Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
February 28-
    Last day of the month, so it must me time for a journal.  Actually, if I did not do not tonight, I do not know when I would have time.  Hooking up in the afternoon with a snow tour and then out all day Saturday on another and if we get hammered later Saturday and into Sunday (as looks possible) I will want to go bust powder Sunday, soooo here I am.
    Went for a ride yesterday.  I did get to try out my new head gear.  Worked good.  It took some getting use to, but now I like it better and I am going to love it in the powder.  We did not do that much deep powder riding yesterday, but in the powder we did ride in, no problems.  Yesterday's ride was different from the day before.  The snow had settled some and we did not ride in too many areas where it would have been deep.  We did get in some jumping, here's Brian catching a bit of air.  Here's everyone swirling around at 6's and 7's.  Here's Al catching a bit-o-air.  Looks like his carbides are just fine.
    After playing in the fields for a while, we headed into the bush.  I did not have much of an opportunity to take many shots when we wee doing that riding.  We were always moving and I need some time to get the camera out of my pocket, turn it on and snap a shot.  Not something that can be easily done while twisting and turning through the trees.  We got to some hills and proceeded to get stuck while trying to climb them.  At one point, all three of us were stuck and that provided enough time for me to snap a shot.  Here is a shot of Brian with his stuck sled, next to my sled that is also stuck.  I almost made it, but it did get a little steep at the top.  The second attempt was successful, I made it to the top.
    Today was a work day.  The past 2 days of playing caused tasks to pile up and so I had to stay in and get them done.  Turns out I had too much to get done because I still have some left undone and after I finish this journal, I'm heading off to sleep.  One of the jobs left to do is add some guest shots.  So if you sent me some shots and they have not yet shown up, have faith, they will.  I did take time off from my work for long enough to take the hounds for a ski.  They had to settle for some short walks the past two days because of my snowmobiling so I wanted to give them a chance to get out into the wood and get some exercise as well.  We went off to the school forest.
    This weather in the Keweenaw never ceases to amaze me.  An arctic front was passing through and it created some real funky weather.  All morning I watched some interesting features develop out over the lake in association with the front and cold air behind it.  In order to see these features, I had to use the satellite imagery.  Anyway, what I saw was both a convergence band and also a meso low.  I''ll give you a bit of a meteorology lesson on both.  A convergence band is a band of clouds and sometimes very heavy lake effect snow that develops in an area where the winds near the surface are converging.  The converging winds cause the air to rise and that rising motion when combined with other favorable factors for lake effect snow can cause some pretty heavy snow.  The shot in the past front of house shots section taken Feb 3rd was when a convergence band was passing through.  Today's' convergence zone passed through at about 2:45. right when we were on our ski.  5 minutes before it hit, the skies were actually partly cloudy and the sun was actually out.  Then the skies off to the northwest darkened, just like a summertime thunderstorm and within a minute or two, some flakes were falling.  Then after about 20 seconds of the start of the flurries, the snow started really coming down.  I could actually watch the snows float to the ground, with mainly clear air at one level and an almost white out further above.  When the heaviest band finally reached the ground, it was like a whiteout.  1/8 mile S+ (eighth of a mile visibility, heavy snow).  This particular convergence band was not too wide, only about 10 miles or so, so the heavy snow did not last too long, maybe 10 minutes, then the sun was out again.  Within another 20 minutes, several more snow squalls hit and then at about 5 pm, it just kept up snowing and we have picked up about 4-5" new.
    The other feature, the meso low forms when the cold air moves out over the warmer lake waters.  The warmer waters cause the air to rise and that rising motion causes a small, or meso, low to form.  It will show up on a satellite image as a small swirl in the lake effect clouds.  I did capture a satellite image this afternoon that shows both of these features.  The convergence band is just below the text saying convergence band, while the meso low is just to the upper left of the text saying meso low.  You can also see some clouds in the far northern Arrowhead of MN and just to the north of the Arrowhead.  That was an area of mid level moisture and lift that became our snows from 5 pm through present.  Pretty neat stuff huh?  Well, at least I think it's cool.
    The snow made for a very enjoyable ski.  It is always fun to head off into the woods and quietly glide through them, but it becomes extra special to do it when the snows are falling too.
    I have only one more item to share with you.  I got an e mail from someone that asked if I could post a message in hopes of contacting some good Samaritans that helped him out.  So bear with me here, if you are the persons he is looking for or you know of these people, go ahead and contact me and I will pass along his e mail so that you may contact him.  Here is his message: "Two years ago (1-15-00) I wrapped my XCR 800 around a tree at 80+ MPH.  Lucky to be alive, I laid there with a compound fracture of my femur and a shattered hip. By some stroke of luck, a couple of paramedics and their families happened to be the next group of sledders coming up the trail. These guys stabilized my leg, their wives laid their coats over me, and in general, were able to convince me that it would all be OK. They told me they were from down state, as am I, however I didn't get any names or numbers. They stayed with me until my buddy returned with the ambulance, and I never saw them again. I was hoping that maybe they would read this and contact you so I could somehow try and thank them in person. The accident (my fault) happened at just before 11:00 A.M. on 1-15-00 approx. 5 miles South of Taquamenon Falls on the Newberry trail.
    Looks like that is it for now, until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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February 26-
    Holy Wa!  It's winter up here!  In the past 3 days we have picked up about 18" here at my house and I can tell you that there is a lot more up in the higher elevations of Keweenaw County.  We were up there riding today and it was fanny deep.  Before I get to the ride, I have a picture to share from a ski the hounds and I took yesterday.  We had already picked up about 7 new inches of new snow so the woods were very pretty.  The trees were getting pretty flocked and everything had a nice coating of fresh snow on it.  It was a good ski, a little tough as the snow was a little sticky and deep, but we got through just fine.
    Now on to the ride today.  As I said, we have picked up about 18" new, 7 of it was pretty dense snow that fell by yesterday morning, then 7 of it fell as powder by this morning, with another 4 during the day today.  It was snowing pretty hard where we were riding and I bet that they picked up closer to 20-22".  It was just 3 of us, friends Ken and Bryan.  Ken lives in the Lake Linden area and rides a souped up MXZ 700, Bryan is actually the local DJ who I talk about the weather with live on the radio every morning.  If you are up here during the week, tune in 97.7 at about 10 till 7 and you will hear me live.  Bryan rides a Mountain Max 700.  I decided to head north because the way the lake effect was setting up, I knew that areas north of Mohawk would be getting pounded.  We took the bush up into Keweenaw and stopped to take a break and snap a picture of the fresh powder.
