Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
March 31-
    Happy Easter everyone!  Had a little easter snow today, not much, but enough to coat everything for a few hours.  Then a few peaks of the late March sun did it's thing and melted it all away.  We have actually been seeing a lot of the March sun lately.  The big old lake has actually prevented cloud formation and while areas of the southern UP, northern MN and even far northern WI have seen clouds and even some snow showers, we have been in mostly sunny skies.  It has been nice, but also taking it's toll on the snow.  I did not ride the trails much, but a few peaks at them has reveled some wet spots and I am positive that there are probably even a few bare spots.  Still tons of snow in the bush and I will have some pictures to share with you in a bit to prove that point.
    I do have lots of pictures to share with you today.  Brian came back into town on Wednesday and immediately went for a ride Thursday.  I was not able to hook up with him as he was leaving pretty early in the morning, but I was able to do the next best thing.  I lent him my camera so he could take some shots of his trip.  I really wish I could have gone because he was headed off to an area that I have always wanted to ride, the Huron Mountains between L'Anse and Big Bay.  I have heard that it is some very pretty country and they even have some neat trails.  Double wide.  Wish they were like that here, it would be a lot safer and I might even right them more.  Of course, we have problems keeping the single ones flat, I can't imagine them trying to keep twice as many flat.
    They came across an area of wide open land called the Yellow Dog Plains.  I have seen these mentioned on the maps, but never been there.  I'll have to take Burt and my yellow dog Baileys there.  Here is a shot of the rest of the crew for that ride.  I don't know any of them, so I cannot introduce you.  Another problem of having Brian drop off the camera with pictures he took in a place I was not at, is that I am left with shots like this.  Looks like a shot of the woods to me, I have been staring at it for a minute or two, trying to figure out if there is any other important subject matter and am stumped.  Guess it is just a pretty shot of the woods.
    Brian was riding with someone familiar with the area and they did do a little off trail riding.  Looks like there is still plenty of snow there.  Here's another shot showing how much snow is still down out there.  Looks like about 3-4 feet.  Where we went yesterday, there was still 3-4 feet down too.  Of course, off trail riding + plenty of snow = getting stuck.  Had plenty of those yesterday too.  In this next shot, I am not sure if he is showing the trail, or just some road they were taking through the bush, but it looked like fun.  They even came across a frozen waterfall.  Here's another shot.  This is a shot of the trail, notice the snow bank between the two trails?
    So that does it for Brian's ride through the Huron Mountains.  He said that there were a ton of trails to go off any play on, but time was limited and he did not know the area so he stuck to the main trail for the most part.  I will get over there one of these seasons!  As mentioned, the Lake Linden crew did take a ride yesterday.  We trailered up to Gratiot Lake and played in areas up north.  We were going to just ride up there, but decided it would be best to trailer, that way we could get in more play time up there and would not have to worry about riding back all exhausted.  The majority of the riding was pure bush riding, but we were on the trails a bit and even took in some pretty sights.  Here is a shot of Bete Gris Bay, from on top of the Keweenaw.
    The main objective of the ride was to go play in the hills all within about 10-20 miles of Gratiot Lake.  This time of the year, the snow is all compressed and it makes for great hill climbing through the trees, as Brian demonstrates here.  Now the thin that might be missing from that last shot is the fact that it had to be set up.  Someone had to climb the hill ahead of Brian so that the shot of him could be taken while he was riding up.  That job was left up to me and one reason why I was able to get the camera out to take the shot of Brian is that I got stuck.  I did not hit the tree, but was heading right for it, so I had to back off the throttle a bit, get the skis back down on the snow and shift my weight too the right to steer clear of the tree.  I was able to get to the right of the tree, but the act of backing off the throttle caused me to loose my momentum and thus my trip up the hill came to an end.
    Here's a shot of Al putting his Mountain Cat 900 through the paces.  The hills we were on were no problem for that sled, he could just about idle up them!  Although it takes about all he has to throw it around.  As he says, you throw your body over to one side and ask the sled if it would like to follow and hope it says yes.  I don't know if I would like that too much.  I am really getting used to being able to throw my sled around.  Sure it would be nice to have some more cc's under the hood and a few more inches of track to push me along, but I am pretty happy with what I have.  For now anyway.  Of course, it would have been nice to have that 900 with a 151" track for this hill.  Another rider was Kenny and here's a shot of him trying to get his MXZ up the hill.  Here's another shot of me and here is one of Matt.
    The snow was plenty deep out there, about 3-4 feet deep, so we could be riding in those areas for another week or two.  I know I would not mind heading out again before it all goes away.  If not, this has still been a great year of riding for me.  I am closing in on 2000 miles for the season.  I wonder how many dig outs?  Maybe next year I'll keep track of that stat.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
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March 27-
    Still do not have much to talk about, but I figure I better stay on top of things, or before I know it, it could be a week between entries.  I guess I can start out by saying the trip to Marquette to see the vet was a success.  Both my buddies got a good bill of health.  I was a little worried about Burt, he had a lump under his fur near his chest.  It seemed like it was in the skin, so that was a little relieving, but I wanted to make sure.  I ended up being a sebaceous cyst and not much to worry about, but I will keep an eye on it.  I've had a few of those myself.  Other than that, we changed the oil, rotated the tires and checked the plugs and then headed back home.  Of course, what would a trip to Marquette be without a stop to Menards?  I did pretty well there though.  I have been known to spend a lot of money at that place, since it is 2 hours away, but yesterday I just picked up a few things and did not lighten up my wallet too much.
    Speaking of good health, I was able to kick my little illness by Tuesday.  I am still not sure what it was.  I did not have any respiratory problems, just lots of aches and fatigue, so I wonder if it was the flu or not.  There is a "flu alert" going on up here.  The hospitals are asking that only immediate relatives come to visit people in the hospital and also asking anyone who has the flu to stay away unless they are coming in to be treated, so maybe it was the flu.  At any rate, it is all water under the bridge now.
    The past two days have provided a bit of spring.  Temps were only in the upper 20's to low 30's, but with the late March sun, it felt more like 50 out.  Today I cleared the snow off the bushes where the protector broke and I was out working without a jacket.  Just a sweatshirt was all I needed.  I think my face even got a little sun, it has a little glow to it.  The snow is holding up pretty well.  All the roads are clear, but still plenty in the woods.  The sections of trails I have seen are all flat and white.  I have not actually been out riding for a week, but have talked to some folks who have been all over the region and they all said things were great.  For those of you who have not heard, the DNR gave the region permission to keep grooming past March 31st this year.  They supposedly will be able to groom until conditions will no longer permit.  It will be interesting to see how long that goes.  No major thaws look to take shape and there is even a little bit of light snow possible, so maybe the will be grooming through next weekend as well.
