor, skis, a
track and the control devices, like a break, throttle and handlebars.
They sure do scoot though, as there is not much weight to them. Here
is a shot of them heading down the track, sorry there is not much to
see, I really should have taken a still of one of them while not racing,
but as usual forgot.
My trips to and from
Lake Linden and the club had me ride a little bit of trail, but not much.
I actually opted to take the canal between Lake Linden and Houghton.
A little longer, but much quicker. The trails between Houghton and
South Range were bumpy and in need of some fresh snow, as things were a
little dirty. Not really dirty, but enough that you could make out
the difference between the snow in the woods and the snow on the trails.
All in all, not any worse than I would have expected in that area on a
A word of caution.
If you plan to ride the canal from Houghton to Lake Linden, you had better
know where "The Cuts" are and how to get through them. If not, I
can almost guarantee you will get wet and maybe worse. Almost every
time I ride through there, I see either open water, or patches of ice with
no snow on them which means that the ice is very new and not safe.
I guess that spot takes someone almost every year. If you know where
to ride, you are fine and it is not hard either. But you really need
to know. I know this is not the first time I have put out this word
of caution and it will not likely be the last. I do not want to talk
about riding the canal in this area and leave out that warning.
Well, it looks like
I have come to the end of another day. Tomorrow's Munday (the "u"
was on purpose) and I am really getting burnt out trying to forecast thunderstorms
in Brazil and Argentina (my real job calls for that at the moment).
Some surprise flare ups midweek last week brought my batting average down
from 1.000, I really hate when that happens. Takes some of the fun
out of forecasting!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 5- Today had to
be one of my most unproductive ever! I did manage to get in two walks
with the hounds, but that was about it. Looking around at all the
mess in my house only made me even more reluctant to get too it.
It is not a total pit, but with friends coming to visit in the next week
or so, I do need to clean up a bit.
On one of the walks
we made it up to survey the trail which was in such bad shape yesterday
and it had been groomed. I do not know if it had been done late yesterday
or early today, but it was in better shape. Not what I would classify
as good or even fair, but not catastrophic like it was yesterday.
One thing is for sure, we will need new snow soon to keep the snow on the
trails in groom able condition. The forecast does look promising
for at least a little new snow over the next 3-5 days, with the potential
for more further down the road.
I know I am looking
forward to it. In the past 1 week and a half, we have received less
than 4". That is a serious drought for this neck of the woods.
Looking around, you would never guess than we have received over 100" for
the year. The piles are just not that big, or else I am getting use
to looking at them! What we have on the ground is quite compacted
down and will not likely compact much more, but I doubt we will exceed
the 40" mark on the ground this year. Talking to one of my neighbors,
he said just a few years ago they got 30" in 24 hours in a storm in March.
I looked into the history books and found the storm. March 23-24,
1996. 23" officially reported at the airport, but knowing how things
get measured there, I would not be surprised that 30" fell in other areas.
Of course, 1996 was also the year that 360" fell in many places in the
Keweenaw so I am not going to hold my breath for a 30" snow this March!
Well, I plan to head
down to the races tomorrow and the range snow mobile club. If I do,
I will try and make sure to bring the camera along to show you the goings
on. Not a whole lot more to say, so rather than going off on one
of my tangents, I think I will just hand it up for the night.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 4 - Ahh, the end
of a week. Always nice to be able to sleep in a little. Although
I do have to get up and update this site on Saturday and Sunday so my weekend
is not totally free from a workload. I may see about taking Sunday
off from forecasting, especially if there is not much to talk about in
the forecast. Right now there does not look to be much, but deep
in my gut I have a feeling that will change. These gut feelings usually
come true. I don't know why, maybe they actually derive themselves
deep in the recesses of my sub conscience and somewhere in my sub conscience
the forecasting data has been analyzed and a forecast is formulated.
Once again, the snow
mobile stayed in the garage. One again, it was mainly of my doing.