    It wasn't too long before we were in one of my favorite play spots, the pole line.  It also did not take long for Kenny to roll his sled, once we got out onto the pole line.  Here's a shot of Bryan and Kenny trying to roll the sled over.  No damage done, as the powder was deep enough to absorb the windshield and hood without crunching them.  I rolled my sled later in the ride and did not have any damage either.  The roll over did not dampen Kenny's spirits at all and soon he was back at it - busting powder, flying some jumps, and getting stuck.  Deep huh?  After getting him unstuck, I walked into the trench and he took a shot of me in it to illustrate how deep it was.
    I have to say that in a way, I almost wish it was not that deep.  I have a heated shield on my helmet.  It has worked very well in keeping the shield from fogging up.  Today it broke and was a disaster.  As soon as we got into the deeper snow it fogged up and I could not get it to unfog, no matter what I did.  Put it on the engine to thaw it out.  Dried off the shield, it did not matter, it would fog up in a matter of seconds once the powder started flying over the sled.  And I mean flying over the sled.  Here is a shot of me riding through the powder, you cannot even see my sled.  I also encountered a problem with my sled.  The air filter that sits under the dash of my sled and catches the powder trying to get into the air box is missing, so the sponge filter sitting on top of the air box would fill up with snow and choke my sled.  I ended up fouling several plugs due to this.  So while it was fun, it could have been better without these problems.  I ended up having to ride with the shield up.  Every time the nose of the sled dropped just a bit, the snow would hit me in the face and I had to stop and wipe off about an inch of snow from my face.  My eyes are still a little sore from the snow hitting them.
    Seeing as though it is still snowing and I will be riding in some deep powder tomorrow, I went out and bought a new setup for my head.  Thankfully Keweenaw Motor Sports was still open and I ran up there and they took good care of me.  I have heard that wearing an open face helmet with goggles almost guarantees that you will not fog up so that is the new setup I have.  I'll tell you all how it works after tomorrow's ride.  I have seen others riding with that type of setup and they did not have fogging problems.  I could also have bought a modular helmet, but that seemed a bit expensive and fragile way to go.  With the type of riding we do, it seemed like the open face was the way to go.
    Bryan seemed to be feeling a little left out so he went and got himself stuck too.  It did not seem fair to only have a shot of Bryan getting stuck, so I also snapped a shot of him busting some powder.
    Both Bryan and Ken had fogging problems and believe it or not after about an hour playing out there, we all decided we had had enough and headed back down to the DNR trail.  We rode that for a bit, then stopped off at a bar to warm up and thaw out a bit, then headed back home.  All in all, it was a great ride, we were basically making first tracks the whole way and the snow was deep.  Plenty deep.  I am glad that we did not overdo it, as I feel ready to go tomorrow.  I plan on going Friday, Saturday and Sunday too.  Maybe Thursday will be a day of rest.  Maybe.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 24-
    I have to start this entry out with an apology.  In the past few journal entries, I had some shots of the trails up here.  They were all of the same trail and showed a trail that was flat and nice and snowy.  Well, it turns out that there were other areas that were not quite as good.  We had a KSE tour yesterday and I went along for part of it.  On my way home, I took the trail for a little bit and what I encountered was not good at all.  The trail from Gay to Mohawk was bumped up pretty good.  Not a disaster, but still not to be fun on.  Then when I got to the main trail that runs from Calumet to Mohawk, it looked like a dirt road and not a snowmobile trail.  My first thought was of the pictures I posted, showing nice, flat and white trails.  My second thought was - I have to ride in that crap?!  I rode through the snow and mud for about a mile or so and then hopped off on a "short cut" down to Lake Linden.  The short cut had plenty of snow, some bumps from other locals riding it, but at least snow and not mud.  So I am sorry if I misled anyone as to the conditions up here.  It was certainly not my objective, I thought I was showing what the majority of the trail system was like and I was wrong.  I did shoot back up to the trail where I took the shots and it was worse than when I had taken the pictures, but still was about 90% snow and about 10% dirt and pretty flat.
    It has been snowing since late morning.  Initially the snow was only accumulating on the snow already on the ground.  Temps were just warm enough to cause it to melt on the roadways and vehicles outside.  Areas where the snow was accumulating, it was about an inch deep by about 3 pm.  At that time, the temps cooled enough to allow the snow to accumulate on everything and we have picked up about 3-4" since then.  So it is snowing at the rate of an inch an hour.  Not torrential, but a respectable clip.  It looks like we will probably be in this snowfall rate for at least another 5-7 hours, then it will lighten up a bit, but I would bet that we should pick up an additional 5-8" on top of the 3-4" we have already received, making for a 8-12" snowfall by tomorrow morning.  We could pick up a few more inches tomorrow and then the lake effect looks to kick into gear by tomorrow evening and continue through most of Tuesday.  I would suspect another 6-12" of LES could fall, maybe more if we are lucky.
    Needless to say I am a happy camper, but I was a little anxious for it to come today.  It had been over 3 weeks since we saw more than 3-4" fall at a time.  A rather long dry spell for this neck of the woods.  I was happy to see other areas like northern WI and the central and eastern UP get their heavy snow, but I was wondering when, or if we would get ours.  Initially it looked like this storm would miss us to the south and east, giving us a glancing blow and 1-4" of snow.  Then the models started to shift the band of heaviest snow north and west.  I started to get excited by this prospect yesterday and when I awoke this morning and looked at the satellite, radar and computer guidance it looked very good for us here in the Keweenaw.  The radar did show echoes over our region and from about 8 am on, I kept looking out the window about every 3 minutes to see if it was snowing.  This started to drive me a little batty, so after having breakfast and taking the hounds for a short walk around the hood, I decided to focus my nervous energy on something productive, so I started cleaning the house.  After cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom I turned my attention on the bathroom, then the living room, then my office, then my bedroom.  I even ended up shampooing the carpet in my bedroom.  A few weeks ago I bought a carpet shampooer and it has turned out to be a great investment.  Makes my carpets look like new and it is so nice to not have to rent one.  Anyway, it did start to spit some flakes at about 9 am and then by noon it became actual light snow.  Like I said, it did not start to accumulate on everything until about 3 pm, but we are going good now.
    Back to yesterday's KSE ride, we did have a pretty good ride, considering the conditions.  We went over to a secret play spot to do some jumping.  This place is so secret that most locals do not even know it is there.  Kind of nice, because we can almost always be guaranteed to be the first tracks in there and there are some nice hills and gullies to play in.  Here is a shot of one of our clients catching a little air.  Here is another, without the air, but a face full of snow.  You know you're having fun when you end up with a face full of snow.  After the secret play spot, we took to the bush and found some untracked logging roads to play on.  I am glad that guys like Al and Brian know the bush so well up here.  With the lack of snow and warm temps in the in the past 3 weeks, it has become a real challenge to find fresh snow.  Some of the more popular spots for locals and visitors that venture into the bush are more like ungroomed trails.  All packed down, but bumped up too.  With the next few days presenting fresh snow, that will not be a problem for a week or two.