    I do have two pictures to share with you.  Nothing too earth shattering, but maybe pretty.  The hounds and I took a walk up by the north shore.  With the snow starting to melt a little and the slightly warmer temps, the creeks have opened up again.  Still lots of snow in the woods too, so it makes for a very pretty scene.  We have not gone for a ski since Saturday, but it looks like we will be able to for at least another 10-14 days, with maybe even 3 weeks left.  Well, 3 weeks might be a bit of a stretch, but we'll see.  The other pic is of the road we were walking along.  No cars, no others, just the hounds and I strolling along to the sound of the wind through the trees and an occasional bird call.  I keep reading and watching stories about how stress can lower your life span more than anything else.  If that is true, I think I have lengthened by life span by many years in the past 3 years.  If not, I sure have heightened the quality.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 24-
    This will be a short one I am sure of that.  For one, I do not have any pictures to share, secondly I do not have any real interesting stories to share with you and third, I have gotten my first flu bug of the season.  It is not a real bad one.  I actually do not have anything more than lots of aches and pains.  No cough, sore throat or stomach problems, well, actually I do have a little cough, but not bad.  It hit me yesterday.  I woke up feeling pretty good, had breakfast, took the hounds for a morning walk and then felt really tired.  I had a very sugary breakfast (doughnuts) and thought that maybe I was just falling off a sugar high or something.  I ended up taking a little nap from about 11 am till noon, but still did not feel very energetic.  I was not even hungry, which is very unusual for me.  I did force myself to eat a little lunch, then took the hounds for a ski.  Getting outside did seem to help a bit, but I still did not feel 100%, so we cut the ski a little short.  Usually our trip through the school forest is 2 miles.  Yesterday's trip was more like a mile an a half.  Got home, took another little nap, then did some work around the house and made dinner.  Again, I was not that hungry, but knew I should eat something.  Not having an appetite for dinner really told me something is up.  I am not one that can go without food for too long.  I have always been envious of people that can skip breakfast or work through lunch.  Me, I need food fairly regularly, or I get really really tired.  After dinner, I relaxed some more, got up to take care of some stuff at about 8 pm and was so tired and achy that it actually hurt to breathe.  So I crawled into bed and slept for 12 hours.  This morning I felt a little better, but have been dragging, so something is bothering my system.
    If this is as bad as it gets, I will consider myself very lucky.  I have yet to be sick this year and there have been some doosy of flu bugs going around.  One up here was really bad for the stomach and digestive tract.  Not a pretty thing, so I will not describe it any further.  I usually do not get too sick as I work out of my home and have limited exposure to all the bugs out there.  Plus, I do love sleep and usually get 8 hours every night.
    Before getting sick, I was very productive.  I was able to get my taxes all done, or at least prepared enough to send to my accountant.  I could probably do it myself, but I get a great deal and he usually finds something I missed and ends up saving me more than I pay him, so it is a good deal.  Plus, I am assured that everything was done right.  The other activity that has keep me busy is that I have gotten a major bug to do some woodworking.  I mentioned about a year and a half ago that I like to build custom furniture.  I have many items in my house that I built and have about a dozen pieces scattered about the Chicagoland area that I was commissioned to build while I lived down there.  I was even going to have a piece or two for sale at a gallery called Sawbridge Studios, but ended up moving up here and ever since, I have just never got going on things.  The shop was setup soon after I moved up here, but only to a level that I could build something if I had to.  Since getting the bug a few weeks ago, I have been slowly getting things better organized and soon it will be in full production shape.  Nothing like a well organized workshop.  I have about 3 or 4 pieces I want to build in the next couple of months, plus have some interior trim work to do on the house.
    Spring is coming, the hounds have told me.  A few days ago, they started to shed and I can now pull handfuls of fur out of Baileys if I want.  Burt does not shed as bad, but Baileys sure does.  I am very intrigued at how they know that it is time to start shedding their winter coats.  The weather up here has been very winterlike, with highs only in the teens and low 20's.  Maybe it has something to do with the amount of sunlight or sun angle.  Pretty neat anyway, but there is yellow and white hair all over the place.  Only about 2 months and she will be done with the shedding!
    Guess that gets you caught up on things.  I have not gone for a ride since last Wednesday and with my little flu bug I am not sure when I will get back out.  Plus I have to take the dogs to the vet in Marquette Tuesday for their annual checkup and shots, so that shoots that day.  I can almost guarantee that I will ride a few more times before things melt.  Still some gas in the tank and lots of snow in the woods.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 21-
    Brrrrr, it's cold out!  But as I like to say, it may be cold out, but at least it's windy!  Ok, I know, don't loose my day job.  Feels more like January 21st than March 21st.  Almost too cold for a ride, almost.  I did not ride today, but did go yesterday evening.  Chris and I took another dinner ride yesterday and because so many restaurants are going to off season schedules, we are fairly limited in our choices.  Of course we could ride down to Houghton and Hancock and have ton of choices, but that would not be as much fun.  We could also ride to Copper Harbor and did think about it, but decided that the ride back might not be as enjoyable as the ride up, so we went to Eagle Harbor once again.  The trails were in good to excellent shape for the most part, especially down in my neck of the woods.  My hat really comes off for the groomers operating the groomer out of Tamarack City.  They run that thing lots, I even came across it just heading out at about 10 pm last night.  Here is a shot of the trail near my house, before the groomer even went out.  I also encountered it this Monday in the afternoon.  The trails around my house were mint.
    Things were not that bad in other areas, but I know for sure that the trail from Eagle River to Eagle Harbor had not been groomed in over a week.  We took that same trail last week and about 2/3rds of the way to Eagle Harbor from Eagle River there was a tree down across half of the trail.  Not a huge tree, but enough that it could not be moved, it had to be cut and also big enough that if someone hit it they could cause some damage to their sled.  I did not even think to mention it to the groomers because I thought that they would be down the trail the next day.  Wrong.  That same tree was still there yesterday.  There is enough room to sneak the groomer around the tree, but that would have been apparent by the bank opposite the tree being widened as the groomer went around the tree.  So that is proof that that trail had not been groomed in over a week.  We did come across the sheriff on our way back and told him and he would take care of it.  I don't know if that meant he would clear the tree himself or he would notify the groomer driver and make sure they took care of it.  At any rate, I am going to let the DNR know that that trail had not been groomed in over a week.  No reason why it could not have been and I would not put it past the two operators in that area to say they had been down that trail so that they would get paid.  Those two are really the whole problem up here.  Just unbelievable that that can go on.  Hopefully not for long.
