JD' s  Snow Journal
October's Journal
January's Journal
Sandy's Mendota Musings
JD's Net Friends
November's Journal
February's Journal
George's Eagle Harbor Web
 Dan's Wilderness Journal
December's Journal
March 30-
    I don't have any compelling words of wisdom tonight, but I did have a few moments of free time so I thought that I would sit down and put fingers to keys (the new millennium's version of pen to paper).
    The snow has been slowly melting over the past couple of days, but it has really been quite a slow melt.  We have already dropped below freezing and it is only 10 after seven, the sun has just set and we are in twilight.  Most of the snow should be gone from my neighborhood by tomorrow, but I know that up where it was over a foot deep, there is still a lot down.  The hours of sunlight are really increasing now.  With the time change Saturday it will be staying light up here until about 8:30 PM and getting light at about 7:15 AM.  It's strange, my move up here took me to a land of more sunlight hours in the summer and less in the winter compared to Chicago.  However, it seems like the amount of more sunlight we get in the summer is greater than what we loose in the winter when compared to Chicago.  At the summer solstice, if I remember correctly, it stays light until about 10:30 or 11 at night.  Kinda neat.  However, it is weird to be going to sleep in broad daylight!
    The other day when we were experiencing that storm, I was able to capture a really neat visible satellite image of it.  At the time this shot was taken, the storm had become vertically stacked, meaning that the surface low was sitting pretty much directly underneath the upper air lows.  Normally, the higher up in the atmosphere you go, the more you have to travel to the west to get to the center of the lowest pressure.  Or in other words, there is a tilt to the west in the column of low pressure as you go up in the atmosphere.  When a low becomes vertically stacked, it can sometimes also have a clear center and this was a classic case of that.  Note the almost clear skies sitting at the eastern end of Lake Superior just to the south of Michipicoten Island.  Put this image out in the Caribbean and it would likely fool just about anybody into thinking it was a Hurricane.  I guess it was our "White Hurricane".  Another neat thing about this storm was that it retrograded for a while, or traveled against the "normal" easterly direction that weather systems have in them.  From the point that this picture was taken, the center of the low moved southwest to about Marquette and then to about Eagle River WI before beginning to take on an easterly component to it's travel again.
    Since I'm sure you all were just fascinated with that last pic, I thought I would thrill you with another.  Today's visible imagery provided me with a good view of the snow cover from the storm early this week.  Normally snow cover does not show up very well up here because so much of the topography is covered in trees and the trees show up as dark returns on the satellite image.  Down south where most of the land is clear of trees, snow cover shows up very well.  Monday's storm dumped such wet snow that it stuck to a lot of the trees and the grayish tint to the ground from Ashland and Iron counties in northeast WI to Marquette county is snow cover.  Some other interesting features you can pick out are: Lake Gogebic, which is the sliver of lighter returns running from north to south in the two western most counties (Gogebic and Ontonagon) of the UP.  The Rousseau Plains to the east of Rockland and the Baraga Plains to the south of Baraga, which also show up as an enhanced area of white.  The streaks of white near Munising are some high clouds moving through at the moment.  All the lakes in western Ontario also show up very well, those are all the white splatterings to the north of Lake Superior.
    I hope you all enjoyed the little satellite tour.  As a weather geek, I get into such things and I love to talk about the weather.  I think that it would be a blast to teach a class in meteorology.  Maybe some day.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 28-
    This entry will most likely make just a few people jealous, but after having my first winter turn out to be the worst riding season on record here in the Keweenaw, I think I deserved this.  As I'm sure most of you know, the Keweenaw was hit by the second biggest snowstorm of the season yesterday.  It was an elevation storm, meaning, the higher up you went, the heavier the snow.  Here at Lake Linden, the deepest it ever got was about 4".  However, up on the hill by Calumet, the snow was 12"+ deep and there were reports of up to 18" of snow in some spots up here.  Had the temps been about 4-6 degrees cooler, all areas up here would have been hit with about 20-25" of snow.
    Anyway, it was enough to take one last, last, last ride.  Some friends of mine were heading up to Calumet to "test".  There is a race at Marquette Mountain this weekend and they want to test different setups for the race.  There were no spots on the trailer so I decided to ride up there an meet them.  As I said, the snow down here in the valley was not too deep.  We had about 3-4" on the ground when I left.  I had to scoot across some bare spots to get to the trail and once on the trail there were a few wet spots on the lower section.  By the time I got to the upper section, I was treated to this.  You can't tell by the picture, but there was about 8-10" down in this spot and I was first tracks.  Lots and lots of fun.  The snow was a little soft, but still it was really great to get out and feel the G's as it hit the throttle.
    A little further up the trail, I was a little higher in elevation and the snow was about 12-14" deep.  The heavier snow also pulled down some tree limbs as well as a few entire trees, but I was able to work my way around all of them and this actually had to be one of the best rides of the year.  Not so much because of the conditions, although they were pretty fun, with a fresh 12-14" of snow to ride through, but because it all came as such a surprise.  I thought that for sure there would have been other tracks out today.  There are still plenty of locals up here who can head off for a late season romp in the woods like I did, but for some reason, no one did and I was the lucky one to track up the fresh blanket covering the trail.
    I met up with my buddies and took a few runs down the testing track.  It is a little embarrassing to get nosed out by a 440 when I was riding a 580, but it is amazing what you can do to a sled to make it go faster.  My sled is 100% stock and could probably use some adjustments to peak it out a little better.  I do plan to put on a track with deeper lugs for next season, as well as have my friend make some modifications to the sled to give it better low and mid range power.  That way I will have a good bush sled.  I am not too concerned with high end speed.  The places I ride the most, you can't really go much faster than 50-60 mph anyway, so having that low end torque and a deeper track will get be through the deeper snow.
    The ride back was even better, as I knew where the wet spots were and was able to avoid them, or hit them with enough speed to skip across them.  The only things that would have made it better would have been a riding partner and more gas!