    I just have one last shot to share, I actually took more, but for some reason they did not turn out.  It was to bright out in the field to view the taken shots through the LCD.  I wish I had been able to tell because they were shots of Al catching some big time air.  Oh well, just gives us an excuse to get back out there and do it again.  I have already talked to him and it looks like we'll be heading over Wednesday.  I hope to ride before that for sure!  Here is the last shot, a group photo taken on the south shore.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 21-
    The hat trick!  Sheesh, when was the last time I did that?  Don't answer, I don't want to know!  This will likely be a short one as I don't have a lot to share with you, but Brian and I took a ride and did some playing and I took some shots, so I thought I would share them with you.  I was going to go on a KSE ride, but they already had two guides going and I thought three would be a crowd.  Brian actually came over at about midday and said he and another of our friends were going to go for a ride.  He told me he was heading over to Phil's fields to play and wanted to bring the camera along.  I said "Sure, you can bring the camera along, but it will be in my pocket!".  He got a chuckle out of that and had no problem bringing me along.  As it turns out, the other rider Ron did not make it, so Brian and I were going it alone.
    I needed to get to Brian's as fast as possible so I did ride the trail part of the way down there.  I have to say, that the section of the trail I rode was in great shape.  Only one area that was a little bit of snirt (snow and dirt), it was a hill after a turn.  Otherwise, things were mint.  Obviously I did not ride the whole trail system, so I do not know how the rest of the trails are, first hand.  However, I have heard that many other areas were in decent shape too.  They do seem to be getting out and grooming more and I do know that the sections from Hancock to just south of Mohawk has been getting groomed at night, so maybe things are improving on that front.
    Anyway, I had never been to Phil's before, at least by sled.  I have been to one of his neighbors, and I know Phil, so I knew where it was.  Brian told me that the fields were untouched all season, so I was looking very forward to getting out into them to play.  Upon arrival, we stopped at the top of the play area to take a before shot.  He really has a beautiful view from his location.  That little white dot on the left side of the horizon is Mt Bohemia.  It is actually not totally free of trees, there is actually more trees then clearing, but the white of the clearings for the runs stuck out the most.  Just to the right and out of the shot you can see Lake Superior and the Huron Mountains.  Not too many views like that up here, that is for sure.
    The view was nice, but we came to play, not sunbathe, so we fired up the sleds and headed down into the fields to play.  Most of the hills and gullies were not steep enough to catch real big air, but were fun to hit and pop a wheelie at the top.  Here's anotherHere's me.  Here is one from a more distant vantage.  The field would have been even more fun with a foot or two of fresh powder and big curled over drifts.  The snow out there was virgin, but was still fairly panked down by the warm temps and rains we had a few days ago.  We did manage to find a few large curled over drifts and Brian proceeded to get his sled stuck at the top of one of them.  He was actually standing in the snow up to his waist.  Brian, having seen me climb the drift to get to the top to help him unstick his sled, could not walk away without getting to the top, so he gave it one try and I captured it for you all.  Bet Arctic Cat could use that one for a promo.  I'm sure we will for KSE!
    There was one place where the slope and height of the hill was just enough to get a little air.  Just a little.  It's still fun to jump, although you will not see me catching big air anytime soon.  I learned my lesson on that topic.  After about 30 to 45 minutes of playing there, we had had our fill and decided to find some other places to play.  Not before taking an "after" shot of the fields.  Like I say, if we get some decent powder, Phil's fields will be an even more fun place to go and I bet I will not have to twist Brian's arm too much to get out there if the forecast pans out.  I really am trying to keep from getting too excited and am doing ok so far, but if what the models are saying will happen is being said in another 48 hours or so, I'll be going nuts.  Time to go build a fire and cuddle up with the hounds.  Oh, it's 21.8 degrees, has dropped 3.9 degrees since I sat down to this entry.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 20-
    What the...two in a row?!  Yep, We got some snow, I took some pictures, so if figured I would share them with you. Not a whole lot to talk about.  24.8 degrees and dropping.  We picked up about 5" of snow today.  Actually, about 4 of it came from midnight to 8 pm, then we only got about an inch since then.  That's ok, the 5 we got was enough to cover up all the brown and make riding good again.  I did not go riding, but I could tell by looking into the woods and at the trails.  It was a very pretty wet and heavy, stick to everything snow.  That was a shot of some apple trees about a block away from my house that the hounds and I walked by on our quickie morning walk.  Instead of a coffee break, I take a quick, 20 minute walk break with the hounds.  They are so cute and so smart, they actually know right when we are going to go and wait to hear me push my office chair back away from the computer to get ready to go.
    With the fresh snow and temps below freezing we were able to go for a ski.  I decided to go on a local trail through the woods that we sometimes use for KSE.  I figured with 3 tours going out today (our busiest day of the season), one of them would have taken the trail and panked 'er down for us. I was right.  It was a great ski, we took our time and just enjoyed the freshly fallen snow and the flakes that were still flying.  Something very relaxing and invigorating about the woods after a good little snowfall.  About my favorite thing is when the snow sticks to everything.  We even had some snow ghosts in the making.  I say in the making, because we need about another 30 or 40 inches of snow to make them true snow ghosts.  That is when they are completely encased in snow.  It will happen up here once or twice in an average year.  The main problem is usually not the snowfall, but the wind.  We did have some back after the big snows between Christmas and New Years.
    I think we may be in for record snows for March and April.  Why?  Because my bush protection system broke yesterday.  It was fairly loaded with snow and with the rain was really sagging.  One of the 2x4's in the horses was warped and was causing the whole assembly to lean, so I tried to give it a push and straighten it out.  There was too much snow to budge it too far, but I did get it to move a bit.  That movement was enough to push the warped 2x4 past it's stress tolerance and it broke.  That caused the others to have to take more weight and some of them also broke.  So I am now without a bush protection system over one side of my front bushes.  That is why I think we will set new records for snow in March and April, I hope.