    That trail was not a disaster by any means.  Traffic has been so light up here that there were only a few moguls, especially in the corners.  Just makes me mad to think that these to guys are getting paid to do such a pathetic job.  The trail would have been perfect if it had been groomed once or twice in the past week.  Won't have to worry about it next week, the Eagle Harbor Inn is going to weekends only starting this Monday.  That leaves the Mariner in the harbor or ride down to Houghton and Hancock - decisions, decisions.
    I did take one other shot during yesterday's ride.  Here is Chris and the sleds at the point where the trail crosses HWY. 41 near Phoenix.  It was another great night for a ride.  A little different conditions, colder and snowier, but still great.  At one point on our way home, it was coming down so hard we could only ride about 30 mph.  There was about 3" of fresh snow on the trail up by Delaware.  When we stopped to talk to the sheriff, about 1/2 inch of snow fell in the 20 minutes we were talking to him.  I was actually a little thankful that it lightened up a little, otherwise it would have been a long, slow ride home, and I need all the beauty sleep I can get.
    It looks like my riding may be drawing to a close.  Brian got the call back to work today and headed down to Green Bay to work on Green Bay's stadium.  He's an iron worker and usually is laid off in the winter, that's how he can ride every day if he wants.  Anyway, he was my main off trail riding companion during the week and Al only has a few hours on the weekends when he is free.  We may still go for a ride Saturday, but Al is thinking about racing in the Delaware Days being held this Saturday.  He has the itch to see what his new sled can do.  I'm hoping he decides to play instead of race.  If not, then I can get some work done around the house, or even just relax with the hounds.
    Believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to the warm season.  That is not to say I am sick of the snow, but it will be nice to go and hit the links, take the hounds for a walk and swim at the beach and a hike in the woods.  However, based on how deep the snow is in the woods and the forecast for the next week to ten days, it looks like we will be able to ski in the woods for another 2-3 weeks.  I'm sure that the gang will be taking one last ride in a few weeks too.  It is a tradition to get that one last ride of the year in.  Last year it was around the 20th of April, wonder when it will be this year.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 18-
    I had a chance to take some pictures today so I figured I would get out a quick journal.  I had a first for the season occur on my street today.  The Sno-Go came down.  It was a little late this year, we could have used it a few weeks ago.  I am not complaining mind you, I was able to get up and down the roads in my neighborhood just fine.  I am just used to them getting that thing out more often.  Last year it came at least twice and the year before I believe it came in January or early February.  I must be a little strange, because I really get a kick out of watching that thing work.  The driver can really manipulate where he puts the snow and he does a great job of not putting it where it is not wanted.  When he got to my side of the street, he actually shot it across the street, rather than filling up my yard..  In a matter of seconds, there was a pile of dense, compacted snow about 3 feet deep, 3 feet wide and 30 feet long.  In less than 10 seconds, he could put enough snow on my driveway that it would take me at least a half hour to clear it out.  In the "downtown" area of the village, they really do not have any places to throw it, so they drive a truck along side of it or just in front of it and throw the snow in those trucks.  They then haul it off to a dumping area.  Usually by the time most folks are heading off to work, the main streets and all the sidewalks through the main section of the village do not have any snow on them.  Pretty impressive if you ask me.  The same thing goes on in most of the cities, towns and villages up here every morning after a snow.  Moving snow is an art form and an industry up here.
    A little after noon today I was finishing up some work when the phone rang.  It was Brian and he said he and Kenny were getting ready to go for a ride and wanted to know if I wanted to come along.  I could not leave right away, I needed to be around for another hour or so to make sure that I could be available to my customers while the markets are open, plus I had visions of taking the hounds for a ski.  However, the draw of riding was too much, so I forwarded my phone to my cell phone and took the hounds for a walk around the neighborhood.  We put in a good 30 minute walk around the hood and then it was time to ride.  Brian was not exactly sure where they were going, so I headed down the trail towards his house and gave him a call on his cell phone.  The first time I called, he must have hit the button on his phone by accident because all I heard were to snowmobile engines roaring in the background. I drove down the trail a little bit more then gave him another try and got in touch with him.  It turned out I was only about a half mile away from them and was able to hook up with them quickly.
    We did not ride for too long, he had to be back to meet his son when the bus dropped him off, but we still managed to get in some great riding and get into some trouble all in less than 2 hours.  Here is Brian checking out a potential trouble spot.  If memory serves me correct, we did not decide to go there, but we did find another place to play.  Here is a shot of Kenny stuck on the left and Brian climbing the hill on the right to help him out.  When Brian neared the top, he broke off to the left to help Kenny, I decided to head up the right side as well, but decided to go to the top.  Once at the top, I was given a little surprise.  The hill ended quicker than it started.  I was thankful that I did not go racing up the hill, but when I got to the top, I had to hit the breaks quickly.  I did stop in time, but my skis were hanging over the edge of about a 30 foot drop.  I figured it would be more work to pull the sled back and then turn it around, and the way down looked fairly safe, so I gave it enough gas to get me all the way over the hump and rode down the other side.
    I was not about try and get up the way I came down, so had to circle around.  By the time I got there, they had gotten Kenny's sled off the hill and Brian was giving another hill a try.  He almost made it.  Then Kenny decided to give it a try and did not get as far as Brian.  He did not make it on his second try, here is a shot of Brian giving Kenny a hand.  After a few more tries, both Brian and Kenny made it up, but then the hill was all packed down and not much of a challenge, so I passed on it.  Not trying to brag here, but it is just not as much fun if you know for sure you will make it.  We found a few more places to play, then it was time for Brian to get home, so we rode to Brian's and then Kenny and I headed back towards Lake Linden.  All in all, it was a great 2 hours of riding and I was again very thankful for living here.  The hounds did not seem to mind a walk in the hood to a ski in the woods and I was able to sneak in another late season ride.  I plan to take at least one more evening ride with Chris this week, maybe two, then Brian and I, possibly more are planning on going back to our last Saturday's play spot.  The weather looks to cooperate, with cold temps and some fresh snow.  In another month an a half, I'll be talking about golfing.  Life is good.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 17-
    Have lots of pictures to share with you.  I wanted to get a journal out sooner, but have been busy.  As most of you know we got hit pretty hard last Thursday night/Friday morning.  13-14" all told.  Some areas not too far picked up 2 feet.  Set a new depth record for the season at 44.  The snow was very light and fluffy and has already compacted down in the 6:1 ratio.  The snowcover is now at about 35".  We may have set a new snow depth record for this season, but the all time of 63" is safe for now.  In Marquette, they set their all time seasonal snowfall record.  276.8 inches have fallen for the season so far.  That is 4.6 inches over the previous seasonal record of 272.2 inches set during the winter of 1996-1997. Their normal snowfall through March 15th is 144.3 inches.  I am a little tight for time, so I did not total up what I have picked up for the season, but the snow is deep up here.  Good old yooper deep.  That was a shot of some of the snowbankd up here.  Here is another yooper snowbank.