    As I sit here typing this, I realize that I am very fortunate and am grateful for that.  I also realize that given the way things seem to be shaping up this spring, it may not be the last ride either.  Although, we will begin to melt it off over the next few days and there will be even more water out there to avoid if I do get to go again.  If not, then I got my fix and will be ready for next year.  How many days until December 1st?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 26-
    What a wild past few days of weather we have had!  Thursday was so nice, then Friday gray and gloomy with falling temps.  Not to be outdone, Saturday featured more gray, rain and snow all day, with winds to over 50 mph.  The precip on Saturday was more snow than rain here, but did not accumulate except for a slushy coating on some cars and tree limbs.  My house suffered two casualties due to the winds.  A fascia board worked itself loose and alerted me to the fact with a banging sound, as it hit up against the side of the house and the roof.  I bundled up, grabbed a hammer, some 8 penny galvanized sinkers and the 8 foot step ladder and went out to secure it.  Thanks goodness for today's fowl weather gear.  I manage to stay nice and dry, except for my face which had spray blown onto it from the edge of the roof.  I was quite an experience out there fitting the aluminum flashing back in place and hammering some nails in to hold it, all the while on the top of an 8 foot ladder in 50 mph winds with snow pelting the back of my hood and spray swirling into my face.  I felt like I was in one of those old B/W movies which featured a sailor desperately battling to keep his ship afloat in a tremendous hurricane.  Even the dogs did now want to go out in the weather, opting instead to "hold it" until things cleared up a bit.  Their plan worked, as the skies broke and the winds subsided right at sunset and actually provided quite a magnificent show of reds, oranges and yellows set against a backdrop of different shades of blue.  The other causality to the house occurred at the chimney, where the cap to the fireplace side of the chimney came off.  I did not see this had occurred until late this evening and was able to find the cap, but the sun had set and I did not feel like climbing up to re-attach it.  A new storm is coming later tonight and looks to last into Tuesday, hope the house does not flood down the chimney!
    The waves were huge on the Big Lake yesterday.  Biggest I have seen them yet, even bigger than the storms of last autumn.  It seemed like the winds were stronger too.  I know that my house literally shook a few times and driving the car along the north shore was a challenge at times as well.
    Today was the exact opposite of yesterday, with blue skies and a warm sun heating things into the mid 50's.  The hounds and I took full advantage of things and got in two long walks.  Things in the woods were still very wet from both the melt and the precip of yesterday.  I figure that if we had been about 4 degrees cooler yesterday, we would have ended up with about 6-8" of wet snow, as .51" of precip was measured at the airport yesterday.  Had that storm come about a month ago and done its stuff with temps in the teens or low 20's we would have gotten over a foot of snow.
    A new storm is bearing down on the Keweenaw as I write.  This too would have been an epic snow provider had it come a month or two earlier.  Even now it looks like we could see as much as 6"+ of snow in some spots.  The models are putting out over 1" of liquid equivalent moisture.  Some of it will fall as rain and the snow will also be very wet so accumulations will be kept down by that as well, but I might be able to take a ride later tomorrow or Tuesday if things play out as indicated.
    Gonna sign off for now, it's been a long, but fun weekend and I need to be sharp as a tack at 5:30 AM tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 23-
    It was such a nice day that I thought I just had to tell everybody and even supply a pic or two.  Of course with a day in march in the upper 50's and even low 60's means one place to go... yep, the beach.  Today, Big Traverse got the call, and a good call it was.  We arrived to find a lake surface like glass, with just barely a wind to mix things up.  It was mostly sunny, although some high cirrus and cirrocumulus did move in and filter out some of the suns rays.  Even so, the three of us had a wonderful time.  Like I said in yesterday's journal entry, this beach has a nice long strip of sand and is relatively undeveloped and has some pines and scrub that grow up to the high tide mark.  By high tide I mean storm tide, not lunar tide.  I'm sure there is a slight lunar tide, nothing like you get in the oceans, but the storm tide is really what determines where the beach ends and the forest starts.
    Anyway, we were the only ones out there for the whole time.  A single set of human and dog tracks revealed that the beach had seen some other visitors recently.  We walked about a mile down the beach, taking our time, enjoying the day and making sure to sniff everything (the hounds told me to say that!).  We came to a good spot to take a break and sit for a while.  To my surprise, the dogs just plopped down right next to me and looked out over the tranquil lake right with me.  Usually they don't like to sit still for too long when we are outside.  Too much to do.  I guess they decided that they had seen all they needed to see and sniffed all they needed to sniff for a while and the three of us sat there in the sand and took it all in and let it all go out at the same time.  Once again another one of those moments when I was about as happy to be where I was as I could possibly be.  This place has provided me more of those moments in the past 10 months than I think my entire life leading up to that point provided.  The neat thing about it is they just sort of sneak up on me and overtake me.  I am not looking them, working for them or paying money for them, that is what makes them so special.
    About all the snow is gone, even the piles around my house.  The lakes still have ice on them.  Here is a shot of Rice Lake as I drove by.  Although you won't catch me out there.  At the party last weekend, someone drove their truck out on the ice and it went through.  It was right up along the shore and did not even get it's undercarriage wet, but still had to be pulled out.  The ice it went through was about 2-3" thick and that was about 4 days of warm temps ago.
    It looks like by Saturday it will be back to reality, with highs in the upper 30's to low 40's, maybe even a few flakes of snow, but I doubt any accumulation, I hope.  Boy, I bet you thought you would never hear me say that!  Truth is, it's spring and I am ready.  Given an average year, we would still likely have at least a foot of snow in the open areas and twice as much in the woods and would still be riding.  If that were the case I would be happy.  My dream climate is to have enough snow to play in till mid April, then bring on the 50's and 60's for a month and melt if off and then 3 months of 70's and low 80's with low humidity.  Follow that up with 50's for a month or so and then bring on the 30's and 40's for a month and then let er snow from November through March again.  I have actually just described the average year's worth of weather up here.  Of course you never have a year of perfectly average weather, but something close to it would be just fine with me.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 22-
    Yesterday I talked about looking forward to some warmer weather and today I got a little taste of it.  It was not really warm, but we did break into the low 50's and with the sun, it was really nice.  The sun helped to dry things out and most areas around my neighborhood are dry, with patches of snow left where it was piled up by removal equipment (my front yard) or in places that are in the shade most of the day.  Speaking of my neighborhood, I remembered the item I wanted to talk about yesterday, but could not remember;  There are a couple of retired men in my neighborhood who have tapped many of the maple trees (maples make up about 80% of the trees in the neighborhood) and are collecting the sap to make syrup.  One of them has a license to sell it and I bought some.  It is really good, quite a bit different from the maple flavored corn syrup I buy in the store.  I may have to get some more as they cannot do it in the fall.  I thought you could, but they said no.  Anyway, it is neat to put it on my breakfast and think that it was collected from the trees around the house.