    Well, not a whole lot more to talk about.  Looks like it could be a good period to come up here.  Lots of other places to ride, so we could be a little more quiet up here than usual.  I heard Eagle River picked up 16".  Looked at the web cam and it was hard to tell from that.  Actually it did not really look like 16" fell, but it is possible, snows were falling all day.  Lots of snow fell in other areas of northern WI and the southern UP too, so there will be lots of options for folks to choose to ride in.  Glad the other areas will be able to get some business.  Better late than never.  I plan to ride tomorrow and also over the weekend, so I'm sure I will have some new shots to share with you.  Looks like some new snow coming this weekend and next week too, so maybe some nice powder shots.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 19-
    Just when I thought this winter could not challenge my patience anymore!  Yesterday it got up to 51 degrees with bright sunshine.  I took the dogs for a walk down a road that goes through the woods out to a camp.  Someone keeps the road plowed, but there is also a nice snow mat down.  I take them there when it is too warm to ski and the roads are wet in my neighborhood, that way we can get in a nice walk without them coming back soaking wet from the melting snow and road grime.  About 5 minutes into the walk I ended up taking off my jacket and had on just a t shirt (as well as pants and boots) and was not cold at all.  I must say, the sun and warmth did feel good, also quite strange.  I was also in pretty good spirits, thinking that any snow that would melt in the warmth yesterday would be replaced 5-10 fold with the new snow today, tonight and tomorrow.  Well, as fate would have it, this storm is turning out to be more of a dud and a stud.  Actually, we have yet to get into the main snow area, that will come later tonight and through tomorrow, but hopes of 10"+ of snow have gone pretty much by the wayside and it looks like we should be very happy if we pick up 4-5".
    Today it rained most of the day.  Temps were below freezing at the onset, so some freezing rain fell, but then temps climbed to about 35-36 degrees and the liquid crap fell most of the day.  Not very heavy, but I tell you what, there is nothing more dreary about a day of light rain with temps in the mid 30's over a dwindling snow pack.  It was all I could do from going nuts.  I have less than 11" in my yard, a ridiculous level for this time of the year.  Last year I had 35" and even two years ago I had 27.  If course, two years ago we were about to loose almost all of our snow in a week of 50 degree+ temps.  Until we get through about a dozen more years without loosing a decent February snowpack in a weeks time, I will always be cautious of any thaw that occurs in mid February.
    It has just started to snow, still a wet snow, with the outside temp at 33.4 degrees, but snow just the same.  The extended forecast looks very good, but I have been down this road way too many times this season and I will just hold back my excitement until I have to move over a foot of the white stuff from my driveway.  I don't know which would be worse, to just never have anything to hope for, or to have snow promised and then taken away like it has been occurring this year.  How about just being surprised with 3 times as much snow as we thought we would get?  Running out of time for this year.
    I was sent an interesting article from the "New Yorker" about how some scientists are studying the glacial ice in Greenland, hoping to better understand the history of our climate.  It reminded me that for the past half million years or so, the earth has been in a cycle that is made up of about 90 thousand years when glaciers cover 1/3rd of the land mass, then the glaciers retreat rather quickly and the earth is in the "warm" period of the cycle to about 10 thousand years.  The current "warm" cycle the earth is experiencing started about 10 thousand years ago.  You do the math, I'll keep my eye out for the glaciers!
    I'm wondering how many of you were wondering how I knew it was 33.4 degrees when I mentioned it a few paragraphs back.  Well, I received a clock/thermometer from a friend as belated christmas gift.  The clock is really neat, it picks up a signal from the National Institute of Standards and Technology-Time and Frequency Division.  Some folks in Colorado Springs CO that spend their entire day just making sure that we are keeping time correctly and then use a transmitter to send out a signal that can be picked up 2000 miles away to tell clocks like mine what the proper time is.  Kind of neat to know that at least one clock in the house is dead-on accurate!  Of course now I have no excuse to be late, give and take of life I guess.  The clock also has a indoor thermometer and a remote outdoor thermometer that transmits to the main unit.  I got it going yesterday and watched the temp climb to 51 degrees, then drop off quickly yesterday evening after sunset.  This morning, the outside temp was 26 degrees and I had hopes for snow today, but as mentioned, the freezing rain and then rain came instead.  Right now I find myself looking up at the outside temp every minute or two, hoping to see it move off of 33.4.  It did, it is now 33.3, were on our way!  Getting this thing has really stirred up my interest in getting a weather station.  I have the money, I just need to bite the bullet and get one.  Would be neat to display the data on the website too.  Of course I would also like to get a new digital camera, a hot tub and also save for some property I know about.  HMMMM...decisions, decisions.
    It did stop raining long enough for the hounds and I to take in our afternoon walk.  I choose the road out by Calumet Waterworks because I knew it might be wet, but not muddy or grimy and that it would also be protected from the winds.  Even on a dreary, rainy, flat out ugly day, this place is still beautiful.  The hounds had a blast smelling things that have been uncovered with the snow melt.  Weeks of scent accumulation all revealed to them in 2 hours.  I sure wish that I could tell what they were smelling.  Makes me jealous sometimes.  No other pictures to share with you.  The trails are hanging on in most spots.  I even had a friend that was out riding last night and he said the trails down in the Hancock, Calumet and Lake Linden area were groomed last night.  There are some bare spots, mainly south of Houghton, between Houghton and South Range.  Some corners are bare too, but given the amount of traffic and weather conditions, I am surprised that there is any snow at all on the trails.
    Hopefully I will have some fresh snow shots to share with you very soon.  Still 33.3 degrees.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 17-
    Holy wa was it busy up here yesterday.  I took part in a poker run to benefit the local animal shelter up here and we did spend some time on the trails.  Much of our riding was still done in the bush or on some "local" trails, but when we rode through Calumet yesterday afternoon, I have never seen so many snowmobiles in one spot.  At one junction, there must have been over 100 sleds.  As you might expect, the trails took it on the chin.  Huge moguls all over the place.  I sure did give my suspension a work out!  The moguls were not the fault of the groomers.  I don't know how much grooming they have been doing, but no amount of grooming could be expected to keep up with the load of sleds tearing up the trails.  Just thinking about all of those sleds yesterday, I still cannot believe it!
    The poker run was a success.  Only two sleds out of the 20 went down, one had it's suspension snap in two and another had a stud rip a hole in the heat exchanger and ended up melting down.  My sled hung in there just fine.  I am really amazed at how that thing just keeps on chugging right along.  10,000 miles and still starts on the first pull!  It was a long day.  The ride started out at about 10 am and did not finish up until about 10 pm.  Needless to say, I was not in any big rush to get back on the sled today, although I am looking forward to getting out later this week if we get some snow as advertised.  I don't want to get everyone's hopes up too much, but it looks like the most winter-like pattern we have seen all season may develop by the end of this week and continue for most of next week.  I'm not holding my breath of this one, the way this winter is going, but sure would be nice.  I still would like to get in a few more powder rides.
    I did get out for a bush ride on Thursday.  Brian, another guy and I took a ride in the bush.  Since I am the one carrying the camera, I am usually the one taking the pictures.  The most opportune time to take a shot is when someone gets stuck and the riding stops long enough for me to get out the camera and take a picture.  Since I am taking the picture, it is usually of someone else that has gotten stuck.  Well, Brian seemed to think that you all would like to seem me getting stuck and on my first stuck of the day, clambered for the camera to get a shot.  So here is my first stuck of the day.  The snow was still fairly deep out there, but that is not the reason I got stuck.  I actually managed to have my ski go under a log.  The rest of the sled would not fit, so I came to a rather abrupt stop.  I was standing on the sled and when it came to a stop, my body wanted to keep going.  I hung on tight and  managed to stay with the sled, but my body did lurch over the windshield and at one point, my legs and feet were parallel to the ground.  Thankfully I was not going too fast.  However, even if I had flown over the top of the sled, I would have been ok.  It would not have been the first time I did that!