I have heard of so many of my friends sleds breaking down that I have decided
to really limit the riding I do alone. If I do ride alone, I will
most likely stick to the DNR trails that way if something does happen someone
will come along. It was a good choice to stay off the DNR trails
today. I always wondered what the main trail by my house would look
like without daily grooming and today I found out. Holy Wa!
The hounds and I took a walk up to the trail, there were moguls the size
of Volkswagens out there! Biggest ones I have ever seen in my life.
In one spot, it was rubbed to the ground, at least 2 feet deep. How
do I know that the trail did not get groomed today? I heard that
the groomer out of Lake Linden was going to take a run on the as-yet, still-closed
Deer Lake trail from Gay to Lac La Belle. They did bring the drag
along with them so it has been groomed, but I have not heard if it is officially
opened yet. I will let you know when I hear something official.
Don't know why they
decided to use the groomer out of Lake Linden, that is one heck of a trip
for him to make. As a result, the trails between Calumet and Hancock
and Hancock and Lake Linden were a total wreck. Sad part about it
is even if they do get groomed tonight or tomorrow, there will still be
bumps on it for sure. No groomer built can flatten those moguls out
in one pass. Plus it is the weekend, so lots of people will be exposed
to those conditions as they are two main trails in the area and all those
people will only make matters worse. Now this is just my humble and
sometimes foolish opinion, but it seems to me that they pulled the wrong
groomer off it's duties to make this trip on the DL trail, and/or picked
the wrong time of the week to do it as well. This area is already
fighting an image problem with the conditions of the trails on weekends
and this only made things worse. Oh well, what can you do?
I suppose one day there will be more organization to how things get done
around here instead of this "anything goes" deal. If not, the first
good snow year in the rest of the Midwest and this place will be a Ghost
Town and then everybody will be standing around, scratching their heads
and saying "What happened? Where is everybody?", and then things
will get changed. Don't get me wrong, it is not really the fault
of the groomers themselves. The guy out of Lake Linden goes everyday,
maybe not at the best time, but does get out everyday. That's a lot
of dedication and hard work. I'm sure the other groomers work just
as hard. And basically the current system works fine during the week.
The trails are in great shape then. It's just weekends that the current
system fails. Unfortunately, that is when this place is the busiest
and when a lot of people get the wrong idea that the trails up here are
always beat up and never groomed.
Plus, I don't mean
to take anything away from the new DL trail. New trails are a much
needed commodity up here and that one was a long time coming. A lot
of hard work went into making it a reality I'm sure. I look forward
to taking it myself, once I hear it is being groomed regularly and is officially
Well enough of that.
Keep in mind things are not a total wreck up here on weekends. I
rode about 50 miles of DNR trails last Saturday evening and they
were quite passable. Not perfectly smooth by any means, but rideable,
and even after a greasy burger, two bags of chips and some bubbly beverages,
this heartburn sensitive boy was just fine.
I went to a web site
today which gave conditions for northeast WI. It was written by someone
who got out and rode them almost every day. I had hoped that this
journal would be somewhat like that, but many factors have put a crimp
in how much I have got out this season. There is still lots of time
ahead. The season officially still has 2 more months to it and from
what I hear, late February and all of March is some of the best riding
up here. I will try and get out more to report on the DNR trails,
but use this as a rule of thumb: Weekdays are great up here.
No B.S. Unless a groomer breaks or something, the trails all get
groomed every day and with the lower traffic load, hold up really well.
You will not be disappointed if you come on a weekday. I have yet
to meet someone or hear about someone who did not think that our trails
during the week can't be beat. On weekends, it is busy. Not
rush hour on the expressway busy, but because we do have a lot of snow
and some of the best scenery in the Midwest, along with a decent trail
system, a lot of people come here on weekends. Some trails take it
harder than others. As another rule of thumb, conditions from Mohawk
north are usually better. I can not ever remember a time when I was
riding up there on bad trail conditions, including weekends. But
I'm not going to sugar coat things either. Some of the trails do
get pretty brutal, especially the closer you get to Houghton and Hancock,
so be prepared and make your plans accordingly.