    The hounds and I took to the school forest for an afternoon ski Friday.  The first round of pictures is from that ski.  Here is a shot of the red pine stand.  We were breaking trail, but the snow had already settled some and with a good base underneath it was not too hard to get through.  Here is a shot looking back at the trail we broke and some frosted pines.  The trail takes us through a stand of balsam fir.  It is a very unique place, the cover is so thick, that it is actually quite dark in the stand and on sunny day's it is also about 5-10 degrees cooler.  Smells pretty good too.  After the stand of balsam, we break out into a stand of mixed hardwoods.  After that it's back into a stand of red pine before getting back to the starting point.  I must say that I was a little surprised to see an unplowed road up here at 3:30 in the afternoon, but the Mud Lake Road had not yet been plowed.  Thankfully some trucks had been down the road and the mighty Honda got the hounds and I through.
    The other feature to the past few days was "Chicken Hawks" ride in.  Chicken Hawk is the nick name of a local up here and he has a big end of the season party.  I was able to make his party two years ago, but last year was laid up with my leg.  It has really grown to be the social event of the spring for our group of friends.  There had to be 50-75 people out there on Saturday.  Most of us trailer up there and then spend the afternoon riding, then chow down on all of the good grub provided and brought by attendees.  It usually has a reputation for providing some rather crazy stunts while riding, so I was preparing myself to do a little restraining to keep from getting in too much trouble.  As it was, things were pretty mellow.  We did a little ride when we first got there, then hung around a chatted, then Brian and I started to get a little anxious to go riding again, so we rounded up another to ride with us and headed off.  I did manage to take a few shots from the first ride.  Here is Al and his stuck sled.  Now usually that would not be a very noteworthy event, but Al has a new ride.  It is a Arctic Cat Mountain Cat 900 with a 151" track.  So getting that thing stuck is a little newsworthy.  It does take some deep snow to get it stuck and it was deep.  Here's a shot of me standing in the snow about to help Al out of his hole.  The snow was almost up to my shoulders.  We did get him unstuck and continued on our little ride.
    The second ride turned out to be the event of the day for Brian, Todd and I.  We spend hours cruising untracked logging roads.  We found some areas that I think no one has yet to get to this year.  Why do I think that we were the first ones out there all year?  Well, Brian had never been in these areas in his life and they were off the beaten path and none of the other locals had been on them or even knew of them, so I think we found some trails that only the loggers who cut them knew about.  It really did not matter if we were the first out there or not.  There was not a sign of another sled and we were cutting through untracked powder.  That's all that really matters.  After playing on the logging roads, we found some great play spots in the form of hills and trees.  The area had been logged not too long ago, so there was endless ways of picking your way to the top.  Here is a shot of Brian climbing to the top.
    The snow was about 4-5 feet deep out there.  Anything that could be out there to get into trouble with was buried under a few feet of snow.  The snow itself was pretty settled, so it provided an almost perfect environment to ride on.  I say almost perfect because it was still very possible to get good and suck, as I demonstrated here.  Guess that section of the hill was just a little too steep for my short track.  None the less, that was probably the best place to do that type of riding that I have been on yet.  Brian thought so as well and we have plans to head back out there next weekend.  Here is an eagle's eye view of the terrain.  Here's a shot of some of our tracks through the trees.  Those shots were taken while up on a little hill and here's a shot of Brian reaching the top of the hill.
    Here's a shot of me getting ready to climb a little skidder trail.  Skidder trails are narrow paths cut through the woods by the equipment used to harvest the trees.  They are usually about 6 feet wide, perfect for riding on.  Sometimes it's fun to jump off the skidder trail and just pick your way through the trees.  The place we were at yesterday was perfect for that, in fact sometimes it was hard to tell where the skidder track went.  On one of my climbs, I got stuck and went to go swing the sled around 180 degrees to get it pointed downhill so that I could ride it down and have another go at it.  I grabbed my left ski and gave it a tug to swing the front of the sled around and, snap, the bold at the end of the tie rod broke.  So here we were, out in the middle of the bush, with no easy out and me with a sled that had only one ski that could be controlled.  I thought that as long as I was following in their tracks that the loose ski would just track in the ruts in the snow.  We called and got in touch with someone at the party that would borrow the piece I broke from another sled so that I could get my back and on the trailer.  The idea of my ski tracking in the run turned out to be the case for the most part, but our plan to get back to a logging road and take that out to a road where we could get the piece did not.  All the logging roads we took either came to a dead end or to too large of a ravine for my sled to get through without incident.  So the only way out was to climb the hill, through the trees and up to a trail we knew would get us to the road.  The hill climb became very interesting as at times both skis were off the ground.  On one of the times, the skis came off the snow, the broken one decided to swing out at a 90 degree angle, which had it sticking straight out.  There was not enough room for the sled to make it through two trees and I was about to hit the brakes to avoid the ski hitting the tree when I remembered that it would not be broken, that it was already broken.  So I kept up on the throttle and let the ski hit the tree.  It swung around and was pointed 180 degrees in the wrong direction, but I was able to get to the top of the hill.  Brian and Todd were able to see the whole thing and gave me a little applause when I got to the top.  Brian even thought it deserved a picture, note the left hand ski.  We made it to the road to get the replacement part and were back at it for a while and then decided to head back down to the party.
    That broken bolt is the first thing that has broken on my sled since I got it three years ago.  That says a lot I think, especially what I have put it through.  My sled is about the only one of our group that has not either blown up, or had some other form of serious mechanical problems.  I suppose that maybe I have just been lucky, but I think that the good old XLT with over 10,000 miles on it deserves a bit of special recognition.  So thank you my little old faithful.  We have had quite a year of riding and it does not look to be over too soon.  The week ahead looks to provide some snow.  Even a rare late March lake effect event.  Yep, it looks as though by later Wednesday and into Thursday and Friday, a late season arctic intrusion will bring a rare late March lake effect snow event.  Not sure how much we will get, but just the fact that it will be cold and we will get some fresh snow is a great thing.  It looks like riding should be able to be done through the rest of the month without too much challenge and if things do not warm up too much too fast, the last ride of the season may happen sometime in the middle of April.  Skiing should be able to be done for another 3 weeks at least.  The snow that is down is deep and very firm.  How firm?  Well, I let Burt tell you.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 14-
    Well, the last time I got an early start, things worked out pretty good, so I am going to repeat the process today.  I have to run down to Houghton to do some shopping and it was a toss up as to if I should do that before dinner or a journal.  I figured that it would be better to do a journal first, then when I am brain dead do the shopping.  Looks like we are on the threshold of another significant snow storm.  The models started out a few days ago with the heavier snow band down across central WI and have been moving it in our direction ever since.  The latest round still had the heavies snow passing off to our south by about 40 miles, but looking at the latest satellite and radar trends, that last 40 mile push might be in the making.  Not that we need any more snow mind you, but what the heck, as long as it is going to snow, we may as well get more than a foot right?  Actually, the first flakes have already begun to fall.  They are very small and will not lead to more than a dusting, but that is a good sign.  Snow early can many times mean more snow.  We'll see.