    With the weather so nice, today was most definitely a beach day.  We all piled into the car and headed off to Five Mile Point beach.  I was a little worried that the walking might be a little hard if there was still a lot of snow and ice piled up, but as you could see, the beach was fairly clear, with only some snow and ice right along the waterline.  That sure is a beautiful beach.  Actually,  they all are.  Each one has it's unique and special features.  Bete Gris has the singing sands and the Bear Bluffs in the backdrop, Big Traverse has the long, uninterrupted, sweeping expanse of beach, with some pine and scrub brush up away from the water.  Plus you have views of both the Huron Mountains and the higher peaks of the Keweenaw Range (Bohemia, Houghton, Gratiot).  For the best views of the Huron Range as well as an almost guarantee for solitude (at least during the week) you head to White City.  The north shore from McLain St. Park to Sedar Bay, you have the different sized glacial rocks, mixed with some sand and the occasional agate to walk on, as well as the dense hardwood forest growing right up to the high tide mark.  Plus the waterfalls and creeks running out of the woods into the big lake and all the driftwood.  Plus the north shore is treated to some big waves when the winds are howling out of the west, north or any combo thereof.
    Today's beach was sand and has about a mile of it to walk on.  Plus the occasional piece of driftwood, but not much in the way of rocks.  We got as far as Five Mile Point and took this shot looking north towards Eagle River.  The Sand Hills lighthouse is just to my right and a little behind me from where I took this shot.
    With day's like today, I am really done with the snow.  I mean it.  I really would be most happy if we did not get anymore the rest of the season.  At least not any more than would melt off in a few hours or so.  I am really looking forward to doing things like exploring out in the woods and heading off down the unbeaten path, but we have to wait for things to dry even more.
    I guess that will do it for another day's adventures in the Keweenaw.  Stay tuned for more!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 21-
    I do believe we have entered fully into the mud month.  The hounds and I have been quarantined from the woods until things firm up a little more.  Most of the snow from last Wednesday is now gone.  Although pockets still remain from that snow and the entire winter's snows in spots in the woods.  With temps the next week to ten days rising above the freezing mark, most, if not all of the remaining holdouts should be gone.  Given enough mild and dry days, the woods should actually be able to support some exploration by us.  They could now, but I am too lazy to take the dogs out and then spend the time to clean all the mud off of them.  They have no problems getting muddy, especially the little Tomboy Baileys.  She actually seeks out the puddles and makes sure she hits everyone.  Just her fun loving side I guess.  However, the dogs are not particularly fond of baths or even the garden hose.
    A few more signs of spring are popping up around here in the Keweenaw.  First, I have spotted a lot of seagulls.  I cannot remember seeing any of them here when winter was going on, so they must do some kind of migration.  Secondly, the Coast Guard Cutter "Mackinaw" will be heading up the Portage Canal tomorrow.  I don't know why they take it up the canal to break up the ice.  Even with the ice broken I don't think that the regular coast guard boats will be traveling through the canal.  Today I came up with the speculation that once the ice becomes very unsafe to be on, they just roll the icebreaker through to end anyone's ideas of venturing out onto it.  I don't blame them if that were part of the reason.  No need to be allowing a dangerous situation to exist if you don't have to.  Last year it did not go through until the first of April.  I was up here at that point, making an offer on the home I now live in and remember seeing it go through.  Actually, if memory serves me, it was not even the Mackinaw, but another ice breaker, maybe even a Canadian.  I know that the Mackinaw has been painted all white and the ship last year had the traditional red, black and white markings.  Anyway, it still had a lot of ice to break up, as it was fairly solid all the way through, past the bridge and out towards the lower entry.  This year, the canal is wide open from the eastern edge of Tech to the western edges of Hancock and that area of open water has been getting bigger and bigger.
    With all this talk of spring, I need to mention one last winter phenomenon that I saw last week.  I took the hounds to the north shore and was able to see some active ice volcanos.  There were many in the various stages of development and I think that I have been able to figure out how they form.  I cannot get into it here, as it would require me to use graphical representation, but I do believe I have solved that little mystery.  The snow volcanos turn into the ice castles once they become dormant.
    Back to spring talk.  I realize the real and prolonged warmer air is still a month and a half away, but I am looking forward to the summer up here, having the windows open and being able to sleep with the scent of the pines outside my bedroom window blowing in.  Then it will be a quick 3 1/2 months until the trees begin to change and then, with a little luck, snow in another 2 months!  Ok, so I do have a one track mind.  At least I did indicate I do appreciate the summer months, both of them!
    I know that there is one last thing I wanted to share with you all, but my mind is blank, so I guess I will close for tonight.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 19-
    Wow, I did not realize I had been away for so long.  Three nights off.  Actually two of them I had stuff going on.  I suppose I could have sat down and got something out before going out, but never got around to it.  Our snows from Wednesday are about all gone.  There is still some in the woods, but my back yard is bare.  I never did go out and play in it on the sled.  I think I was a little nervous about taking that one last trip on such marginal conditions.  The sled is currently in the garage, all nice and clean and in fine working order.  I guess I just figured I may as well keep it that way.  The last ride was really a good time and that was a good way to end the season I figured.  I realize that there is still the chance that a major storm could hit, but the way this season went, I am willing to put money on it that it will not happen.  Plus, our average high is now 34 degrees, the sun is very warm and we are putting a degree to the average high every 2 days.  In a month, the average high will be 48 in 2 months it will be 64.  I am actually looking forward to being able to wear shorts and no coat on my walks.  That is still at least a month, maybe more away, but this snow lover has had it for the season and am ready for the beautiful Keweenaw summer of warm days and cool nights.
    Last night I went to a fun party on Gratiot Lake.  It is an end of the season party and usually everyone can ride to it if they want.  A few guys did bring their sleds via trailer, but mine stayed in the garage.  The few that were there basically took runs down the lake in some impromptu drag races and did not head off into the woods.
    The hounds and I have been sharing time between the woods and the beaches.  The woods are a little sloppy, with Wednesday's snow still melting, but with the soils not being too rich and the topography being rather hilly, things do not get too deep out there.  Even so, I will be happy for the mud months to end and the ritual of having to dry off the hounds before they can go into the house also to end.