With that, you can
bow your heads, the sermon is over!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 3 - Thanks to all
who sent me a note and said they did not mind me going off on a tangent
in yesterday's journal, and thanks to those who even supplied a little
words of wisdom of their own, much appreciated. I promise, I will
not go there today, although I am at a loss for things to say tonight.
We did get more snow today. Basically snowed all day, very lightly
and less than an inch accumulated. It was warm too! We got
to about 30 here in the Valley.
I did not go for a
ride today, but that was self imposed, as I needed to run some errands.
I really need to get down to view and take some pictures of the snow sculptures.
It is Winter Carnival week up here and they finished up with all the snow
sculptures. To say they are sculptures is a little inadequate as
far as I am concerned. They require all the artistic abilities of
a sculpture, but some of them are 2 stories high and are bigger than a
house! An incredible amount of work goes into creating them.
Maybe tomorrow I will take a drive down and shoot some photos of them.
If not then surely early next week.
Don't know when my
next ride will be. Maybe Sunday, as they are having some races down
at the Range Sno Club and a friend will be down there racing There
are some rumors floating around of another ride next weekend, so that could
be interesting. I sure will be ready if it does play out.
Before I forget.
Anybody up here on Sunday Feb. 13th, our club will be holding it's major
fund raiser, a spaghetti dinner, at the Dreamland Bar from 12 until 6.
This is the main fund raiser and keeps the club financially afloat.
Our club is also the one who maintains the Dreamland Trails so those of
you who have gone on those and had a good time, you know the money goes
to good purposes. I think that tickets are $5, you can get them at
the door or even order ahead from me. Anybody who is not going to
be up here that day, but want to send a donation, that's cool too.
Well, I am quite starved
for new and exciting tails to tell, sorry. Keep checking back, one
of these days, I will have lots of new pictures and stories! I promise.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 2 - "Plans are made...
Plans change". That is getting to be the theme for my riding this
season. I thought that at this moment, I would be zipping down the
trails, enjoying the fresh snow that is falling right now, but alas, it
was not to be. My riding partner for tonight called me to tell me
that he was too exhausted from his 200 mile ride yesterday and needed to
make some repairs to his machine so he had to cancel. I could have
gone out alone, but did not really feel to comfortable doing so at night
so elected to crank up the fireplace and stay home.
Is I said, we are getting
some snow right now. Not a lot, much of it was wasted in the form
of "virga" (precipitation which evaporates before reaching the ground).
Actually had bouts of virga all day and then at about 3:30 boom, it was
snowing. The virga had finally moistened the lower levels of the
atmosphere enough to allow the flakes to reach the surface. In about
an hour we got an inch and it has tapered off to light snow right now.
Still nice to freshen up things around here.
Took a day off from
skiing and decided to rest the body. I might even repeat this resting
process tomorrow, as I think that my arms really needed it the most.
They were a little fatigued from Saturday's ride and then skiing Sunday,
Monday and Tuesday. The hounds did not seem to mind a walk around
the neighborhood instead of an excursion into the woods, they just seem
to make the most of it. Watching them enjoy themselves it got me
to thinking how we humans always seem to be looking for more to make us
happy. I know in this journal I sound like I am living a life of
total bliss. I must admit, I am happier with my life than I have
ever been and have much to be happy for. But just like everyone else
in our species, I have moments of sadness or anxiety that generally revolve
around some sort of "missing element" in my life (more money, a female
companion, new car, more snow!). They are usually few and far between,
but none the less do occur. I combat these moments by using my own
little therapeutic message that I came up with and have shared with some
of my friends and that is: You basically have two options in life
- You can either be happy or not. I know that might sound simplistic,
but it is still the truth. No matter where any one of us is in our
lives, we can either be happy or not, it's our choice.