    It's funny, my memory of last year was of tons of snow in December, February and March, with deep snow well into March.  The other night I spent some time reading last years March journal and was reminded that the first part of March was very snowy, with the deepest depth of the season being set March 13th.  But then we started to thaw and by the end of the month had lost almost half of our depth.  By the third week of the month, the trails were pretty well cooked too.  So far this season might just surpass last season as far as rideable snow into the season.  We'll see, but there does not look to be any major thaws shaping up and actually a couple of more snows may be on the way in the next week to ten days.  That would be just fine with me.  It's gonna melt, I know that.  The best scenario for me is to shorten to mud time as much as possible.  Let it snow right up to the end of March, then melt it all away in the first two weeks of April and get on with summer after that.  Of course, summer really does not arrive until the end of May or beginning of june around here, but 50's and 60's are fine as long as there is not a ton of mud and the hounds and I can get out into the woods to play.  It's the down time that gets to us.  The hounds have not begun to shed yet, maybe that is a good sign too.
    The new snow will be very welcomed as I have a big ride planned for Saturday.  There is an "end of the season" ride and party I am going to.  It has become a traditional thing and I went 2 years ago, but had to sit last years out as I was still recovering from my broken leg.  Lots of fun, lots of craziness and I'm sure lots of photo opps.
    Speaking of photo opps, I do have some to share with you.  I took the sled to the school forest on Tuesday to do a little grooming of the ski trails.  Things have been rather quiet out there recently and on Friday there was no tracks at all, so we were not able to ski too far.  It was really a lot of fun to break trail through the woods.  In a way I felt kind of guilty, riding my noisy snowmobile through an area I have only known in the silent world of skiing and hiking.  However, there have been other sleds out there packing down a trail and it did need it, so the guilt did pass!  I took the Dreamland trail down to the school forest as it passes right by the road into it.  There had not been too many sleds down it since the storms either.  The trail was in good shape and also provided some picturesque views.  The snow is still plenty deep and also very dense.  Burt has been walking around on the snow in the backyard.  It is actually firm enough to support him.  Every once in a while a paw will break through and sinks all the way down, but he seems to get a kick about being able to stand on top of the snow.
    Yesterday I took the longest trail ride I have taken in well over a year.  They are in such great shape and so empty that they are even fun for a dedicated bush rider like me.  I ended up riding with Chris from the White House, the two of us rode up to Eagle Harbor for dinner.  Pretty cool to be able to just hop on the sled and head off for somewhere to eat on such awesome trails, and I do mean awesome.  They were flat, white and rock hard.  As long as it stays cold, they will hold up just great.  I actually wonder of the fresh snow would make them worse, as it will cause a layer of softer snow on top of the hard base.  One thing I know for sure is that it would be awesome to be the first tracks on it tomorrow morning after the snow.  I have to work, so no such luck.
    I kept anticipating to encounter a section that was bumpy, but did not in the whole 70 miles or so we put on yesterday evening.  Even a stretch that is almost always bumped up or nasty was perfect.  That was the section of trail that is just south of Copper City, between Calumet and Mohawk.  How many of you have had your kidneys pulverized on that stretch?  My only regret was having to go home.  Starting work at 5 am meant that I could not be out all night, but I wished I could have.  I would easily have gone over the whole trail system, taking in a few refreshments in Copper Harbor, Lac La Belle, Phoenix, Copper City, Gay.  I've yet to get to the harbor (Copper Harbor) this year and will not likely make it.  Well, maybe not.  If the trails are like this next week, I bet I can convince Chris to ride to the Mariner to have dinner.  Another neat thing about last night was it was clear out and the stars were just magnificent.  Up in the Keweenaw, there are almost no lights to obscure your view and last night, looking up we saw millions of them.  It would have been cool to see the northern lights too.  Don't know if they were out dancing last night or not.  I went to sleep before they usually come out.  Man was that a great ride last night.
    So if you have plans to come up soon, you should be in great shape.  If you are here, you are even luckier.  We did past about 5 sleds last night.  5 sleds - 70 miles, sounds like the old days up here.  I guess if there is a lesson to be learned here, that is to try and plan a trip up here in the first 2 weeks of March.  Of course if we have an early thaw or something, then conditions would not be as good, but I know that last year at this time they were awesome and I have been told that the first two weeks of March are the best time to come and ride the trails up here and I am beginning to be convinced of that.  So store that in your memory banks for next year.  Of course if you only have one trip you can make, then Jan or Feb would likely be a safer bet, but if you like flat, uncrowded trails, then come up in March, then go home and golf!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 11-
    Getting an early start on this one (before dinner actually).  I can feel that this is going to be an early night for me.  Actually last night was too, but I bet my eyes will start to droop at about 8 pm.  I am almost embarrassed to say that I fell asleep at about 7:30 last night, but Saturday night I did not get in until about 1 am and then was awake at about 6.  Plus we had some very energetic riding we did on Sunday (more on that in a bit).  But what a storm eh?  Monitoring things a little over the weekend I could see that we were not alone in our storminess.  Lots of places with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts to 60-70.  The highest up here was actually out in the lake at one of the measuring devices where gusts hit 73 mph, that's rockin'.  The power did go out in places up here late Saturday with all the wind.  I was down in Houghton and across the Portage (when you could see that far) it was all dark.  The power went out sometime in the evening.  It was actually snowing so hard that for most of the night you could not see across the Portage Lake (canal) and at times you could not even see the bridge!  That means that the visibility dropped to less than a few hundred yards, just with the falling snow.  The blowing snow cut the visibility to less than 30 feet at times.  Drifts blocked most of the roads up the Traprock Valley and I heard that some plows even got stuck Sunday morning trying to clear them.  In a way it was good that we got that freezing rain and rain Saturday morning, otherwise, most of the snow would have blow away into Keweenaw Bay.
    I was glad that the power did not go out here at my house for long at all.  Actually I think that the only time it went off was when they had to cut power to fix things.  It went off at about 10 am Sunday for about 20-30 minutes.  I was all ready to fire up the fireplace and keep the house warm, but then in an instant, all the electrical equipment started buzzing again and the furnace kicked into gear.  Amazing how dependent on electricity we have become.  Life could almost not go on without it.  I know one thing, when I build my dream house out in the sticks somewhere, I will have a backup generator that is for sure.  I have heard of places being without power for more than a day up here.