    For not writing for three days, you would think that I would be full of insight or adventures, but the honest truth is I have been sitting here trying to think of things to say and am at a loss, so I guess I will close for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 15-
    Only a month away from tax time!  Uh OH!  Usually I have my stuff all in to my accountant and am just waiting for him to get it back to me (usually April 14 in the evening!).  This year, I have yet to even get started, I guess it might have something to do with the fact that I am almost positive I will owe.  That's the one bad thing about running your own company (ok so it's a one man show, it's still a company!) refunds seem to be hard to come by, even with the deductions.
    Anyway, I am in good spirits, as we got some snow today.  About 6" fell here.  That was the most in a 24 hours period since January 17!  That says a lot for our winter, or lack thereof.  I did not get out for a ride.  I could have, but just barely.  The snow did not melt at all and with a high of about 20-23 tomorrow, I may go for a quick spin tomorrow, just to say I was able to ride in the middle of March!  I did manage to take part in another of my favorite winter activities, skiing.  The hounds and I took off down the snowmobile trail.  Someone had gone down it, but only one track.  We did not encounter that person or anyone else so I was nice and safe for us to be out there.  I forgot the camera, but did manage to remember it on a walk earlier in the day and snapped some shots of the neighborhood as the storm was finishing up.  I think that I took them as much for me as I did for you.  Come this August when I am really missing the white stuff I can look back at winters last little gift.  This last little gift also put us over the 130" mark, keeping us from breaking that all time record low since the NWS started taking records using their current methodology.  I have discussed this in other entries, that records go back to the 1800's, but the data was noticeably different before the current, standardized methods of reporting snowfall and snow cover were adopted.
    Back to the photo show.  This is a shot looking down my street.  I live at the end of the road, where it dead ends.  Nice and quiet and safe for the hounds to play while I shovel the driveway or cut the grass.  The snow was a dry snow, but fell with very little wind and as a result, all the trees were flocked.  I just love it when that happens.  It was not a heavy enough snow to really drape it on, but it was still neat to see for one last time.  That is one thing that did not occur to the extent that is usually does up here this year.  In past years I have been up here in the winter everything has been just caked with 2-4 feet of snow.  Even things you would never expect, like the tops of fence posts or mail boxes.  Oh well, just another thing to look forward to next year, beginning about Halloween!
    We headed out towards the fields near my house and I took this last shot.  It never ceases to amaze me how the landscape changes with a fresh coating of snow.  Put 3-5 feet down and everything looks different.  This summer I want to find some near roads to ride on next winter, but I may have to become very familiar with them in the summer so I can find them in the winter.  Some of the roads I found last summer would not have been recognizable to me this winter if I had not become so familiar with them.  And the snow did not even get all that deep.
    Guess I will close for now.  But before I do, I will mention that I did post a page to this site which describes my decision for the future.  You can find it by clicking here.  Thanks to all who have already congratulated me on my decision, I am so glad that is brought good feelings towards me and the site.  Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 13-
    With my least favorite season (bug) coming in another month an half or so, I am wondering if this low snow year and early melt might have a silver lining.  That being the fact that the dreaded Black Fly needs clear, running water to multiply.  My hopes are that with the early melt, not as much clear running water will be around once temperatures warm enough to allow the bug breeding season to commence and as a result, not as many as the little pains-in-the-neck will be around.  I got the answer to my rabbit question, it was a snow hare.  Maybe I can get some help with my theory on the bugs, any entomologist's out there?
    The hounds and I took to the north shore for a walk today.  I was amazed to see how the ice castles were basically all gone and very little ice was left along the shore.  The water had eaten away all but the ice right along the shore and it made it safe for the hounds and I to explore the edge of the ice, as the water was only about a foot deep right at the edge.  Here is a look in the other direction.
    It is really neat to walk along the shoreline and see the things that were pushed up by the wave action in the fall and early winter and then buried under the ice and snow.  Not a whole lot of exciting stuff, but still interesting to see football sized rocks sitting on the ice.
    All the melt water creeks are still running and will be for a while longer.  Another treat is to walk along the shoreline and encounter where one of these creeks drops out of the woods, crosses the beach and empties into the lake.  Like I have said in previous journal entries, I was really intrigued when I first encountered one of these creek mouths.  Back down south, there is very little shoreline left untouched.  Even where the shoreline might be left somewhat undeveloped, a bridge or other man made object is usually there to cross or divert the creek.  Up here, almost all of these creeks just tumble out of the wood, totally untouched by man.  They are not too dramatic in most cases, the exception being the mouth of the Montreal River, but just the simplicity of the creek running over some rocks, driftwood, and in some cases a blow down, on it's way to the lake is really worth many minutes of observation to appreciate nature in its original beauty.  With the cold weather we have been having of late, some of the less vigorous creeks have been wrapped up in a blanket of ice, with only a small trickle of water making it through the ice.
    I know that this winter proved to be disappointing for me, with the late arrival of the snows and the early departure, but being able to take walks like I did today still confirms to the the fact that I live in one, if not THE, most beautiful and special places on the planet.  Glad I can share pieces of it with you all.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 12-
    Well, long time no write!  Sorry, a few of the days off were intentional, but I did have plans to make an entry last night, but I was without my internet connection and decided not to write anything since I was unable to upload it.  I guess I need to start out by saying that we had another near miss storm Thursday.  We did get a little snow, but the heavy band slipped about 40 miles to our south.  Places like Ironwood, Bruce Crossing, Baraga and Marquette were the benefactors of that system.  Just another in a long line of disappointing storms this winter!  Interesting to think that some places in southern MO, IL, IN and even into sections of OH saw more snow yesterday than we have seen in almost 4 weeks.  Almost as amazing is the fact that there is still snow on the ground in spots up here.  Most yards are bare.  I still have some, where the snow thrower piled it up and there are even a few spots in by back yard.  Also in the woods, there is still snow on the ground in most spots.  However, most of the logging roads really took it on the chin.  The road that I rode on March 1, is basically unrideable in most places.  I went out there to survey the situation to see if a ride would be possible tomorrow, but decided to put the ride on hold.  We could go if we were really desperate, but I am not really feeling too desperate right now so am not pushing for it.
    Another thing I wanted to make sure I wrote about is the noticeable increase in the strength of the sun's rays in the past several weeks.  Both yesterday and today we remained below freezing.  Actually today I think that we held in the low to mid 20's, but yet the inch and a half of snow we got last night all melted from the ground from the sheer strength of the sun.  I think that is what is most responsible for the loss of snow elsewhere up here.  On my way out to the logging road today I noticed that the side of the road that was shaded from the sun still had snow banks of 2-3 feet on it, but the other side was bare.
    The local inhabitants of my neighborhood (non human) have really become more active over the past few days.  Last night we saw a white rabbit in the yard.  I say we, because at about 2 in the morning, the hounds were going nuts at something outside.  I sat up to look out and saw what was the object of their desire and was impressed to see the white hare.  I don't know if it was just an albino, or maybe some escaped domestic or what.  I seriously doubt that it is an arctic hare, as we are most likely too far south for those.  Maybe someone with more knowledge who reads this journal can fill me in.  At any rate, there has been a marked increase in activity and this had led to many interruptions of my slumber.  This evening, I let the hounds out and they took off after something.  It was a rabbit, and it got away.  They looked to have it trapped, but all of a sudden it jumped free and ran like lightning to freedom.  I doubt it will be venturing into our yard anytime soon.  A word of note.  I did not let the hounds out to get the rabbit, it was there and I did not know.
    After a couple of weeks, I believe I have come to a conclusion as to the fate of this site for next year.  I will not get into it here, as it deserves an explanation of it's own.  Rest assured, the journal is safe from any sort of fee to read it and it was never under any threat in the first place.  This part of the journal has always been a labor of love and something I want to do and I could never think of charging people to read about my life and times in this wonderful place.  I do think that my decision will please most, if not all, persons so stay tuned, as I plan to put out my intentions on a special page this week.
    I almost forgot, I did manage to take some shots of things in the woods on a walk Friday. This is the trail #3 up the hill some from Lake Linden.  A few weeks ago it was able to be ridden and is now about 85% bare.  That shot just happened to be in an area that was only about 20% bare.  This is a shot of a trail that was not groomed, but yet did have some traffic on it and the snow was packed down.  You could certainly ride it, but it is only about a 2 mile stretch.  This is a shot of the same trail a little further down the road.  I guess I can be thankful that there is still some snow for me to get my fix in.  Last night on my way home from going out it was really coming down.  We got about an inch in 30 minutes.  Sure was beautiful.
    Well, it's late and I'm tired and need to get some sleep for Monday.  The 20 foot commute could be a bear!  Sorry, don't mean to rub it in, but after having to make a 50 mile commute each way, sometimes in bumper to bumper traffic, I am most grateful to be able to walk to work and make the commute in my PJ's!  Only to have Bailey's sleep on my feet while I do my morning work.  Doesn't get much better than that.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 8-
    For a weather geek like me, this was one of those days when the satellite imagery, radar imagery and surface reports could not update fast enough for me.  I had an absolute blast watching the low in the Plains do it's thing.  Watching all the ingredients come together to produce a whopper of a low.  I don't know how much snow has fallen in the Black Hills, but I would not be surprised to hear about 2-3 foot totals as this one was a classic for them.  What really cracked me up is to watch the Weather Channel and see how the on air personalities (OAP) just could not see the magnitude of what was happening.  I realize that the population of western South Dakota is not too large, but the are THE WEATHER CHANNEL and weather is weather, regardless of where it is happening.  Some of the OAP's just stood there and pointed out the features of this system like it was an average, run of the mill low.  Put that thing off the coast of NY or MA and then watch them go nuts with live remotes, special team coverage and a regular three ring circus!  Don't get me wrong, I like TWC, they do an excellent job of providing the current status of the atmosphere, but it sure seems to me that the majority of their OAP's are just puppets and do not know a whole lot about the weather.  There is just no way I could have stood in front of a camera, with the radar and satellite imagery being blasted behind me and NOT gone nuts pointing out at least some of the features that were making this storm produce 1-3 feet of snow, 100 mile per hour wind gusts and a temperature drop of 30-50 degrees.
    I also had a lot of fun watching the weather show right outside my windows.  Today broke like many in the past week or so.  Some low level cold in the valley, complete with frost.  By 9 AM, temps warm to the low 40's and it looks like another record breaker.  Throw in some high base scattered thunderstorms for a little excitement and things are rolling.  Then at about 2:30 the temperature dropped from 61 to 41 in 10 minutes!  The change in temperature was so dramatic that the little bit of rain that occurred right along with the drop hit the warm pavement and we had steam just boiling off of the pavement as it was still warm while the air temp was so much colder.  I think that the temperature drop I experienced today was about the most dramatic to date in my life.  20 degrees in 10 minutes is not easy to do.  At one point we were at 41 and Marquette was at 74.
    It has been raining very lightly since the temperature drop and thus the hounds and I have been cooped up in the house.  They are down for the count.  Regardless of how active their day is, they hit the hay at about 6:30, bellies full and the days work done.  I think they take after their Grandfather (my dad), he is famous for his ability to fall asleep in almost any situation soon after dinner.
    I am looking forward to the return of winter.  It sure will come as a shock to the system with the near summer like weather we have been having of late.  I know that a lot of locals were thinking that winter was over and I had my doubts on if we would ever see what the Keweenaw calls winter ever again this season, but it looks like tomorrow morning will prove that there is no doubt winter is still here.  Maybe even get to go for a ride tomorrow afternoon.
    Have to head off to the snowmobile club meeting now so will close.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 7-
    Well, I was going to skip today, but ended up with some free time so decided to sit down and put my thoughts and experiences of the day to words.  A very warm one today.  The airport got to 61 and the Harbor (Copper Harbor) rose to 58.  I believe the 61 was a new record and that would make 5 days in a row.  Tomorrow might make it 6.  Very unusual anytime, anywhere to break 6 record highs in as many days.  My thermometer sat at about 60 when I had to leave to head to tech for a seminar and I bet it rose more than that.  I was almost tempted to wear shorts on the afternoon walk today, but opted not to.  The poor hounds really get warm on the walks, as they are still sporting their thick winter undercoat.  They are inside dogs, so their coats are not as thick as if they spent most of their time outside.  But I also keep the house cool in the winter so that they will not overheat and I think that they do develop a pretty thick coat.  They have not begun to shed more than usual as of yet, so they must know the cold is not yet over.
    The warm temps have caused the juices to flow in the maple trees and buckets are out and the trees in the neighborhood are tapped.  A few locals make their own syrup and today we walked by the boiling station.  I hope to be able to get me some when it is ready.  One of the guys sells it and is licensed to do so.