I usually do a lot
of my thinking on my walks. Seeing the dogs having a fun time and
walking on the roads caused me to come up with another little saying, and
it goes like this: There are no roads to happiness, happiness is
the road. As a really weird coincidence, a good friend of mine sent
me an e mail with a inspirational message that had some very similar wording
to it. Some unique forces working in this universe of ours!
Well, I realize that
this entry is not what most of you were expecting and if any of you were
disappointed I am sorry that I did not have any unique tails to tell from
the Keweenaw, maybe tomorrow. I do hope that maybe my little bit
of inspirational thoughts had a positive effect on some of you. Many
have sent me notes saying I am living their dreams. I do realize
that, as I am living out my dream. I am looking forward being able
to share my dream with someone special. For now, I will enjoy sharing
my dream life with all of you (don't worry, I will not stop sharing it
when I meet that special girl!).
I did manage to hike
up to see what kind of condition the main trail was in by my house and
it was not too bad. It had not been groomed since yesterday and there
were some bumps on it, but I would call them swells, rather than moguls,
as they were far a part and only about 2-4" high. I suppose that
at 60 MPH they might seem a little closer together than when walking at
3 MPH, but still very manageable I would assume. Tomorrow holds the
promise of another possible ride, so who knows? Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
February 1 - Can't remember exactly
how the saying goes, but I think that it is something like this: "The right
tools make for easy work". Climbed up on the roof to clear the other
side this afternoon and after 45 minutes, it was all done. A far
cry from the 4+ hours the other side took with the wrong "tools".
I think that I might even have come up with ways to improve upon the current
design of the snow scoop (yooper scooper). I am always thinking on
ways to simplify and improve the performance of my tasks. I think
it comes from my dad who is great at inventing little ways of doing things.
As a kid, I was always amazed at the devices he was able to conjure up
or the things that he built. As an adult, my amazement's have not
stopped. At the youthful age of 70, he still is designing things
and finding out ways to get the mission accomplished with swifter and easier
abilities. I will look into improving my scooper and let you know
if I succeed.
Not much else exciting
happened today. Mother nature eased me off the snow gently.
The day dawned with light, but steady snow falling. As the day progressed,
the snows became even lighter and more sporadic and by sunset, it was clear.
If the clear skies hold overnight, we are in for a cold one tomorrow AM.
It has been almost
a week since we had what I would call "measurable snow", even though we
did get an inch through the course of the evening before and all day yesterday.
I guess that my transformation into a Yooper is taking hold, as an inch
of snow does not even seem to be measurable snow anymore! I must
admit, I am getting a little stir crazy for the next real snow to arrive.
This current pattern we are in is not a whole lot of fun. To make
matters worse, I anxiously download the most recent run of computer models
every morning, only to see the pattern essentially repeated day after day
after day for the future. Not exactly a pick me upper! I know
that all things change and this pattern too will pass. It is just
getting to me, especially as the winter was so late in arriving here this
year. I just need to be a little more grateful for what I have is
all. 110"+ for the season thus far is not too shabby. Most
places in the Midwest would dream (or freak) at having that much fall all
season. This January did produce fairly close to average snowfall
and we are only about 45-65" behind the average for this time of the year
so I guess things are not really too bad.
The trails are in good
shape. I did not ride, but took a walk up to #3 and it was in good
shape. Some sleds rode by as we were up there and they were not bouncing
around at all. I have a ride planned for tomorrow evening.
The promise of decent trails is good news as I believe we will be sticking
to the DNR trails for the most part. It will actually be a nice change
of pace from all the bush riding I have done lately. Although, given
the choice, I will still choose the bush. Speaking of that, I do
believe that I have developed an addiction to riding the bush. Ever
since my ride last Saturday, I have felt a burning desire to get out there
and do it again. I have talked to some of the other riders and unfortunately,
they do not share in my feelings. Oh well, looks like I will have
to try and get in touch with some other bush riders soon!
Well, I think that
will about do it for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.