    The ride on Thursday was mostly picking our way through the trees again.  Lots of work, but lots of fun.  In about 3 hours of riding, we put on about 15 miles or so.  I did manage to get stuck again.  This time it was two logs right in a row.  My skis made it over the first, but when my track got to it, all it did was spin on the wood.  No studs to grip the wood.  Not sure why I took this next shot, I guess it was to show what were riding in and where we were headed.  It is fun to see the expression on peoples faces as we pop out of the woods and cross the trails as they ride along.  They must think we're nuts.  Maybe we are, but is still is fun riding.  By the time we are done I can barely lift a finger, but it is a good tired.
    Of course I was not the only one getting stuck.  There is one that could be titled "tree 1, sled 0".  I still had one more stuck left in me for the ride and Brian made sure to capture it for all of you.  On this one, we had a hill to climb and as I headed up it, I started to get sucked towards the trees, so I just laid off the throttle.  One of the little "skidder trails" we headed up came to a sudden end at the top of a deep gully.  This shot does not really show it, but it was about 100 feet to the bottom of the gully.  Those were Brian's skis in the bottom of the shot.  Too many trees to try and get through, so we pulled it back and headed back down the way we came.  If there was a way to get down, I am fairly confident that we would have done it, there was a fairly clear way to get up the other side.  I probably would have taken a few tries to get up the 35-45 degree slope on the other side, but we were up to the challenge that day.
    Well, I don't have much else to share with you.  We did have some weird white stuff falling from the sky yesterday and overnight.  Not sure what it was, but it piled up about 2".  Weird winter that is for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 13-
    Guess what?  I was not crabby this morning!  Yep, it was a Wednesday morning, we got missed by a storm yesterday and I was still in good spirits.  Of course I could still have used some "therapy" by going for a ride, but most of my riding partners were busy, so the hounds and I took a ski instead.  I suppose I was in such a good mood because I have finally been able to climb the mountain of work I had in front of me for the past week.  I had a big report to do and that caused me to also fall behind on other projects.  So I suppose the fact that I finished that report and knew that I would be able to get on top of the other stuff today was a big relief.
    As mentioned, we got missed by another storm.  What is that, the 5th or 6th?  This was a real dud, at least snow wise.  It was blowing so hard, that it was really hard to measure.  The NWS has a co op observer in Lake Linden that reports from time to time and they reported 3" with the system.  I am not going to say that they did not get 3", but to me it seemed like more like 1-2", but never really piled up because we had winds of 35-40 mph, gusting to 50-60 most of the day.  What I did was take the .05" of liquid equivalent the automated station at the airport reported and multiplied it by 30 (the standard snow to water ratio for lake effect snow) and arrived at 1.5".  Seemed about right to me anyway.
    Thankfully the winds did not knock out the power.  It would have been a cold day if it had!  The strong winds were the main reason why we did not get much snow.  The strong winds caused the lake effect clouds to never get too well developed by the time they got to the Keweenaw and many of the other traditional LES belts of the UP.  They did manage to reach some areas that are not as common.  Places like Sault Ste Marie.  I do not know exactly how much they got, but for much of the morning they were reporting moderate to heavy snow, so I think it is safe to say they picked up more than our 1.5-3".
    There sure are a lot of folks up here scratching their heads about this winter.  Nobody has ever seen one like this.  I suppose that the same can be said for just about the whole Midwest this year.  I know my folks live on a like in southern WI.  The mild winter two years ago was the first time that anyone can remember the lake not freezing over in all areas.  It did freeze over in the shallower bays, but out in front of their house it was still open water.  Well, this year the lake is still all wide open.  Some of the bays froze early in January, but then opened up and were still open as of a few days ago.  Up here, the lakes are mostly frozen, but it is the road crews that are looking for something to do.  The guys in town came down the road looking for snow to move and seemed to move one pile to another spot.
    The hounds and I have returned to the school forest for our skis lately.  Sunday of last week (last big snow we had) there were some boys from the school out there packing down the trails with some snowmobiles and they did a great job.  Then earlier this week we went out and the trails were still in great shape, so we have been pretty much sticking to that area.  We have carved out a nice loop and the hounds and I seem to really enjoy ourselves.  I forget if I mentioned that on one of our sunrise skis about a month ago, we happened along some deer and what I thought was a coyote.  The dogs did not see the coyote, but I did and when we got up to where it was, I was able to gauge it to be about the same size as the dogs and it's paw marks in the snow were at least as big as the paw prints the hounds were leaving.  After telling some friends about what we saw, they said it was more likely that I saw a wolf, a young one, but a wolf.  I guess coyotes do not really get as big as the hounds, even really big coyotes and their paw prints are small.  Anyway, when we came along it, it was bedded down under a pine tree and it looks like it might still be using that spot, when we went by it the other day it looked used.  Here is Burt checking out the spot.  I have also heard others seeing a wolf or two in that area, so maybe it was.  When we were riding in the bush Saturday Al pointed out some bear tracks!  Very strange to have a bear out in the winter, but not unheard of.  Hope it is not sick or starving.
    Today the hounds and I actually went for a ski on a different trail.  It is the trail that the old groomer used to use to get from his house to the trail.  It is a nice trail that weaves it's way through the woods.  The other nice thing is that we have been the only ones making tracks on it all winter.  Even though we are hurting for our version of winter, I can be very grateful for the snow we do have and that it is enough to play in.  I really cannot complain.  Things have not been that bad this season, it just stings a little when I think of the possibilities.  Hey, at least I am walking around on two good legs!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 10-
    Boy how things can change in a week.  Just a week ago, we were in the middle of a good old fashion lake effect snow event and the forecast looked pretty good.  Well, the forecast changed and we went through all of last week without a lick of new snow and even melted some off and settle even more.  Really felt like spring last week, I'm not ready for spring yet.  Maybe in a month or so, but not yet.
    I was glad when the weekend arrived, I needed a break from the daily workload.  I do make time for some play everyday too, but for some reason, I just felt like I was running out of steam.  I did not exactly have a do nothing weekend, laying on the couch or something like that.  Went for a ride both today and yesterday.  Two very different rides.  Yesterday's was pure back country bush riding and today's was a nice ride down the club maintained Dreamland trail and then back up the DNR trail to Lake Linden.  Both fully enjoyable, but at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as type of riding is concerned.