    When I last left you I was talking about a secret play spot that some friends and I were going to go to on Sunday.  We did go there and it did live up to my expectations.  It was a little strange though.  As we got there, none of us had ridden there before, so we did not really know right were to go to have the most fun, we were just sort of feeling our way around the area.  I had been out there before the snow, so I knew where to go and not to go.  There are stumps and automobile sized boulders sticking half out of the ground and hitting anyone of them would most likely mean a totaled sled and maybe a ride to the hospital.  I had my one ride to the hospital last season so we all stayed right where we should.  That did not mean that some of us did not get into a bit of trouble from time to time.  That was (from left to right) Mark, Brian and Kenny standing near Kenny's sled after taking it a bit too easy coming off a jump.  The place we went to has about 20 of these 8-10 foot cliffs to jump off of and try and climb up and a few 20 footers.  None of us jumped off the 20 footers, but Brian did try and climb one and ended up rolling his sled.  He stayed right with the sled as it rolled over on him and then ended up right side up, still running.  He just brushed off the snow from his face and came on down laughing.  You can do that when there is 4-5 feet of untouched powder to cushion the roll.  Here is Brian showing the proper way to come off a cliff like Kenny's.  I took that at the same spot, but was right up next to the cliff.  I was waiting for Brian to come off, thought that he changed his mind and the next thing you know, he almost landed right on me.  No zooming done on that shot!  After watching how it was done, Kenny climbed right back up on the horse and gave it another try.  It looked like fun, so I gave Brian the camera and asked him to take a shot of me.  He decided to take a shot of me getting ready, just in case it was the last time I was seen alive.  Just kidding, actually Brian went a little hog wild with the camera.  When I got home, there was 38 images on it.  Some were not really any good, but all told, I do have 22 to share with you tonight.  Here's me catching a little air, look Mom, no broken bones!
    Not all of the jumping was found off the cliffs, some of it was done while getting to the top, as Kenny demonstrates here, and I demonstrate here.  Here's Mark trying his luck off a hill.  It was a very big area, with lots of places to play.  Once we wore out one spot, then we just moved on to another.  That was yours truly placing a three point landing.
    Of course, with all that deep snow and hills, there were more than a few digouts.  Here is one I got of Kenny.  The only thing showing of his sled was the windshield and very top of his hood.  Looks like he was checking to make sure the rest of the sled was still there.  Here I am getting ready to launch off another hill, and there I go, and then Kenny.  Here is a shot of me busting a little pile of powder.  Here's one of the guy's digging out a sled, deep eh?  Here is Mark showing off his handiwork.
    We did not go off any of the 20-25 footers, we'll need a few more feet of fresh powder out there for that.  The snow was a little crusty, but still plenty of softer snow underneath.  However, we did manage to launch off a few 15 footers.  I did not know my old XLT could fly that well.  Here is a shot of Brian, Kenny and Chris (I think that was his name) flying off the 15 footer.
    After about 2 hours of horse play in that spot we decided we had used up about all of our luck for one day.  Nothing broke, but plenty of bruises.  Drying off after my shower this morning, I think I counted about 3 or 4 new ones.  They were well worth it though.  Actually, with the crew we had out there and the elements we were in, it is quite amazing that no sleds were broke.  Chances are pretty high that anytime you gather more than 3 of us for a ride, one is bound to break something.  We must be getting better, or luckier.
    Leaving the play spot, did not automatically mean that we were home free from trouble.  We found a whole boatload of new trails to ride, most of them never ridden down all season.  We came up to a rather large gully.  There was an easy way around to the left, but Brian thought we should all go the hard way.  So we let him go first.  This was the result.  The rest of us went around the left.  I took this shot as they had is sled about halfway out of the gully.  The cameraman sometimes gets to miss the digout.
    So it looks like I have used up all 22 shots in this journal entry.  I am out of things to say.  Winter is still here.  Picked up about a half inch of snow this morning and a little more looks to be on the way for later tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday... you get the picture.  Winter has decided to stick around the Keweenaw for a bit longer.  Why not come up and play in it one last time?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 9-
    Well, I had all the intentions on updating this journal last night, but played a little too hard in our fresh snow and ended up running out of steam before I could get to it.  Had a nice snow storm Thursday night and Friday morning.  We ended up with 15".  However, it was a different type of snow. They say the Eskimos have 100 different words to describe snow and living here I am learning many of them.  Our 15" of snow all came with temps in the teens, which meant that it was powdery.  However, the flakes were very small as they were falling, so we ended up with a very compacted 15" of dry snow.  Usually our snow up here is so light and fluffy that if we were to get 15" it would eventually compact down to about 2 1/2".  The 15" from the other night compacted down to about 14", even with the freezing rain and rain we had overnight last night.  So I would have to say that the snow we got Thursday night and early Friday was the equivalent to at least 75" of LES, maybe more.  That snowfall also gave me my deepest depth of the season so far, with 36".  After the settling and liquid precip my snowcover this AM was still 35" and it is now snowing pretty good and is back up to about 36".
    I did have plans to ride this afternoon, but things were so messy due to the freezing rain and rain overnight and this morning that we opted to postpone things until tomorrow.  We must have picked up about a half inch of sleet and snow last night from about midnight to 2-3 am, then a quarter of an inch of freezing rain after that and then about 8 am just plain old rain.  Too bad it was not all snow, I think that it could have been another 6-8" at least.  Not that we need a whole lot more, but I'd sure rather have snow than rain or freezing rain, that is for sure.  Things sure were messy this morning, lots of slush on the roads and even some big puddles.  The temps have dropped about 19 degrees in the past 2 hours and now everything is ice.
    It was a different story yesterday morning as the storm was tapering off.  That was the look down my block.  The snowbanks are the typical yooper size now, about 6-8 feet high.  Makes for some interesting driving when you get to an intersection.  You cannot even see around the corner to see if another car is coming, so I just ease my way out and hope for the best.  I am also very careful as I drive through one when I have the right of way, just in case someone rolls out.  A few close calls, but no contact yet.
    The storm really caught a lot by surprise.  The forecast was calling for a winter storm warning, with the potential of 8-12" of snow, but after a few winter storm warnings that did not pan out, I think the general population had become disbelievers.  Plus, the majority of the 15" of snow fell from about midnight until 5-6 am.  The net result was that a lot of the plow operators were not able to get out of their own driveway and that resulted in the plows getting a late start in clearing the snow.  Usually the village guys have the streets perfect by about 6 or 7 in the morning.  Friday, they finally got down my street at about 9:30.  Luckily I did not have to go anywhere, but my neighbors were snowed in until the grader came down.  Because the snow was so dense, it took me about an hour to clear my driveway and pathway's.  Usually that is about a 15-20 minute process.  I was sure grateful for my 8 hp Toro.  Threw that snow perfectly.  Even cut through the 2 1/2 foot deep plow bank with little trouble.