    Another thing I have been noticing on my walks is that the forest sure has come alive with scent.  I don't know if it is because I am able to smell better with the warmer temps or that the forest itself is emitting more scent now that it is warm or maybe a combination of the two.  I think that it is a combination of the two.
    In about 30 hours, things will be changing rather dramatically, as winter looks to make a comeback.  It looks like the bare spots might even get covered up with several inches of snow by Thursday PM.  Then the snow looks to last, as temps look to sit below freezing for the rest of the week and into the weekend and possibly even into early next week.  Currently, a host of winter weather advisories are up for the Dakotas and western MN with everything from winter storm watches to winter storm warnings to blizzard warnings.  Just when I was getting use to the spring weather!  Not complaining though.
    Two last tidbits to share before I close.  Both revolve around my trip down to the big cities (Houghton/Hancock).  Number one, the canal is open in spots.  Wonder if that is a record.  Two, I sat in my first real traffic jam since moving up here and it was a doosy.  They have the bridge under reconstruction right now and it is down to one lane in each direction.  I got to sit in my car for an hour while traveling from the western side of Tech to the bridge, about a mile in distance!  What a mess that is going to be!  Just another reason to say out of the hustle and bustle of Houghton and stay up here where things are more laid back and quiet.  Although I do have several more seminars at tech.  Maybe I will just take my car and park it on the other side of the bridge and ride my bike to the seminar, then ride it back to the car and drive the 10 miles home.  I would ride the bike all the way, but it will likely be too cold and my seat is just too hard.  Such the problems I have to deal with!  Guess that will do it for another night.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 6-
    I'm not going to pull a fast one and put the 5th's date on this entry was well, even though much of this entry will be about what happened yesterday.  The truth is, I will be slowly making the transition into the warm season version of this journal.  I will be making entries to the journal all year round, but as we head away from the snow season, it will be updated every few days rather than every day.
    Anyway, I did take my last, last ride yesterday with friends from town as well as a few locals from other parts of the Keweenaw.  I say last, last ride as it was the last ride after my last ride.  With the way the weather goes up here this time of the year, there may be one last ride after those two!  It actually ended up being quite a group.  I think that there were about 13 or 14 riders in all.  I think the notion that this really could be it for the year brought everyone out.  We started out at Gratiot Lake and rode the woods to Lac  La Belle.  The snow in the woods was still good for riding, as about 10-12" were down in most spots.  The creek crossings were a lot more interesting than they were a few weeks ago, but still nothing deeper than 6" and if you hit it just right did not even get the windshield wet.  From Lac La Belle we jumped on the DNR trail to head to the next local trail.  The DNR trail was almost impassible, at least if you were looking for snow.  It was about 50% snow covered and you had to jump from side to side to try and ride in as much snow as possible.  My carbides were basically shot anyway, so I did not mind the bare ground so much.
    Once off the groomed and well traveled DNR trails we found ample snow to ride in again.  This is the "local" trail up to the top of Mt. Houghton.  It really is more of a footpath and not even wide enough for a car.  At times, I had about an inch or less on either side of my skis to get in between the trees.  Made for some fun riding though as you really had to be on your toes and fun to play a little "chase" through the trees as well.  I really wanted to get to the top of that mountain, as it is about the highest point that far north and I knew it would provide a scenic vista.  Actually it is only one foot taller than the more famous Mt. Bohemia just to its west.  My aspirations of a scenic vista were not let down as can be seen in this shot of the view south out over Bete Gris Bay and Point Isabelle.  Way off in the distance and barely visible on the horizon were the Huron Mountains.  Off to the right and out of the shot was the Gay stack and even Traverse Island. The view east was equally as impressive, with the Bear Bluffs in the foreground, Keystone Bay and Keystone Point in the middle and Keweenaw Point and Manitou Island almost at the end of the view.  The last two features are not able to be seen in the photo.  It was the first time I had ever seen those two features, even if it was from several miles away.
    On the way back down we detoured to find some places to play in the snow.  We spent some time in an area where you could again weave your way up and down a 200-300 foot hill.  Two separate logging trails provided the turn around point and the pathway to find a new way up or down through the grove of trees.  Above the upper logging road were some cliffs, one of the members decided to try and ride up them and this was the result.  I don't know if you were able to see the sled right at first.  If not it is in about the center of the picture, right above the head of the fella on the right.  The rider is standing to the left of the sled.  The shot did not really do justice to the slope of the hill.  Like I said it was more of a cliff than a hill.  Where he got stuck, it was about a 65 degree slope.  That may not sound too steep, but once I arrived at the sled.  I could stand with my feet equal to the back of his track and touch his headlight without bending down or leaning over at all.  It took 6 of us (what was left of the group at that point) to keep the sled from crashing down the hill.  I actually ended up loosing my grip on the snow and took a tumble and ended up stuck under the sled, between the skis.  They had to lower the sled down so that I could get out, it was too steep for me to be able to climb up and out.  Here is another shot from below, I wish I had taken one from the side to show just how steep the slope was.  Of course the common question amongst the group to the rider was; "What the ()#@% were you thinking?".  His reply was that he started up and was having too much fun to stop.  That seemed to make sense to all of us and we had lots of good laughs as we lowered it down.  If he had, by some miracle, made it to the top, I have no idea what he would have done then, as there was no way anyone could ride down it.  The grove of trees below the clearing he was riding up would have made for certain disaster.  Maybe we'll find out next year.
    All the sleds and riders made it back to the starting point in once piece and there was not even any damage (save for one little, minor rollover).  Really an accomplishment when you think of the conditions, amount of riders and exactly who was riding!  My only war wounds were a pair of shin splints.  I did not even know it was possible to get those while riding, but I did manage to wake up with them.  I talked to some others in the group and their damage ranged from a few bruises to such sore leg muscles that walking was almost impossible.  Another sign of a successful trip.
    Today was either a near record or new record high for the Keweenaw.  My thermometer read 55 in the shade this afternoon and the bank sign in the sun read 62.  The 62 is only close to 40 degrees above average.  Take that departure the other way and the high for the day would have been about 15 below.  That helps to put things in perspective a little.  I made the most of the day and washed all the mud off of my sled and the friends sled who lent me space on his trailer yesterday.  A clean sled is a happy sled, even in 55 degree weather.  Readings look to be even warmer tomorrow and Wednesday looks to be quite warm as well.  Thursday it is back to reality, with cold and some light snow.  I have to admit, even with the beautiful day, one last storm of 12"+ would be nice.  I still have a few quarts of 2 cycle I'd like to use up before the summer.  I know it will keep, but trying to fish for an excuse to ride one last, last, last time!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 4-
    Another wonderful spring day in the Keweenaw, too bad we should still be in winter.  But enough of that already.  I was able to get some springtime chores done today, like taking down the christmas lights and sweeping the mine fields in the back yard.  No questions as to where those 40 pound bags of dog food have been ending up!
    I did manage to take a walk along the north shore with my two buddies today.  Things still frozen up pretty good right along the shore, but not nearly as they were a few weeks back, when as far as you could see was pack ice.  Now things are melted right up to the ice castles.  Lots of melt water creeks also spilling out of the woods and into the lake, carving mini canyons through the snow and ice still packed in along the shore.  Sorry no pics, I forgot to bring the camera.
    Last night I went to the local watering hole to chat with whoever was there.  It is really nice to be able to walk in and know that I will likely see someone I know.  Of course with most people now knowing my profession and with the highly unusual weather we have been having, the conversation revolves around the weather.  I don't mind.  Even watching the weather all day long does not cause me to want to escape talking about it once the work day is over.  I am truly fascinated by it.  Stories gravitated towards the big snow years of the past, something I just love to hear about.  My conversation partners told me about the years when most people had to dig holes down to their first floor windows so that some sunlight could get in.  THAT is something I hope to experience sometime.  Am I nuts or what?!
    The Lake Linden boys are teaming up with the Keweenaw Boys for one last ride.  I sure hope we can find some snow!  I trust that these guys know of some spots, as they seem fairly confident.  I am debating on if I should wear shorts for the ride or not.  We look to be pushing 60 tomorrow.  At least to the south of Houghton.  We will be riding up closer to the tip of the peninsula, but even still, highs will be pushing 50 there.  Something tells me I will be giving the sled a good washing Monday to get all the mud off of it!  No matter where we go, we will be sure to find at least a little mud.
    Monday also looks to be the inaugural day for the grill.  The thaw has resurrected it from the snow and I think that a nice juicy steak is called for.  May as well make the most of our early summer!  Looking at the latest round of models it looks like winter will show it's face up here as well as into much of the northern Midwest by the second half of next week.  Locals also talk about some monster storms which hit up here in March.  I think that I have been told about the St. Patty's day period a hundred times.  We'll see if it comes true.  With that in mind, I will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 3-
    Today provided me with quite a bit of free time, especially after our afternoon walk and I decided to sit down and read my own journal.  Interesting stuff, if I can say that without sounding too arrogant.  It was also interesting to try and remember some of the events I wrote about.  Some I was able to recall as clear as yesterday and others were more of a blur.  As I got deeper and deeper into November, it was interesting to read about my thinking while we were breaking the low snow records then.  Little did I know that the rest of the season would follow suit!  I am thinking that this had to have been one of, if not THE shortest snowmobile seasons on record, as the snows came late and left very early.  8 weeks of riding by my count.  Normal grooming should be 17 weeks and you can usually add another 2-4 weeks onto that for riding as a whole.  In any rate, we are also very close to seeing the lowest seasonal snowfall at both the airport and the measurement site in Delaware.  I seriously doubt that we will set those records, as we are only a couple of inches away at the airport and one or two spring storms away from the record at Delaware.  But as long as the season is basically over, I say lets break the record.  Fitting end to my first winter here!
    Watching the snow leave has been an experience in itself.  Slowly, but steadily, things once buried under a fairly deep layer of snow are once again emerging.  In some cases it is dramatic, like an automobile which is out of commission.  In other cases it is less dramatic, but equally as unique, such as a pine cone.  Also interesting to note is that these objects were frozen in time and space.  The hounds and I took a walk on the beach today.  Almost all the snow is gone, but a few patch still remain where it had drifted.  In the areas that had no snow, it was unique to see even tire tracks that were made in the sand before the snow came still there now, 3 months later.  Almost a spooky sight to see the tracks go along and then disappear under a bank of snow, only to re-emerge on the other side of the bank.  The one thing bad about this uncovering of things once buried in the snow is sitting in my back yard courtesy of the hounds!  One of these cold mornings I will have to get out there and sweep the mine field.
    Speaking of the hounds and the beach, I did manage to bring the camera along on our little walk today.  For some reason I was a little burnt out in trying to find new snow to play in and it was a sunny and mild day so I thought that the beach would be fun to go to.  The kids loved it.  Even managed to get in for a dip.  A saying I like to use is: "You can lead a Lab to water... You just can't keep them out of it".  The water is still a bit cold for daddy.  Say by about 45 degrees!  Really strange to think that 10 days ago I was riding my sled through some pretty deep snow out here.  I must say that stepping onto the beach this afternoon, with the water lapping at the sand and the sun beating down, it did make me look forward to the summer afternoons that will be spent out there relaxing and tossing the stick for the labs to fetch.  Just one of the many things to look forward to this summer.
    After their dip and about 30 more minutes of walking, we all decided a break was in order.  Sitting in the sand and looking out over the water, with the Huron Mountains in the background I was once again thrown into one of those moments when I felt eternally grateful to be blessed to be here and not stuck in the steel, glass and concrete jungle somewhere.  I have landed in a magical place.  A few hours up here and you will know what I mean.  It has riches that no man could buy or produce, that is what makes it to magical.
    While sitting there, I was able to snap a few shots of the hounds relaxing in the sun and sand after their swim.  Here's Burt and here's Bailey's, sort of caught her right as she was getting ready to smile!
    Hope everyone is enjoying all this great spring weather.  Don't know if it will last like this too much longer.  But then of course, in another month or so, this will be average for the time, so I guess we don't have too long to wait even if winter does decide to show it's face again.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 2-
    I do believe yesterday's ride was good medicine for me, as I do not have the burning itch to get out there and I could actually handle seeing the rest of the snow go away without any further depression.  I think that knowing that yesterday's ride was likely my last made me savor each twist and turn and little bump.  Like I said, it was not my intention to put on 100 miles, I was going for quality and not quantity.  I do realize that we may not be done for the year with snow, but am no longer holding to any threads of hope and am ready to hit the beach in my shorts and watch the hounds fetch sticks out in the lake.
    But today, since there is still snow out there, we had to take advantage of it and went for a ski.  We had a hard freeze this morning and for most of today the temps stayed close to freezing.  There was one area that I really wanted to try and ski once the snow firmed up.  It is a place that the hounds and I skied many, many times this winter, but there was also a big field, but during the winter, the snow was way too deep for the hounds to get through.  I knew that the freeze/thaw cycle this spring would create a hard pack and the hounds would be able to go anywhere I did on the snow.  Today was the day to hit that field.
    To get to the field, we had to ski a trail that went through the woods.  Still plenty of snow on that trail.  At least 8-12".  It would not be good for riding as it is very short and there is a big blow down about halfway through.  The hounds loved it, as once they realized that they could go anywhere on the frozen snow, they took to the woods!  That was Burtie on his way from a scouting expedition, and here is Beezy doing a little forestry work.
    We got to the field and made our way up into it.  There was not really anything special to the field itself.  It was just one of those places that I wanted to explore and see what was on the other side.  Because the field was out in the open, it did not collect as much snow during the winter and also was exposed to the sun during the thaw and thus had quite a few bare and wet spots.  These made navigation through the field a little more challenging, but we made it through OK.
    The field was bordered by classic keweenaw woodlands.  Actually, this particular area of woods included more softwoods (conifers) than hardwoods, but still deserved a picture for everyone to enjoy.  Also bordering the field on one side is the Dreamland snowmobile trail.  It is interesting to see how the snow also stays longer where it had been compressed down by the snowmobiles and grooming equipment.  This trail was actually in much better shape as it did not get the wear and tear that the main DNR trails got.  With the exception of some areas which are likely wet, this trail would be totally ride able yet.  Here is a shot of the trail as it heads back into the woods.
    On the way back to the car, we passed one of the many little creeks that pop up during the spring thaw.  I just couldn't help myself from taking off the skis, walking down to the little creek and snapping a shot of how gorgeous it was.  Most of these little creeks dry up by the middle of summer and this past winter, I did not even know that anything of that nature was down there as it was covered with 3-4 feet of snow.
    Lots of pictures today.  I filled the camera's memory, otherwise there would have been even more.  The final stretch of trail to the car was a bit exciting, as it was downhill.  The surface was pretty much a hard pack snow, almost ice and I do believe I set a new land speed record for cross country skis!  I literally flew right past the dogs who were both running as fast as they could, which is a lot faster than a human can run!  Thankfully I was able to come to a stop before reaching the road, or I would likely still be picking gravel out of my wounds!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -
March 1-
    Well, I can't believe another month has come and gone.  I realize it is a short one, but still, it seems like only a week or so ago that I was redoing this page for the new month of February.  Anyway onto the news of the day...
    I got my final ride of the season in!  My friend came through and we hit the trail this afternoon.  I really got spoiled living were I do and being able to open up the garage door and drive my sled right to the trail.  That trailering stuff is for the birds!  Actually it was not too much of a hassle, but did take up time that could have been spent riding.
    The area we rode in was the same spot the hounds and I skied in yesterday. The only problem with today's ride was that the camera died on me after only 3 pictures.  It was just the battery again and the pictures I took were stored in memory, so at least we have that.  However, I could have taken more and even wanted my buddy to take one of me, but alas, it was not to be.
    Had a little bit of a scare at the start.  We pulled up to where the logging road intersects the road we were driving down and look down the trail to see a set of ATV tracks.  Not sure if many of you have ever seen what an ATV can do to a snowmobile trail, especially if the snow is soft as it was today, but it is not pretty.  I was a little upset, as the trail yesterday was mint, and today there was a set of 6" wide ruts in it, almost to the ground.  I let my anger simmer some and kept in mind that the person riding the ATV had as much right to be out there as we did.  I just became disappointed that the pristine trail that I had hoped to ride was now tracked up.  We unloaded, suited up and headed down the trail.  We did not even get a mild down the trail when we came to the spot where the ATV had turned around and headed back out.  I believe he/she did not feel too comfortable riding out there, with their tires sinking in so much and all alone so we had the rest of these woods to ourselves to track up!  Actually, our sleds barely even made tracks, especially later in the day as the temps dropped to the upper 20's and everything began to freeze up.
    We did not ride hundreds of miles today.  I doubt we could have even if we wanted to.  The riding was a little tricky, as the snow was soft at the beginning of the ride and made for some different responsiveness in handling.  As things froze it made things different even more.  For those of you who did not read yesterday's journal, do so and you will be treated to some pics of the trail we rode on, especially at the beginning of it.  For those of you faithful followers, here is a new pic of the sleds out in the woods today.  As I believe I mentioned before, the trail we were on was actually a logging trail.  The main path was fairly well traveled, or at least looked to be.  With the thaw, no new tracks were on the snow and the old ones were just a blur on the surface.  Anyway, it was still fairly clear to see where sled had gone over.  There were also many, many side trails that branched off the main path.  It was my plan to try and stay on the main path as far as we could and then turn around and take each side trail up as far as we could, that way we would minimize our risk in getting lost.  Neither of us have a GPS and there are really a ton of trails to get you confused if you just go all over and not pay attention or have a plan.  We did actually mistake a turn and made a loop twice, but once on the loop for the second time we both knew where to turn when we got back to the place we had made the wrong turn.
    It is amazing to be riding along a nice, wide path and all of a sudden have it end.  That last shot was one of the spots where the trail came to an end.  One nice thing about this type of end is that there really is no question about it.  It is not like the path gets more and more narrow and it becomes harder and harder to get through or even tell where it goes.  You just hope that there is enough room to turn the sled around so that you don't have to drag it around.  Most of the dead ends actually had places to turn around.  We also took the opportunity at a few of these turn around to stop for a refreshing beverage.
    Here is the last shot of one of the spots on the trail we were riding today.  I was planning to take more, but the camera had different ideas.  All told we did about 30 miles in 2 1/2 hours.  As much as half the time was spent shooting the bull at our pit stops.  I had a very good time, it was not my intention to ride a ton of miles, just to get out for one last ride.  Sort of taking that last run down the slope, or that last wave in.  I think that it was repeated in my mind how lucky I was to be out riding when others were stuck in a cubicle or other place doing something that they would rather not have to be.  This may have been the last ride of the season, or maybe not.  Either way, it more than lived up to expectations.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD  -