    When I say pure back country bush riding, I mean just that.  The only time we even touched a DNR trail was when we rode across it on a 90 degree angle, once heading up and once heading back down.  Three hours of picking our way through the woods, climbing hills and gullies, crossing creeks and getting stuck.  Lots of getting stuck.  I think that in that 3 hours we only put on 8-10 miles, but I used skills that I have not used yet this season.  Some big time sidehilling was one of the first tricks called upon.  Heading down the side of a hill, both feet on one running board and leaning way off the sled to keep it from rolling down the 100 foot hill and smashing into a thousand pieces.  I wish that I had gotten a picture of the hill, it was a bit nerve wracking.  If I had lost my balance or something, the sled would have been totaled, but the good thing is I would have been ok.
    After the little side hilling adventure, we picked up a few more riders and it was off into the bush to dodge trees, stumps and anything else that might be lurking out there to spoil the ride.  Most of the "trails" we were riding down were not really trails at all.  They were basically areas where the trees were far enough apart to fit a sled through.  That was Al, hung up on a hill.  He got stuck the most because he was leading.  Even with the thaw and settling we had over the past week, there is plenty of snow in the bush.  Most areas we were in had 16-24" down.  That is enough to get stuck in.
    When I say bush riding, sometimes it takes on a literal meaning.  That was our path through the bush, we cam up from the gully in the left-center of the picture.  I suppose we really need logging permits when we go out riding!  And those were the small trees we went through!  Did I say we got stuck sometimes?  Al again.  After a ride like that, we were all basically worn out after the 3 hours we were out there.  But it was a good tired.  Plus we did get to see some pretty sights.  Things that not too many people get to see, both visitors to the area and locals.
    Today's ride was way different, but just as enjoyable.  We picked up about 2 inches of fresh snow overnight, which was enough to paint the area in a fresh coating of white.  It also was enough to cover the roadways.  I usually do not have to worry about the amount of snow on the roads in my neighborhood, but since Wednesday, we have had lots of sunshine and that has been clearing them off.  Good for driving a car, but not good for the carbides on my sled.  I just put new ones on this year and am afraid that I may need new ones for next year.  I know I may sound like a spoiled brat here, but heck, that is one reason why I moved up here... To have fresh snow to ride on all winter long.  My partner for the ride today was Chris from the White House Motel.  Last weekend I headed up his way to ride, so today he was gracious enough to come south to ride.  I thought that we would hit the trail that our local snowmobile trail maintains.  It is called the Dreamland trail because it rolls past the Dreamland Hotel.  The hotel is not a hotel at all, but rather a restaurant and bar.
    The trail itself is much different from what I call the DNR trails.  The Dreamland trail is much more narrow and also has lots of twists and turns.  For those reasons, your speed is much slower as you ride it.  Some spots are barely wide enough to fit two sleds through.  However, because you ride slower, you also get to take in the scenery, and scenery it is.  Also, because the speeds on the trail is slower and it is not as heavily used, it is usually in better shape than the DNR trails.  Of course, it can get bumped up too, but usually is in pretty good shape.  Today it was in great shape, we actually passed one of the groomers (utility snowmobile pulling a hand made drag) as we headed south, down to the Dreamland.  If you take the Dreamland trail and like the trail you are riding on, stop in at the Dreamland hotel and make a donation to the club.  It is the one I am a member of, not as active as I was a few years ago, but still a member, and we get no grants to maintain the trails.  Our club pays for the groomers and insurance for the private property owners the trail crosses by hosting fundraisers and taking donations.
    After my ride today, I took the hounds for a ski at the school forest.  Got to try out the new skis.  Initially, I was not happy with them.  The main reason is that the trails out there were actually in awesome shape and my old setup would have worked great.  The setup I have now will work much better for when I have to break trail.  Plus, the new setup includes new boots than need to be broken in, so I was not as trilled to be on the new skis, boots and bindings as I could have been, but I did start to get used to them by the end of the ski and I know I will not be disappointed with them.  I may start bringing both setups and choose the one that will work the best for the given situation.  How's that for a spoiled cross country skier?
    On the weather front, we have a couple of weather systems headed our way.  I am trying not to get too excited about them.  This winter has tempted me with way too many promises that were not delivered.  I'll take what we get and make the most of it.  Basically because I have not other choice, not because I am this happy-go-lucky guy when it comes to getting missed by snow storms.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 7-
    Sorry I've been away for so long, but things have been busy.  I have been working on a special project for one of my customers, taking care of the regular day's business, as well as answering the daily barrage of e mails I get.  Now don't get me wrong, I love to get e mails, so keep 'em coming.  I also try and reply to every single one, even if it is just to say: "Thanks".  I feel that my time is no more important than any others and if they take the time to write me, I can take the time to reply, but sometimes that means a lot of replies!  Just today I have 25 items that have been sent out and the evening is still young!  Plus, in the past 2 days, I have posted 7 different guest shots, so I thought that I could take a a day or two off from the journal.  Been quiet up here snow wise.  No snow since early Monday, almost time to hit the panic button!  Just kidding, I'm not even close to panicking.  However, in a place that it usually snows 4 out of 7 days from early December through mid March, this 4 day dry spell is unusual and not welcome, especially this year.
    Maybe I jinxed us, on Tuesday, I went and bought a new pair of cross country skis.  They are "back country" skis, meaning that they are shorter and wider.  I almost bought a pair that had steel edges, just like downhill skis, but for the $50 additional cost, I figured that I would not need the steel edges that much.  Of course with new skis, I needed new boots and bindings too.  Actually they are just as important as the skis, so it was almost a requirement.  So now I will have better maneuverability in the bush.  The shorter length will allow me to make more dramatic turns and the wider width will support me better in the deep backwoods powder.  The boots are the biggest change.  They have tons of support, almost like a hockey skate, but with a flexible hinge at the instep to allow for movement.  My old boots were like gym shoes and had no support what so ever.  Kind of made for an interesting ski when I was going down a serious hill.  Not too many serious hills in the places I was skiing, but I do know of some places that I want to go, but refrained from going because of the hills.  Now I can tackle them!
    Before buying the new setup, I did take one last turn on the old setup.  Actually, I will hang onto the old setup just in case I need a back up, or I find it better in certain situations.  Anyway, I had to run down to Houghton to take care of some things Tuesday, so I decided to take the hounds with me and then find a place to ski down there.  I do not know of too many areas down there where we could go and either not be run over by a snowmobile or yelled at for having the dogs there, so we chose Mc Lain State Park.  It is right on the shores of Lake Superior and has some ski trails that are groomed, but almost no one goes out there because there are some great trails right in Hancock.  So I knew we would stand a great chance of being the only ones out there.  I was right.  Only one other car and no signs of who it belonged to.
    This turned out to be an interesting place to ski because we had some winds on Sunday that blew much of the snow from the ground.  Really a strange site to see bare ground up here.  Something we have not seen for almost two months and hope not to see for another 2 months.  Of course, where there were objects that could slow the wind speed and allow the snow to settle, it was quite deep.  There really was not enough snow to ski on going north from the main entrance, so we headed back and I decided to go south, past the main entrance to the park.  More snow there and a great trail.  We even came across a 6 foot drift that sat just off the trail and lined a grove of pine trees.  The trail seemed to go on forever, maybe it was because we had skied north first, but I did not seem to have the energy to find out how far south it went.  I could have made it all the way to the end of the trail, but the first rule of exploring a trail, whether it be a groomed ski trail, or one you make in the bush, is to remember you have to get back too.  So the hounds and I turned around after what seemed to be about a mile of skiing south and headed back.  Maybe sometime we will go down there and see just how far it goes.
    I'm not sure what has been my problem with the past two Wednesday mornings, but they have just been bad to me.  Actually I don't think that it is the day's fault.  Somewhere I read that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it and I totally believe in that.  However, the past two Wednesday mornings have found me in a really foul mood.  I think that it may have something to do with the weather.  Yesterday I knew we would have a thaw to get through, which is never fun, especially this winter.  Last Wednesday I think I was bummed because it looked like areas like northern WI, the southern UP and northern lower MI would be missed by the snow storm and that would mean a busted forecast and no snow play for folks that were looking forward to it in those areas.  Plus, I think both day's I also had lots of work to do and was crabby about that.  Anyway, I feel sorry for the dogs, because when I am crabby, I am crabby!  I never hit them, but sure do loose my patience with them a lot quicker!  I think that they can actually tell because Baileys tries to act even goofier than she normally is, all in an attempt to get me in a better mood, while Burt basically stays clear.  Unfortunately, he usually stays too clear and I get upset at him for not sticking close by on a walk or something.
    So yesterday, when a KSE tour failed to show up (shame on you!) Al was also kind of crabby too.  He had scheduled the day off and thus missed a day's worth of work and income.  We both decided the medicine we needed was to go out into the bush and ride like a couple of rebels.  Word spread quickly what we were up to and before we knew it, our group of 2 has swelled to 6.  All but one of the riders were KSE guides so I knew that the ride would be fairly intense.  Getting these guy's together usually leads to some very interesting places to go and some riding that most would never think of doing.  Not that is is all that dangerous, but you do need to be on top of things.  No drifting off into some other thought.  You are looking ahead of you the whole time, planning your next move, all the while performing the move you just thought of about 2 seconds ago.  Perfect medicine to take your mind off everything but the moment you are in.  By the end of the ride I had a grin ear to ear and felt as good to be alive as anyone possibly can.
    Now did you really think that I would talk about a ride like that and not share some shots from it?!  Heck no, I brought the camera along.  I knew that there would be some historical and hysterical moments to capture and I was right on both counts.  The other thing that usually happens on these rides is that riders are lost through attrition.  Not usually because the rider is injured, but because a sled breaks down.  So far I have been lucky and never had anything serious happen to my sled.  Brian, one of the KSE guides had just bought a neused (new to him, but used) sled.  An Arctic Cat 700 Powder Special.  Before we took off, bets were placed as to how long his sled would last into the ride.  For some reason, Brian is particularly hard on sleds.  So far this season he has gone through 1 main bearing, several chains and a few gears.  I'm sure there is more, but that is what I have been privy to.  After the bets were placed we all fired up the sled and took off.
    There is something extra special about riding with good friends, especially these friends.  I felt like some kind of team, or maybe more properly with this clan, special ops group.  Out to perform our mission for the day.  The first stop was to be at a friends house up the valley.  It is only about 3-4 miles as the crow flies, but is about 10-12 as the sled flies, and I do mean flies.  Someone should really shoot a video of the group finding their way through a thin patch of trees, up a gully, or over a creek.  It becomes sort of an unspoken challenge to find the most difficult way to get through, not the easiest.  All of these guys are much better riders than I, so I usually end up with the easiest route through, but they are pretty forgiving of this transplanted flatlander.  This is really only my third year of any kind of serious riding.  Before that I would come up once or twice a year to ride for 3-5 days and that was it for the whole year.  I suppose that maybe I should be that guy shooting the video.  Anyone taking a shot of me would either put the audience to sleep or create one heck of a bloopers tape!
    We did make it to our friends farm up the valley, but not before loosing the first sled.  Broken steering.  We would loose some more temporarily on the ride, for things like broken clutch springs, belts and other various breakdowns.  But in the end, only that first sled and rider had to call it a day.  The friend we were visiting is also a rider and a good one at that.  When he saw Brian's new sled, he had to give it a try.  There was still some fresh snow to play in out there and here is one shot of him playing in the snow.  What my still camera cannot show was that he was doing about 40 when making that turn.  I can make turns like that, but at a much slower speed!  I asked if he could take one more "spin around the block" so I could get one last shot from a closer vantage point and not run me over and he obliged.  Yes, I know, no helmet.  Please no e mails.  I do not condone riding without a helmet, but thought the pic was a good one.  A few more laps and he did take a wipe.  Not a bad one at all, he was fine and so was the sled, but it also provided a good photo op.  Here's a shot of Brian's Powder Special cooling off after it's romp in the field.
    We did manage to pull ourselves away from the sun tanning session and fired them up for phase two of the ride.  Remember when I said you really need to be on your toes on these rides.  Here is an example of why.  That was Brian.  He was leading and either made the move he was actually planning for, or planning the move he should have been making or did not plan for the right move.  In any case, he ended up in the ditch, stuck.  There are not too many times he gets stuck and I am high and dry, so I had to take that picture.
    The rest of the afternoon was spent busting 7 foot drifts, or flying through a field or weaving our way through a forest.  Never a dull moment and usually not enough time to be able to capture the moment with my digital cam.  We did get to a place where we could all pick a way through the forest to the top of a hill.  Here is a shot of a little knob and some trees to find your way through.  The nice thing about riding in places like this is that there are not too many people who know about them (locals included) and even fewer that are crazy enough to ride them.  That means the snow has been untouched all season.  Which can also lead to some getting stuck and a break time.
    Like I said, all the rest of the sleds and their riders survived the ride.  I can honestly say that I was totally pumped after the ride and had completely forgotten why I was so crabby earlier in the day.  Good medicine.  Maybe we should start calling our tours "therapy sessions".  Could probably charge more and maybe even have your insurance pick up the tab!
    During yesterday's thaw, the snow atop the Blazer began to shift.  Not just some of the snow, but the whole slab sitting atop the truck.  When I went out to take the front of house shot this morning, I saw the slab hanging off the side and thought you all might find it interesting.  I did manage to get the rest off this afternoon, so if we do not get any snow overnight, you all will be able to see the truck without snow on it in tomorrow's front of house shot.  Now there's something to keep you tossing and turning all night long, Eh?
    So we do have some new snow that looks to be headed our way this weekend and hopefully some more early next week and again towards the end of the week.  I hope so.  I am not ready to say good bye to winter.  In reality, February is still in the thick of winter and this season the lake is still totally wide open, so it is poised to make the LES as soon as the next cold air surge spills in from Canada.  I suppose in a month from now, I will have to resign myself to the fact that spring is fast approaching.  I just hope for a cold spring, so we can ride well into March and maybe early April.  That would make up for the slow start.  Then it can all melt in a week or two at the end of April and we can break out the golf clubs and fishing poles.  Tonight, after I thank God for my health, for where I live and how I get to live my life, I think I will slip in that little request and see if it gets granted.  Never hurts to ask, right?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
February 3-
    It's finally beginning to look like the Keweenaw in winter up here!  Snows have been falling for the past 3-4 days and it is getting deep.  Friday we picked up about 3" in the morning and another 3" overnight, then a couple of inches Saturday and since last night, well over a foot has fallen.  The snow piles are not yet obnoxious (almost a given up here in the winter), but are bigger than you will find just about all places of the Midwest and many places in the US.  Hopefully the forecast will play out and in another week to ten days they will be obnoxious!  I have not been wasting all the wonderful white either.  Friday had a KSE tour and then skied and rode both Saturday and Sunday.  Needless to say, I am one tired pup, but it is a great tired.
    Saturday morning the hounds and I got up early and went for a ski.  Not early enough to be a sunrise ski, but still early enough for things to be very quiet everywhere.  The woods are always quiet, but even town was quiet.  It was also pretty cold, good for skiing though, with my skis not sticking to the snow at all.  We went for such an early ski because I had an all day ride planned.  One of my neighbors is gracious enough to come over and give the hounds their afternoon walk and then come back later and give them their dinner.  That is a huge help for me, as I can then head out and not have to worry about getting back to do that.
    The ride Saturday was one of the best I have had in a long, long time.  I mentioned that we picked up about 3" Thursday night and then about 3" Friday afternoon.  Well, up north, they had been getting a lot more.  I saw the measurement from Phoenix Farms jump up to about 30" by Friday evening, when I was still in the low teens at my house.  So the plan was to ride up to meet Chris from the White House Motel and do some bush riding up north.  I did not take the trails much to get there and was glad that I had not.  The stretch around Mohawk was a disaster.  What do I consider a disaster?  Well, when the moguls are so big that your sled actually has to go up one and then down another like a boat on the open ocean.  Here is a shot of Chris on his sled sitting in one of the moguls.  Nice huh?  Welcome to the Keweenaw, enjoy your ride!  Actually I should not be quite so hard on the grooming going on up here.  They have been going out and the trails have been ok, but that section was most certainly not ok.  It did get groomed later that morning, but by the evening was actually bumped up again.  On weekends, we have so much traffic on the main trails that they cannot hold up.  Today was a perfect example.  We made the first tracks behind the groomer this morning at about 11 am, then by about 3 pm, that same trail already had enough bumps on it to make it somewhat unpleasant to ride.  I tell folks that the trails can change almost by the hour up here and most don't believe me, but it is true.  Weekdays are much different.  The trails will generally hold up for a lot longer.
    Thankfully we did not have to spend much time at all on the DNR trails.  There was powder in the bush and we were on a mission.  Chris and his crew from Mohawk have found some nice trails north of Mohawk and he took me up there to play.  Man was it deep up there.  2-3 feet covered everything in sight and we were breaking trail in about 14-16" of fresh powder that was sitting on top of about 2 feet of a hard base.  Here is a shot of our sleds at rest, taking a break from pushing powder with the bumpers.  Here is another shot of the powder we were riding.  I have to add that I hope the guy who was going to come up here and ride with us, but opted to go to Eagle River WI with his buddies, had a good time down there, because we had an awesome time up here!  I totally understand the desire to go with a big group of friends and there is no hard feelings what so ever, but man, did you miss it!  Better powder than we rode in between Christmas and New Years.  It was a little deeper then, but no bottom.  With a bottom now, it is harder to get stuck, and also most of the obstacles are covered.  However, there is also plenty of powder to float the sled.  Even enough powder to make for a very soft landing after catching some air.  By the way, that was yours truly in that jumping shot.  However, I was very careful to make sure the landing spot was clean.  What happened one year from tomorrow has not escaped my memory just yet.  Doubt it ever will.
    We ended up riding to Lac La Belle and did spend a bit of time on the trail up that a way and the trail heading from Gay to Lac La Belle was in pretty decent shape.  At Lac La Belle we met up with some friends and the 4 of us took the bush back to Mohawk.  It is so nice to be able to get out there and do some solid bush riding.  We put on 100 miles yesterday and about 90% of it was in the bush.  For anyone that has been on a KSE tour, you'll know that 100 miles of bush riding is a lot.  Probably equal to about 300 on the groomed trail.  That same group of 4 went out today as well.  I cannot speak for all the others, but I know I was a lot more tired today and took it pretty easy.  I think that the others felt the same though as they also were pretty mellow.  However, not totally without some spunk, at least enough to have to do a little digging out.
    We also got back early today.  Yesterday I got back at about 6 pm and today was home by 3.  It has really been coming down in Lake Linden all day.  We are now at about a foot of new snow for the day, with 25" on the ground.  It started to really come down at about 8 am this morning and by 10 am we had picked up about 6".  There must have been a lull in the activity because there was only about 2-3" new by the time I returned home at 3.  However we did have more snow here at 10:30 am than points north did.  That is not a very common occurrence.  Then when I got home, it really started to come down again.  We even had a really heavy squall come through that lasted for about 15 minutes, but we got about 2-3" in that time.  Another thing that I tell people about is how hard it can snow up here.  I'll say that you loose sight of objects that are only about 200 feet away and I don't think that too many people believe me.  However, here's a shot I took while the squall was going on this afternoon.  My house was only about 100 feet away at that point.  Believe be now?!
    I was glad to get back early, so that I could take the hounds for a ski at the School Forest and also get my work done early.  I am writing this while watching the super bowl.  The snow is still coming down heavy and I am in great spirits.  Checking the forecast, things look pretty good.  There looks to be a few more clipper systems somewhat similar to this one in the cards and it looks like other areas of the Midwest will also see some snow.  The best way to put it is that it looks like through Valentines Day, mother nature wants to make up some of the lost ground incurred in December and January.  Hope everyone did not put their winter toys away just yet!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-