    On Thursday, I ended up getting a new pair of cross country skis to replace the ones I got about a month ago.  The month old pair did not work out like I thought they would.  They were shorter and wider and were suppose to be good for back country skiing.  Turns out who ever engineered them must not have taken them into the back country, or at least in deep snow in the back country.  They ended up sinking into the snow so deep that they were nearly impossible to maneuver.  So I ended up with getting longer ski, but still a bit shorter than a regular classic cross country ski.  Tried them out at the school forest in the 15" of untracked snow and they did great.  It was a real workout, but I could tell that they were still way better than the other pair.  Plus I was able to trade my month old pair for getting the 2-3 feet of snow off my roof, so all worked out well.  Here is Baileys demonstrating how deep the snow was.  She was standing.  By looking at the untracked snow in the forest, you would never think that it was as deep as it was.  Here is a shot of Baileys and the rump of Burt in the trench we were carving through the snow.  Needless to say we did not go too far in those conditions.  Maybe a half mile or so.  The way back was much easier, but still a bit of a workout.  Towards the end of the storm the other night, the winds started to blow pretty hard.  That knocked off the snow on most of the trees, however, I was able to find some that still had some flocking on them.
    After the ski, I decided to go and bust some powder on my sled.  I did not want to venture into the woods too deep, for fear of getting good and stuck and not getting out until spring, so I just headed out into the old stamp sand area near the village.  Acres and acres of untracked 2 foot deep powder.  As fun as that sounds it is just not as much fun as when I am riding with someone, so I called up Chris and Marlo from the White House Motel and convinced them that they needed to come down and play.  It did not take too much convincing and soon we were digging Chris out of a hole.  Yep, that snow was past his waist and he is about 6'2", and he was not standing on the ground.  We spent about an hour out there and had a total blast.  I think I spent more time with the sled at a 45 degree angle than with it in the snow.  Here's another shot, and another.  Not sure if there is anything more fun to do on a sled then lay it down in a deep powder turn.
    Based on the forecast for the next week to ten days I looks as though I may get several more opportunities to lay it down.  Right now it is snowing at the rate of about an inch an hour and looks to snow at a pretty good clip for the next 12-14 hours.  Maybe not this heavy, but I would suspect that we will pick up about 5-10" new by tomorrow mid-morning.  Then a brief break before some more snow arrives Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then later Thursday and into Friday.  Even beyond that the forecast looks to bring us snow.  I'd have to say that if the forecast pans out, we will have good riding until the last week of March at least, maybe beyond.  This has been my best riding season up here so far.  I have about 1500 miles on, which may not sound like a lot, but multiply that about 4-5 to come up with the equivalent of trail riding.  The sled is showing some battle scars.  The seat has developed several rips in it and some of the reflectors on the side have been taken off by the bush riding.  The seat I will get a new cover for this spring or summer and the reflectors I will not worry about.  Tomorrow we are going to another secret place to play.  I discovered it back before the snow started to fly.  However it needed about 3 feet on the ground before it would be safe.  Now that we have that 3 feet, it is time to give it a whirl.  Hope to have some pictures from our adventure in the next journal.  Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 5-
    I have just one word to describe things up here - Saweeeeet!  As I went to bed last night, I did one last quick check of the weather and it looked like we were set up for a few inches of lake effect snow.  The NWS was calling for 1-2" overnight, with another 1-2 this morning and I could not find anything wrong with that thinking.  At 2:30 pm, Baileys woke me up to tell me she had to go outside and go pee, so I climbed out of a nice warm bed and walked to the door to let her out.  When I looked outside, it was a white out.  Baileys was outside just about 60 seconds, but in that time, she came back coated with a layer of snow.  I looked over at the snow station and it had about 2" on it.  Even in my middle of the night grog, I could comprehend that something was up.  When I awoke at about 4:45 to get ready for work, it was still coming down and the snow station had 6" on it.  Something was definitely up.  After a few minutes of accessing what was going on, the best I could decipher was that we were experiencing something I have been dying to experience since moving up here - The Bayfield Bomber.  I gave that specific lake effect setup that name back in 1998 when I first saw it occur in December.  Back then it occurred for over a day and places between Twin Lakes and Phoenix saw over 2 feet of snow.  The LES actually continued for about 4 weeks straight and they picked up about 120" in that time period.  Almost half the snow for the whole season from a week before Christmas through the 2nd week of Jan.
    I call it the Bayfield Bomber because what happens is a convergence band sets up beginning just off the peninsula that Bayfield Wisconsin sits on and extends almost straight east to the Keweenaw peninsula.  I think I talked about a convergence band in a journal last week, but basically it is an area where the surface winds converge.  This convergence causes additional lift and that additional lift enhances the snow.  It is not uncommon to have snowfall rates of 1-3"/hr in these convergence band.  This morning's averaged about 1"/hr for 8 hours.  So it was a nice surprise.  Not predicted, but I'll take that type of botched forecast to the other type.  Maybe mother nature was just trying to make up for the snow we were suppose to get this weekend.  We were about the only area in the UP that the forecast did not verify and were about the only area in the UP to get the snow this morning.  Hmmmm.
    So it feels and looks like January around here.  Funny, January felt and looked a lot like March this year.  I took the camera with me on the afternoon walk with the hounds, hoping to share with you some of the sights.  This first shot is of the plow banks, which are getting pretty big.  About 5-6 feet tall and they extend back off the road about 10 feet.  I wonder if we will see the snow-go this year in my end of town.  I see that they have already run it in other spots where there is not as much room to push the snow.  Last year it came into my end of town twice.  This year it has yet to show.  Here is a shot of the snow piling up at my neighbors house.  Looks like their bush protection system is going strong.  I can not even see my bushes that are unprotected now.  I should really get some of that snow off.  I guess that was it for the neighborhood tour.  I did take two other pictures but the did not come out.
    I did go for a ride today.  Bryan the DJ and Brian the KSE guide were my riding partners.  Note the different spelling of the two so that we can tell them apart.  Anyway, in the AL Cam highlights I said the trails were like pool tables.  Here's the proof.  Actually we passed the groomer on the way up, but I can say that before we got to the groomer, the trails were also flat.  Even some powder on them.  That's how quiet things are up here.  5 hours after the snow ended, there were still fresh spots on the DNR trails!  After getting to Brian's we headed off to track up some of the fresh in the bush.  I won the first stuck of the day award.  Not sure why I got stuck there, no hills or any real reason, other than lots of deep snow.  Actually, I just remembered, I was watching Brian head off towards the tree line and decided to stop and see if he would find a way to get through before I headed into a region where I might reach a dead end.  When I decided to go again, the sled had other ideas.  Brian thought the way I was plowing snow, I could get a job with the county.  Here's another shot of me and my snowplow.
    Once we got into the woods, it did not take Bryan too long to get his Mountain Max stuck.  Here's a shot of the trail we were taking through the woods.  No saplings to run down!  After getting stuck in the woods a few times, we decided to head for a field and try our luck there, so Brian took us off to Phil's fields.  A lot more snow in them than the last time we were there.  Enough to bury the Mountain Max again.  The hills and gullies had plenty of snow to play in, here is a shot of Brian climbing one of them.  It looked like fun, so I had a go at it. Here is the result.  Guess I could have used a few more inches on my track and a few more horses under the hood.  I wasn't about to let the hill get the best of me so I went at it again.  Did not quite make it that time either.  Here is a shot of me sitting on my stuck sled, watching Brian and his Powder Special make the hill, again.  And again.  I think he was rubbing it in.  That drift was deep, at least 7-8 feet deep.  Here's one more shot of Brian busting the hill.  I did end up making it, but not the same after 3 tries or whatever it was.
    The final task of the day was to climb Phil's rock.  It is a rock outcropping that is about 50 feet high and about 65 degrees in slope.  After my 3 stucks on the smaller hill, I decided to sit this one out, but here is Brian giving it a whirl.  He almost made it, but when he got to the top, it was all wind blown and his track slipped on the rock under the 2-3" of snow.  The only way to get the sled down was to pull it back down the way he came.  Not too hard, just gave it a tug and down she went.
    So our winter seems to not want to go away.  The forecast looks pretty promising.  My only concern continues to be the period later Friday and early Saturday when some liquid precip may fall, but snow looks to fall out ahead of any rain and also behind it.  Plus there are some growing indications that we may not see any liquid precip at all.  At any rate, it looks like the season will go into the second week of March at least.  I do not want to get too carried away.  I have seen the snow go away very quickly this time of the year.  But this extended winter will make spring that much shorter.  That is a good thing too.  Spring is not very pretty up here.  Lots of melting snow and all the nasties that were buried in the snow start to appear.  Plus the colder and snowier it stays, the more ready for summer I will be.  Not ready yet, but I can start to feel the desire to go chase that small white ball around the course or take the hounds for a stroll down the beach grow.
    Two last tidbits; the contest to guess when the Laurium Glacier will melt is in the Ask John and I keep forgetting to say that my new helmet/goggles setup works awesome.  I have not had things fog up on me yet and have had plenty of opportunities.  I will give you some tips if you are thinking of going this route.  First, make sure you get double lenses goggles.  Single lens are cheaper, but will fog.  I also got the goggles with the quick release strap and blue tint.  Nice features, as you can unbuckle them easily, but keep one side attached to the helmet so you don't loose them.  The blue tint cuts the glare in sunshine, but also polarizes the light, so you can see the details in the snow much better, even in low light cases.  Secondly, you will need a breath deflector.  I got the model from "No Fog".  It is neoprene and works great.  They say that you cannot use a head sock or baklava, but I have found that you can, but you have to pull the bottom of the baklava down around your chin so that it does not cause your goggles to fog.  I rode on Sunday when the temps were near zero and was not cold at all.  I am very happy with this setup and would recommend it to anyone wanting to not have to deal with fogging.  Guess that's it.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-
March 3-
    Not sure how long this one will be, as I am a tired pup.  Lots of riding in the past 3 days, actually for that matter, the past week.  The only days that I did not ride were last Monday and Thursday.  Lots of digging out too.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not complaining at all, just stating a fact and the reason why I hope to be asleep in about an hour.  We sure have picked up a lot of snow in the past week - 30 inches at my house and more than that in some areas.  We got missed by the big storm this weekend.  Seems like we were about the only place in the UP that did.  Not sure why, I was riding all day yesterday and when I got home, I was too tired to really take a look at things and see if I could figure out why we got missed, but we did.  It looked good at the onset.  The snow started to fall at about 6-7 am and was really coming down for a while, then at about 11 am it became more showery in nature and by the late afternoon it had stopped completely and we were flirting with breaks of sunshine.  It did start to snow again overnight and has snowed pretty much all day today, all told it looks like about 5" new.  I am not that disappointed we were missed by the bigger snows.  It would have been great, but I am happy with they way things are going.  They way things were just 2 weeks ago, another 2-3 warm days with sunshine and we could have been down to some bare spots.  Now we have 2-4 feet down.  The deepest snow is in the higher elevations in the woods, the least is in my backyard!
    For the amount of riding I have been doing, I do not have a lot of pictures to share.  I forgot the camera on Friday and today's ride and Saturday it just seemed like we were too busy playing for me to stop and get a shot.  I did manage to get a group photo of our KSE ride Saturday.  A good time was had by all and by the end of the day all were very glad to be back, including me.  Not that we were afraid we would not make it back, but were actually glad to be done for the day.  Lots of riding + digging out = sore muscles.  We were out there a long time too.  Left at 10 am and did not pull back into Lake Linden until about 7 pm.  Usually the full day rides end at about 5 or 6, but we found one last play spot on our way back and had fun out there for about an hour.  Dave, one of the KSE guides, could not help showing off by climbing a stack of logs.  Kids, don't try this at home.
    Today's ride was a little more laid back, still lots of fresh powder and some good jumping spots.  No broken bones or even any broken sleds.  I had to bug out a bit early to get home to take care of some work, but I believe that in the past week I have put on 700 miles.  Not too shabby seeing as though they were just about all bush miles.  As anyone that has ridden with us on a KSE ride can attest, a bush mile is equal to about 3-5 miles on the trail.
    Speaking of the trails, I spent about 5 miles on them this weekend and they trails I was on were mint.  I also heard that most of the system was great.  It was not too busy up here and with the fresh snow and cold temps, we finally had all the conditions working in our favor.  Figures, it is almost the end of the season.  Oh well, if you still have some time off to ride, come on up, things are in as good a shape as they have been in all season.
    The forecast for this week looks pretty good.  One clipper system later tomorrow and into Tuesday, then another for later Wednesday and Wednesday night and then possibly a regular old storm Friday and Saturday.  The Fri/Sat storm has me concerned a bit as the rain/snow line looks to get pretty close.  In any case, I will have to try and plan some more rides in the coming week.  Running out of time.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD-