Past Journals
George's Eagle 
Harbor Web
Pasty Cam
Dan's Wilderness 
Oct 29-
    I believe I am really seasoning into a true Yooper with my 4+ years of living up here.  I'm not quite there and I am sure that there are born and bred Yoopers that would say that I can never become a true Yooper, that's fine with me, I understand that there will always be a bit of flatlander in me.  But I am really doing well with the anticipation of winter.  Everywhere you look the signs are popping out. The plows have been brought out from the back of the yards and are now in a position where they can be hooked up at a moments notice. The protection devices cleverly devised to keep the bushes and small trees from being destroyed by the feet of snow that will fall this winter are up. The road markers the county puts in to show where the sides of the roads and some of the hazards the plows want to avoid are in, the majority of the trees are bare, the Tamaracks are changing and the ponds are even making night ice.  In just 3 days most of the cities and villages will have their night parking ordinances in effect and I bet in not too long I will hear the rumble of the village plow truck coming down the street to clear away the seasons first "plow snow".  Some areas up here have already picked up their first plow snow and areas of WI and MN have joined in as well.  But me, I sit here cool as a cucumber.  Sure my sled is all ready to go and all the snow thrower needs is to have gas put in it's tank, but I just do not have the crawling out of my skin anticipation for the winter to arrive.  Now don't get me wrong I am not losing my attraction to snow or the winter.  In fact, I think that my affinity for the white stuff and the season that brings it continues to grow.  I just think that I am becoming more and more "seasoned" after each passing year that I wait for the snow.
    I can remember my first autumn up here. We got the first flakes in good time, but then had to wait until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving before we got our first 1" or more and did not really have enough to ride in until about a week before Christmas.  Pretty hard on the patience of a snow lovers first winter in the Keweenaw, I'll tell you that much!  The next year I could feel things starting to change but that was probably offset by the fact that it was my friends Chris and Marlo's first winter in the Keweenaw and their excitement for the snow and winter to start rubbed off on me.  Thankfully that year we did not have to wait long at all.  I actually took my first ride the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and it was through over a foot of snow!  We then started the regular season of riding up here in early December and I did not look back until Feb. 4th when I broke my leg!  The next 2 seasons I did very well in waiting for the snow and now I have an undercurrent of anticipation, but it does not occupy my daily thoughts.  Even the fact that other areas of the Midwest have seen quite a bit more snow than we have does not phase me.  I know that it will come and it will come in bunches.  Just how much will not be known until Memorial Day (or beyond?!!!), but we will have lots of snow and in a month or so there will be no question that winter is here.  So I am ready, but also keeping a cool head about things.
    Other than raking leaves, making wood and doing any other chores to get ready for the winter, not much is going on up here.  This is actually a pretty quiet time of the year.  Football seasons are ending for many teams and a few are getting ready for the playoffs.  The Lake Linden team had a good season, but did not make the playoffs.  I have not been following them too closely, but it seems like they should be a playoff team next year.  Not bad considering just 2 years ago they did not even have a program.
    Oh, and of course all the hunters are getting ready for the big day that comes in just over two weeks.  That means we have just over two weeks left to walk the woods.  I have already seen some blinds setup in areas that we frequent for walks and it is the first bow season right now as well, so the bow hunters are all racing home to get out before the sun sets.  A real trick up here now that the time changed if you have to work until 5 pm!  So while some may be thinking that "The" season is just over 2 weeks away, for me this is really sort of the in between time.  A time to anticipate the snow and also reflect back on the past summer and closing autumn season.
    Right now Nora is working on finishing up making our Christmas cards.  I feel a little guilty calling them "ours", as I have not done much more than say: "That looks good honey", or "I like that one better".  But she is enjoying herself making them and they look great!  Even though it is still weeks away and we have not mentioned it much, I can tell that we are both getting excited to be able to put up the Christmas Tree and enjoy the holiday season together.  I hope I don't sound like a communist, but I did not have a tree until this year!  It just seemed like since I was traveling to my parents for the holiday, I could enjoy their tree and decorations.  However, this year I am looking forward to decking the halls.
    So I really do not have much else to share with you.  Today the 4 of us took a walk in the School Forest and I snapped a shot of the hounds in the woods for you all to enjoy.  They both are getting around very good now and that makes me happy.  One, because I know that they are not in as much pain as they were and two because that means that we will be able to take our skis this winter too.  I was really worried that they might not be able to join Nora and I on our afternoon skis. It would have been very sad and hard to leave them behind. I guess I am just not ready for that stage of their life.  So it is great to watch them trounce through the woods, and do it for miles at a time!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
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 Oct 26-
    I think this will be another relatively short one because I do not have much to speak about and because I have plans to build a fire, watch the rest of the Bears-Lions game and then make a big old pan of lasagna for dinner.  I must say though that I lied to you all in the last journal, twice!  I did have some pictures to share with you.  Nothing earth shattering, but something for the eyes none the less.  Here is a shot looking out my front window one morning last week.  The sun was just rising and the sky was a beautiful mix of reds, oranges and purples.  Kind of a nice sight to be able to sit and eat my breakfast to!  The other picture was one Nora took of Baileys.  She was laying on their couch all cuddled up with one of her toys.
    The other thing I lied to you about was that I said that I figured it would not be too much of a chore to get the new trail cam up and going.  I suppose that was not an outright lie, but I really should have known better.  On Thursday, both the cameras and the computer came via UPS.  That part went smoothly.  The computer was just what I needed, or so I thought.  What I did not realize was that the camera did not only need a pentium III processor, but it also needed at least 256 meg of ram, a USB 2.0 port and windows 2000 or XP.  So, Friday was spent scrambling around to get the ram, USB 2.0 port and also a internal modem.  Then get them all in, the operating system up and running and the cam software loaded and the cam running.  I did get some help in all of that, taking the computer over to my buddies at Next Century in Hurontown.  We got it all running ok, but the cam's image was really dark.  I played around with it most of Friday evening and was finally able to get the settings ok on it.  Saturday morning I got the software all set up to dial in and upload the image.  It was my plan to just have to take the computer out there, swap it out with the old one and swap the camera out as well.  Basically plug and play.  What I had forgotten was that since the new camera was USB 2.0 I also needed USB 2.0 cables.  The cam's cables are not long enough to reach from it's perch out by the trail up to the computer.  My main source for harder to fine computer stuff is Next Century, but they are closed on Saturday and Sunday.  I tried the Office Max but they only had USB 1.1 extension cords or USB 2.0 A-B cables.  Walmart was the same situation and I almost thought Shopko was too.  However, my luck began to change dramatically the moment I was showing Nora what I needed.  I pointed out that all the USB 2.0 cables were the wrong type and all the extension cables were 1.1.  While showing Nora what type of ends the extension cables had, I noticed that there were the words "USB 2" printed pretty small on the box.  I was in business!!!  I grabbed two of them and we headed back home to grab the computer, cam and the cams mounting perch.  We got out there and things were going pretty smoothly when all of the sudden the bolts that help connect the camera perch to the computers enclosure box were froze.  Somehow the nuts had jumped the threads on the bolts.  So it was back to the house to get a saw to cut the old bolts off and over to the hardware store to get some new bolts.  We did manage to have success finally, but the day that started at about 8 am working on getting the new cam ready to go ended at about 4:30!!!  The poor hounds did not even get much of a walk.  Nora and I did take them for a quick walk in the morning and then Nora took them again in the afternoon but not their usual longer afternoon one.
    But it is done. I think the image is great and am very thankful to Todd at Data Sales for the computer, the guys at Next Century for their expertise and ability to help me on just a few hours notice and last but not least...Nora for having the ability to put up with me at the times it seemed like all was lost!  When those bolts were frozen, I just about lost it.  Nora said she has never seen me so angry and I think I just about bent the screwdriver between by thumb and palm of my hand!  I do have the other cam and will be using it to replace the AL Cam.  However, I have a few things to take care of before I can get it up and going, so it may be a week or so before it is going.  I figure we can all live with that though, as the current AL Cam is ok.
    As you noticed I also was able to get the snowstation put up.  Nora and I attended to that yesterday evening as the sun was setting.  I have finally constructed that in a manner that makes it pretty easy to assemble and disassemble.  It has an ominous lean towards the house so I think I will add a brace, but other than that I am done with my pre-winter chores.  And in good time too, as it looks like the weather is going to become more winterlike for parts of the upper Midwest.  We had some snow Friday morning and some flakes have flown from time to time today, but really nothing more than a dusting or so.  However, it looks like we could get our first "plow-snow" by Tuesday and again maybe towards the end of the week.  I suppose some areas around here have already witnessed the plows out, but it has not been on a widespread scale.  I don't think we will pick up more than a few inches, but like I said, we will not be alone.  The northern 1/2 of MN and northern 1/3 rd of WI, as well as some sections of northern lower MI will also likely get some measurable snow.
    Since I am not doing my text forecasts at the moment, I guess I can talk a moment about things with the weather.  The pattern looks to be making some changes this week to one that will make the snow starved parts of the western US as well as northwest Midwest happy.  I am not sure if the change that the pattern will be undergoing is one that will stick around for the rest of the winter, but it sure is a change in the right direction for MN, northern WI and the UP!  I suppose it sure could stick around, as it was about the middle of October last year that the pattern changed and stuck for just about the entire winter (minus December).  But I am not sold just yet!  Now, I must also say that it does not look like MN, northern WI, northern lower MI and the UP will be hammered by snow - that will be reserved for the northern Rockies this time around.  Plus northern WI, the UP and lower MI could even see rains change to snow by the end of the week, but I do like what I am seeing in the forecast models.  Amazingly the pattern emerging this week is just about exactly what I envisioned in my seasonal forecast.  If it does pan out, I'll be pretty surprised and the first to say..."How's that for a lucky guess?!"
    Not much else to say, so I guess I will sing off and get that fire started.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD -
Oct 23-
    This will be a very short one for sure.  I do not have much at all to talk about and I really do not want this journal to be about what I had for breakfast or how I need to clean my house or things of that nature.  I really want it to be more about what life is like up here and the unique things going on up here and unfortunately at this time, there just is not a whole lot of stuff going on!  As I type, Nora is cutting the grass.  She raked the leaves this afternoon.  Have I got it made or what!  I tell ya, I do not know what I ever did to deserved all of this, but I know I will not take it for granted either.
    I guess I have one bit of exciting news to share with you.  In the last journal I talked about the issues with the trail cam and how I really could not do much more with the equipment I had.  Well, a generous person named Todd from Data Sales in Burnsville MN took it to heart and donated a pentium III computer to me and I ordered two of the good cams like is being used at camp newton and both the computer and cams arrived today!  So I am going to make it my mission to get the computer and cam all set up and hope there is a break in the weather sometime during the weekend that I can get out there and set things back up.  I figure it will not be too difficult if I get the cam all up and running here at my house and then just swap out the box and cam at the trail.  At any rate, I will get things up and running as fast as I can and hopefully by this weekend the trail cam picture will be very, very clear.  Thanks Todd and Data Sales!!!  I will be putting up a link to Data Sales on the Trail Cam page so if anyone is looking for computer equipment, check them out and help me thank them!
    It would be nice to get it up before the snows expected early next week arrive.  Right now it does not look like a huge storm, but enough to put down a few inches.  I am actually hoping for about 6-8" so I can take the RMK for a quick spin in the field a half block away!  I put the skid plate on the belly pan and she is all ready to go.  I plan to fuel her up this weekend and let it run a bit too.  It's hard to believe in just a little over a month the season will be here!  I am definitely starting to get excited, but I am also going to enjoy the quiet time we have for the next few weeks.  This is actually a great time of the year.  The hiking is perfect, there is no yard work to do, at least not anymore- the lawn mower just cut it's last blade of grass for the year and it is just a great time to sit back and enjoy the anticipation of what's to come.
    We had our annual pre-season KSE meeting.  We are not doing anything new this year, but have added a few more guides.  We are not sure how much guide work Brian is going to be able to do so we needed to fill the potential holes he will leave if he is working for most of the winter.  The bookings have been pretty solid for being this early in the game and it looks like KSE will be pretty busy this year.  Now if we can just keep the snow falling past the middle of February then we'll be all set.  Last year was a real challenge with the lake freezing and our snowfall really shunted from the middle of February on.  We made it though the early part of March with fairly decent conditions and even managed to find some fresh snow that late in the season. But, it is not like it usually would be with the lake snows still falling heavily through Feb. and early March and then the spring storms kicking in by the middle of March.  We did have some spring storms hit, but it was really too late for anyone but the locals.
    So other than that there is not a whole lot going on up here.  I do not have any pictures to share with you all.  I have brought the camera along, but have not come across anything exciting to write about.  I was looking back at the past journals and read where a year ago they were running the plows up here!  Hmmm, won't be long, I can sense it!
    Good night from the Keweenaw..
Oct 19-
    Getting an early start today, as I think I will not last long once dinner is over this evening!  Nora and I have been very busy the past few days.  I am not very good at sitting around and doing nothing, but I am also positive that I have worked harder on my recent round of day's off than I normally work, at least when it comes to physical labor.  But, I can say this, we are almost ready for winter to set in.  As you can see on the AL Cam, we have not yet raked the leaves.  We are waiting for the rest of them to fall and then will load up the compost piles and those that do not fit into the bins will be taken out to the side of the road so the village guys can come and pick them up.  Thankfully we do not have to bag them.  I do not have a ton of leaves, but I think the first autumn I lived here, I did not know what the requirement was, so I did bag them and ended up with about 20 of those large paper bags filled with leaves.  Now I just rake them onto a tarp and haul them to the front and the village comes along with a front end loader and dump truck and picks them up for me.  There are already some piles by the road at other homes in the village, but I don't see any reason to rake mine until they have all fallen, then just rake once.  This will also be the first year with compost bins.  Nothing special, just some 4 foot wire fencing that I formed into cylinders and then we will load the leaves and other plant matter inside and let nature do the rest.  Hopefully they will be ready to go by next spring, but I am thinking that it will take longer than that based on the fact that in a month they will probably be frozen and remain that way until the end of April.  We'll see.
    On Thursday the weather was pretty nice, so I headed out to see what I could do to make the picture that the trail cam takes better.  I was hoping that I had the camera too zoomed in and that was causing the image to be so pixelated. Turns out that was not the case.  So there was not much I could do, but I did want to get the cam closer to the trail.  So on Friday the weather was also pretty nice and Nora and I headed out and I moved the cam about another 5-6 feet closer to the trail.  I think that the new camera placement does give a much better angle down the trail and the image might be a little better. But I am still not as happy with it as I'd like to be.  I would love to have the cam that the Camp Newton cam uses but the computer at the trail is only a pentium II and needs to be a pentium III.  So unless someone has a pentium III processor laying around that they are not using and wants to donate it to run the trail cam, I think that we are looking at the picture we will have for the rest of the season.  Next spring and summer I will look into upgrading the processor in that machine and get that good cam and we'll be in much better shape.  But I think that the current setup is not that bad either.
    Yesterday was also a good day to get outside work done.  Nora did the rest of her autumn gardening work and then helped me set up the bush protectors.  I think that this was the first year that I did not have to do any major construction to my bush protector system.  I finally arrived at a strong enough system and it was built solid enough that no repairs had to be made.  Well, at least no major repairs.  I did have to make a few minor repairs but was able to get the bush protector system up before lunch.  Then we took the hounds for a walk at the school forest and came back and decided to put up the Christmas lights.  I know, I know.  You all are probably thinking "CHRISTMAS LIGHTS?!!!, it is only the middle of October."  However, I need to get up on the roof to set up my lights and in a few weeks there could be snow up there that does not leave for more than a day or so.  Plus the temps will not likely be in the 50's for too many more days, so I figured yesterday was a good day to get them up.  I will not light them until after Thanksgiving at the earliest, but they are up.  That leaves the snow station as the only pre-winter chore to get done and that will happen before the site becomes "Snow Central" November 3rd.  Most likely the snow station will be up by the end of next week.  I just want to wait until we have raked the leaves and cut the grass for the final time (I hope).
    If that was not enough work, Nora and I decided to start doing some clearing out at the property.  We were out there for a walk Saturday morning with the hounds and with all the leaves down it is easy to see what needs to be done.  So this morning we all headed out and got to work.  I brought the chain saw and did the cutting and some of the hauling, while Nora did most of the hauling.  I did not really cut down any living trees yet.  I did fell a standing but dead birch. But there were enough trees and limbs down in the area that we wanted to clear to keep us busy and there are still quite a few!  So I cut and I cut and Nora and I hauled and we hauled and in about 90 minutes time we had a pretty good sized burn pile.  The pile was actually a little bigger than it looks in that picture. It is about 6 feet high and about 15-20 feet around.  Anyway, we decided to call it quits there as we were both pretty worn out, Baileys was tired from watching us and that was about as big as I wanted that pile to get.  There is another spot for another pile and we will head out this week and get some more work done and once there is some decent snow cover down will light the burn piles.  I would have taken some of the wood home to use in my fireplace, but it was mostly birch and some pine and that is not the best wood to be burning in a fireplace.  The living trees we need to bring down are maple and those will make great firewood, once it is seasoned.
    So my arms are quite sore, as is my back.  My legs will probably be sore tomorrow, but I am very happy with where I stand as far as getting my chores done.  It was a huge help to have Nora helping me get them done and we are just about ready to sit back and watch the flakes fly.  Speaking of that, the pattern does look to change by next weekend to one that would be very good for snow lovers in the northern and western Midwest.  I have no idea if the pattern that develops next weekend and looks to continue for much of next week will be the pattern we have all winter. But, the fact that it is establishing is a good sign.  I can also add that it does not look like there will be any big storms coming through next weekend or early next week to bring big snows to the northern and western Midwest, but there sure could be some light and even some accumulating snows in places like the Dakotas, northern MN, WI and the UP in that time frame.  It's getting close, really close.  I have actually taken the cover off the RMK and will be topping off the oil soon and filling it with gas in a few weeks.  The Pol-Cat will also get a little pre season work done to it in the coming weeks and we'll be ready to ride.  With the trees almost completely bare it is starting to feel more and more like winter is coming.  I have been keeping my emotions in check very well, but I can start to feel the excitement growing now.  In less than 4 weeks it will be deer season and then riding season!
    Before I sign off I do have two more shots to share with you.  In addition to all of the work that Nora and I have been doing the past several days we have been taking the hounds to the School Forest.  With all the trails out there we have not hiked the same exact path in over a week.  It has been fun to watch the foliage change in the past week.  Last week at this time the trees were ablaze with color. Now the trees are mostly bare and the colors are on the ground.  But even there the colors are fading with mostly browns now.  The other thing that has changed is how far you can see into the woods now that the leaves are off the trees.  In the summer you can only see in about 20 feet or so, but now you can see several hundred feet.  The bonus to that is to be able to see sights like this, a doe out for an afternoon forage.  I must give the credit to spotting that doe to the proper one.  Burt actually picked up it scent and bounded off the trail in the direction of the deer.  He never did see it, but sure knew it was there by it's scent.  I think it was then Nora who spotted the deer and pointed it out and I then took the picture.  A real team effort.  I guess that does it for now.
    Good night from the Keweenaw..
Oct 13-
    4 days away, that's not too bad.  It feels like two weeks, with all that has happened around here.  I took last Thursday and Friday off, but I think I ended up doing more work than if I had not taken them off.  At least on Friday.  I did a major computer system upgrade on Friday and over the weekend and any kind of upgrade for me is a pretty big event, but this involved 4 computers, networking and even a controller to handle the commands from 3 mouses and 3 keyboards.  I must say that I am very happy with the new setup, it will still take some getting use to, but I now have 4 machines networked together and all on the net via a router.  The router also provides a nice level of security from persons wanting to hack their way into my system.  Plus, since one of the machines is my laptop and in the other room, Nora now has a computer hooked up to the net of her own and does not have to wait for me to be off mine so she can check her e mail and surf the net.  In my office, I have three separate computers- each with their own display, but each can be controlled by one keyboard and mouse, thanks to a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch.  I could actually have just one monitor and still jump between the three machines, but I actually can benefit from three different monitors and have each one display different weather info while I do my forecasts.  I can also say that I am very glad to be on Windows XP as my operating system.  I know that it has it's own set of problems, but my other machine was running 98 and that system would crash 2-3 times a day, usually at a very bad time!
    So between getting the new machine up to speed, all the machines talking to each other and sharing the printers and such, as well as setting up anti virus on the machines hooked up to the net, I have been very busy the past few days.  I can also say that I have been busy enjoying the color change going on the past week or so.  As mentioned, late last week was definitely the peak, although the leaves have hung around long enough that the weekend had good color in spots and there are even some spots where the trees are not completely bare.  The trail cam is one of them and so it my yard.  Speaking of the trail cam, I had plans to get out there today and tweak the image to get it looking better, but got involved in some other stuff, but will get there tomorrow, come rain, sleet or snow!  I am just as sick of looking at that pixelated image as the rest of you!
    I have lots of photos to share with you.  The color show was a good one, not the best we have ever had, but a good one.  It was the fastest that I have ever seen them change, that's for sure!  On Friday, I was very busy with computer stuff, but Nora, the hounds and I did manage to get out to the school forest for a walk and the colors were just wonderful.  That sure is a great place for hiking around.  The keep putting in new trails, or at least marking new trails, so we could go out there every day of the week and not walk the same exact path any of those days.  With all the maple and birch trees up here, I have lots of yellow and oranges to share with you.  I figured that most of my shots are looking down some path, which is probably a good way to take them, that way you can imagine yourself walking down the same path through the woods, but sometimes I figure that you might want to see what things look like off to my right or left, just out into the woods with no path.  Of course, Nora asked for the camera and went and did me one better.  I was wondering how that shot would turn out, with the light background and all, but the camera and Nora did just great keeping the light from shadowing the leaves.
    I figure I am not actually going to say much in this journal, but rather let the pictures speak for themselves.  I have 18 to share with you tonight, so if the saying is true, this journal will be at least 18000 words long!  On Saturday, Nora and I took her Grandma on a color show and out for lunch up at Lac La Belle.  She got to know Troy about a year and a half ago, so we thought it would be nice for her to see him again.  Before heading out for that excursion, we took the hounds for a spin up on the tracks above Lake Linden.  We headed to a spot where I have found the colors to be extraordinary in the past and they were good, but a little past peak.  I think Thursday would have been the day to go there rather than Saturday.  Oh well.  After picking up Nora's Grandma, we headed north and drove up the Cliff Drive between Ahmeek and Phoenix.  That is always a good place to go during the color show and did not disappoint this year (FSV).  We then shot down to Eagle River and took the Garden City Road to the Eagle Harbor Cutoff.  Then hopped off the cutoff road onto the Delaware Shortcut and took that up to Delaware.  The Garden City and Delaware Shortcut are both dirt roads and also have trees overhanging them most of the way, so they are very pretty in the autumn.  You can see them in the winter too, but by snowmobile, as parts of both roads double as snowmobile trails in the winter.  Before stopping for lunch, we swung around to see the big lake at Bete Gris (FSV).
    Our bellies full from a great lunch, we headed back south.  I wished I could have taken a nap, but we had to get back and tend to other business, namely taking the hounds for their afternoon walk.  My mind was at a loss of where to go that would be new and exciting and my body really did not feel like being in the truck anymore, so we just opted for the school forest again.  One would think that with all the walks we have taken out there and all the photos I have taken on those walks, I would not have anything new to share with you, but we did manage to see something new and worth sharing.  There are 45 year old stands of red pine out there.  They have been selectively cut over the years to provide a more healthy stand overall as well as to generate some income and over the past decade or so, the maples have been trying to reclaim the land and at this time of the year, the contrast between the two species really stands out.
    We all slept pretty well on Saturday, although I did manage to stay up to watch the final out of the Cubs game.  Then on Sunday, I always have some work to do and like to get it out of the way first thing.  It is not due until the evening, but if I get it done in the morning, then I can have the rest of the day off and do not have the work looming over my head.  So after getting the work done, the crew headed down to another place I have always wanted to see in the color season, the Sturgeon River Falls and Gorge.  It was a good day for a hike out there, with cool temps and a mix of sun and clouds.  We made it down to the falls in pretty good time and Burt and Nora decided to explore the rocky shoreline below the falls.  My next goal is to get out there in the spring to view things at the high water time.  You can tell how high the river gets in the spring by the driftwood piled up behind Nora and Burt in that last shot.  I would imagine that is quite a sight to see.  Of course, what would a hike down to the falls be without a picture of the falls!  A bit more water flowing through it than just a month ago when my brother and I were out there.
    The Sturgeon River cuts a pretty deep ravine through the terrain and there are also some other rivers out there that have carved their own valleys.  At times the river is flowing pretty good and at other times, it resembles a pond more than a river  (FSV).  That was actually a little area that beavers had dammed up, you can actually see a little lodge towards the back edge of the pond.  Hiking down to the bottom of the ravine and then back up can really wear a fella out and his dogs too!  I can always tell when the hounds are tired, they stop running up ahead and off the trail to explore and follow me like ducks in a row.  I'm not sure who took this next shot, but Nora obviously had the camera for the previous shot and this one is a good one (FSV), so I will place my bets that it is one of hers.  This next one is one of mine though.  It is actually taken at the same spot, a place just upstream from the falls called the Bears Den.  We did not see any bears or their den, but the view is magnificent, one of the best in the area if you ask me.  I will warn you, this next shot is a panorama of about 8 shots, so it is big, but worth it, in my opinion!  As we were leaving the look out area, I turned around to snap a shot of where I had just taken the panorama from.
    On Monday, I still had a little bit of computer stuff to take care of and had to go just south of Houghton to take care of it, so I decided to take the hounds along and we could walk some trails I know of out by South Range.  The colors out there were definitely past peak, in fact, most of the trees were already bare.  Today, Nora got up bright and early to go with her aunts to pick cranberries.  She brought the camera along and took some shots.  So for all of you that have seen enough oranges and yellows for one journal, here is a sharp contrast to that theme.  The deep blues of Lake Superior at sunrise, and another.
    So the trees are going bare and the leaves are painting the ground with their colors.  I just had a thought of how close we are getting to the best season of all up here, the white one.  It actually gave me a little shiver of excitement!  I have really not thought about it that much, not wanting to get too excited too early, but in just over a month, deer season will be upon us and the next thing after that is opening day of riding season.  Almost seems hard to believe.  So with thoughts of the snow piling up and everything buried under a thick blanket of white, I will leave you with one last shot of orange, although it is not of leaves, many of them have fallen now.  It is of some Mountain Ash Berries.
    Good night from the Keweenaw..
Oct 9-
    Well, there are few times when I am actually happy to have above average temps occur and this is one of them.  We are breaking records like they are going out of style.  An 80 yesterday broke the old record of 74 and today's 76 broke another record high which stood at 74 and tomorrow we go for the hat trick with the old record at 76.  It's funny, but an 80 degree day now does not feel nearly as hot as an 80 degree day in July or August.  For one thing we are still dropping into the upper 40's and low 50's pretty quickly at night and then it takes until about noon just to reach the upper 60's.  Plus the humidity is not very high at all and the sun angle is not as high, so the sun is not as hot.  The bottom line is I am glad I did not put all my summer clothes away and have been enjoying these warm temps very much.  The warm temps have also caused the trees to scream into peak.  I can say that we are now at peak, but just three days ago, it looked like we might still be a week away.  So for those of you wanting to catch the colors up here, you better get up here immediately, because in a week a lot of the trees will be bare.  I have lots of pictures to share with you, 24 in all.  Many are worthy of full size versions (FSV) and I will be sure to provide them to you.
    As mentioned, just a few days ago, the trees were still in a sort of flux, with some changed and others still having quite a bit of green to them (FSV).  That was the old railroad tracks that double as the snowmobile trail, but up north from Lake Linden by about 4 miles.  You can see things were still a little damp from the weekend rains we had.  Things are now quite dry and dusty with the warm temps and ample sunshine.  On Tuesday we still took to the woods. It was a little warm, but not too bad for the hounds.  The colors  (FSV) were starting to accelerate their pace of change as can been seen in that shot taken at the snowmobile trail and Normand Road.
    Yesterday was my big adventure on the ATV with Troy from the Lac La Belle Lodge and his friends.  My first time ever on one and I had a blast!  It was actually a lot easier to ride than I imagined and I managed to stay on the trail and out of trouble.  I did have one mishap where I was going around a large puddle at a good rate of speed, the inside front tire caught a rut in the puddle and it ended up pulling the ATV fully into the puddle, which was about a foot and a half deep.  The ATV being drawn into the deeper water then caused a wall of water to be thrown up, which I then rode through because of my speed.  I got soaked from head to toe, but I did bring an extra sweatshirt and Troy also had an extra wind breaker, so no harm done and a lesson learned- take it a little slower when negotiating the larger and deep puddles.  I brought the camera along and took lots of pictures of my ride.  They took me to tons of places that I had never been to, but have always wanted to go, so it was a very fun ride.  Nora and the hounds had to stay home, but they did go to the beach and had a good time there.
    Before the ride I walked down to the lodges' docks and snapped a shot of Mount Bohemia  (FSV).  The development of this ski hill was quite the source of controversy just a few years back, but all of that seems to have settled down now.  I suppose that there are still some out there that really do not want the Keweenaw to change at all and they might still be a little bent out of shape about things, but I really have not run into anyone that speaks ill of the development and have not hear of anyone still complaining about it.  I am a little sad as we lost a great hill to play on, but it is so far away we really did not get to it that often.  The colors up in the Lac La Belle  (FSV) area were already at their peak and some areas were already past with some bare trees.
    Troy showed me to my ride and explained the workings of the machine and soon we were heading down the trail, off to do some exploring.  Troy and his friends sure do know the bush in that neck of the woods and I was looking forward to following them to some of the out of the reach spots at the north end of  the Keweenaw.  Our first stop was not far from the lodge at all and any of you who have rode a snowmobile from Lac La Belle to Copper Harbor have most likely gone right by this feature, but it is well buried under several feet of snow.  Not yesterday, Paddy's Pond was decked out in it's autumn best  (FSV).  After Paddy's pond we headed east and north, deeper into the heart of the north Keweenaw back country.  This is some of the most rugged and most beautiful land in all of the Keweenaw and one of the most remote spots in that territory is Lost Lake  (FSV).  It's not a very big lake, but it sure is remote! And is also very beautiful.  I think its' remoteness actually enhances it's beauty, but so do some standing trees  (FSV) which look to be old growth.  The area immediately around the lake is very rugged with some steep rocky hills and some deep valleys.  We did not do any exploring in those areas, as we had other sights to see, but I hope to get back there again someday soon and do some more exploring.
    Our next point of destination was Fish Cove, it is just east of the mouth of the Montreal River, but you cannot get to it as you would the mouth of the Montreal.  As anyone who has been to the mouth of the Montreal knows there is no way an ATV is getting through the last mile or so.  We actually came in on a pretty intimate trail(FSV), Something I don't think anything but an ATV or person walking would be able to get through on.  That was actually one of the straighter and wider portions of the trail.  At times it was just wide enough for the ATV to get through and had lots of sharp turns. It may have even been too twisty for a snowmobile.  At any rate, we did make it to the lake and fish cove.  That was looking west towards the Bear Bluffs.  Just behind the closest point of land sticking out into the water on the right is where the mouth of the Montreal is.  We spent a little time relaxing by the lake, but they had lots more for me to see, so we were back on the machines and headed back up the trail to the next destination.
    That next destination happened to be Schlatter Lake  (FSV).  It is the eastern most lake on the peninsula and sits less than a mile from the very tip of the lake.  It's actually a pretty big lake as well and I would estimate it to be about 600 acres.  It even has several islands in the middle of it. One large island and two smaller ones.  It is also situated in the land that was just purchased by the state to be kept in the public trust and kept open to the public for use.  The day was warm, even way up there, and a few anglers were trying their luck at trying to land one.  As was the theme for the day, we did not stay too long at this lake and were back on the trail, trying to beat the setting sun to our last few destinations.  Our next destination was not too far away and if you were guessing it was less than a mile away, you would be right!  It was the High Rock  (FSV), the very tip of the Keweenaw, the next step east is a wet one!  Of course if you were a strong swimmer (actually a very strong swimmer) and could survive the bitterly cold water, you could swim over to Manitou Island and the Gull Rock Lighthouse.  A few years ago, some unfortunate kayakers were caught in some rough conditions and had to spend the night at the Gull Rock Light.  They were either rescued or were able to get back, but were pretty lucky none the less.  You get pushed to the east of those two pieces of land and the next stop is Canada, about 200 miles east.
    Troy had one last thing he wanted to show me.  It's a hunting camp out near the tip of the Keweenaw.  I was told that the cabin is owned by someone in the Chicago area, but is used by many in the area and we went in to take a quick break before making the trip back to Lac La Belle and dinner!  We actually made very good time heading back, even stopping for a moment on top of the East Bluff, the highest point that far east.  Troy almost seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, not going so fast that we were in any danger, but certainly at a brisk pace.  When they were talking about making it back to the lodge in less than an hour I thought they were joking. But sure enough we took all the shortcuts and in a little less than an hour we were catching the sunset at Lac La Belle  (FSV).  Back at the lodge we chowed down on some great pizza and then I was on my way home to tell Nora about all the fun I had.  I can say that I had a total blast and would love to have an ATV to cruise around on.  Nora has already done some  ATV riding and knows how much fun it is.  So who knows, maybe in the next year or so we will have some new toy(s).  Actually, we both like the Polaris Ranger. There is enough room for both of us and the hounds and we could use it to help clear some of the property for the log home.  Hmmmm...
    Today I took a day off from my workload and Nora, the hounds and I headed back up to the south side of the northern Keweenaw.  But this time it was for hiking.  She had never been to the mouth of the Montreal River and I had never been there during the color change so I thought now would be a very good time to head out there.  I knew today would be another warm one and so we headed out soon after breakfast.  My memory was telling me that most of the trees right along the river were of the softwood variety, so they would not be changing color, but I knew that other views out that way would be providing some pretty good color and on the way out I turned around to catch a view of the Bear Bluffs and their color dropping into the lake  (Sorry, deleted the FSV to that one on accident).  We made it to the falls in pretty good time and had fun climbing around in them and watching the hounds take a swim.  Nora grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots.  I should really let her write the section of the journal that contains her shots, as she knows more about what she was thinking and composing when she took the picture.  She has proven that she is an excellent photographer and it always seems like I do not do her shots justice with my feeble titles.  But right now she is on the phone with a friend and I want to finish this journal and get it loaded so I can do some other things. So I am just going to go ahead and butcher away.  At the top of the lower falls is a rather large area of flat water.  The river is several feet deep and does not drop in elevation much at all.  The hounds love to swim in there and Nora captured the ripples on the water they created while swimming.  Here is a shot of Baileys navigating her way around the rocks.
    Of course with the camera in Nora's hand there is always the threat that a picture of me will be taken and that threat surfaced today.  No full sized version of that one needed!  Nora likes to look for unique, almost macro settings for her shots, while I seem to go for the sweeping landscape ones.  I think that is a pretty good way to compliment each other and just one of the many ways that we do!  At any rate, here is a shot that I would most likely have never taken. But she spotted it and I was glad she did. I think it is cool when you can freeze the wild action of a waterfall  (FSV) in a photo.  No need to tell you who's hand the camera was in for this next shot, but I just felt the need to take one last shot of the Bear Bluffs, taking it all in  (FSV).  The thing I like the most about that shot is how each successive hill is a little more faded, due to the little bit of haze that was along the shoreline.  You really get a feel for the distance of each set of hills.  On the drive back down the fisheries road we came to a point where we were enveloped in a canopy of yellow  (FSV) and I stopped to take a shot just to prove the point that today was the peak of color for the Smith Fisheries Road.
    Back at home, safe and sound, I feel like I am about ready to pass out.  Unfortunately, I cannot do that just yet.  I still have to upload all the pics as well as this journal, then disassemble my computers and get them all set up in their new configuration.  Tomorrow is the big day for getting all 4 machines behind the router and networked together.  Then I have to bring the new machine up to speed and make sure it is ready to handle the full workload.  I am taking tomorrow off, but somehow it seems like I can never fully escape work- even on my day's off.  Anybody else with that same problem?
    You can rest assured that we will be getting out and about to capture the color display currently in full progress.  I have several more places that I want to go before the curtain closes on another show.  The colors are changing at break neck pace, so if you are coming, your bags had better be packed!
    Good night from the Keweenaw..
    Oct 5-
    It is just amazing to me how easy it is to let almost a week go by without writing a journal.  Things have been a little busy, but not crazy busy, so I do not really have a great excuse for not writing one.  I guess it seems that my work day is pretty full, then Nora, the hounds and I go somewhere in the afternoon.  We make dinner, eat and then I feel like I am almost ready for bed!  I actually started writing this one at about 4:30 in the afternoon, so I think I will be able to get it finished before bed time!  I guess as part of my excuse I can say that other aspects of the site are getting busy.  Some guest shots came in (including the first snows of this season) and the Ask John section has been keeping me fairly busy as well.  Anyway on to the activitys of the past week or so.
    Wednesday saw more snow here in the Keweenaw.  However, we did not get much accumulation, at least not like others saw.  I read somewhere that Marquette picked up a little over 8 in. of snow between Tuesday and Wednesday.  They never had 8 inches on the ground.   The most I think they had was around 3 or 4 inches.  But still a pretty good dosing of snow and based on the pictures I posted to the guest shots it looks like areas inland from Munising also got hit pretty good.  Since the snow in our neck of the woods was mixing with rain I decided to head to the higher elevations of Keweenaw County to maximize our potential for getting into just plain old snow.  Plus I thought that by going into the higher elevations up there we might also be able to take in some of the best colors in Keweenaw County.  I cannot state how happy I am that I do not have to drive around in the old Honda anymore.  Having the Blazer and its four-wheel-drive sure does allow us to get more places by vehicle.  Although, it still cannot get us everywhere or at least to places that the snowmobiles can take us, but in most cases it can get us in pretty far.  My thoughts that the higher elevations would be seeing mostly snow were validated and so was the idea that there would be some colors up there.  The location that we went to is actually a spot that we will snowmobile to sometimes in the  winter.  Although it is also a spot that has grown more popular with locals and visitors alike, so it does not always have untracked powder on it like it used to and we have had to find other places to go to find the fresh stuff.  On Wednesday it was coming down pretty good up there but we needed a little bit more accumulation in order to take the sleds out!  It's amazing to me how different that area can look from winter to the warm season.
    I was actually hoping to make it to one of the highest spots in the Keweenaw.  It's a place that the hounds and I walked to several times last autumn and a spot that I have snowmobiled to in the winter, Praiseville Hill.  We were taking a slightly different way up and with the vegetation still pretty full we were not able to make it all the way to the top, but did make it far enough to make a decent hike out of it- wearing all of us out pretty good.  It snowed pretty good the whole time we were walking and as we were heading back to the truck it started to come down almost as heavy as I have ever seen it snow.  With the hounds trudging through it ahead of us, I thought it would make a pretty neat picture.  Looks like they have been on a 10 mile forced march!
    We made it back to the Blazer and piled in and turned on the heat to dry off and warm up.  Soon after getting into the truck it stopped snowing so I decided to take Nora down to Gratiot Lake.  She had never been there and it is always a pretty sight for someone who has never been there before and even for those that have seen it over and over.  As always, the lake and scenery did not disappoint.
    Since Wednesday we have been cold and cloudy and did have a few flakes fall late Friday and at times Saturday.  I have not minded it too much.  It has been really good hiking weather and it is also nice to be building a fire every night and spending the evening in front of it with Nora.  We have tons of things in common and one of them is to smell the scent of wood burning in a fireplace.  A handful of houses up here still heat with wood and our walks through the neighborhood have been puncuated with the smell of wood burning in the furnaces.  It looks like those furnaces will be allowed to take a break this week as our temps look to climb into the 60's and maybe even reach into the 70's.  I am actually looking forward to the warmer temps as I would like to wash the truck and wax it and have some other outdoor chores to get done.  In reality it is not too early to start thinking about getting the bush protectors up and even the Christmas Lights.  Now before you all bombard me with e mails about putting my Christmas lights up I do not light them until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest.  However, if I wait until then to put them up I may not be able to get it done because I have to be on the roof for much of the work and we can easily have snow stick around from the middle of Nov on.
    So the warmer weather will be welcomed.  Nora and I have put away most of the summer clothes and brought up all the winter stuff.  But I did keep two pairs of shorts out knowing that we might have a few warm days before the cold sets in for good.  I also am going to take some days off in the coming weeks.  I really cannot take weeks off at a time but in the autumn and spring I can usually take a few long weekends and I plan to make some long weekends for myself in the next few weeks.  Plus, I have been invited to go on an ATV ride and am headed up to ride with Troy, the owner of the Lac La Belle Lodge and Seasons Restaurant.  He has an extra ATV for me to use and knows the trails up that way like the back of his hand, so I am really looking forward to going places that I have never been.  It will actually be my first time on an ATV so I have a feeling that I will have this strong desire to get one for myself after riding one.  However, I don't think that I would get one without getting Nora one also and getting two can be a little pricey.  I have looked at the larger ATV's that Polaris and some of the other makers have.  They would be big enough to take Nora, the hounds and I out and could also double as a work vehicle out at the property, so I can see myself getting one of those in the not too distant future.  They are a little wider than a regular ATV so we might not be able to get to all the areas that an ATV can go but I still think that it would be a great thing to have.  At any rate, I am looking forward to my first ATV ride on Wednesday and my long weekend after that.
    I also broke down and got a new computer.  The one I have been using is not that old, but just seems to be in conflict with all that I ask of it and I am also running Windows 98 SE on it and I think that might have something to do with it.  My new machine is a Dell. I have never owned one of them but have heard good things.  I can tell you one thing about Dell so far, they sure can deliver fast!  I ordered the machine last Tuesday and Thursday morning the Fed Ex truck was in my driveway dropping it off!  I have played around a little with it but have not put it into full production.  I am going to network it with 3 other machines in my office and load all the files I need to do the daily work, including this website.  So I will give you all a report on how the machine runs. I bet there are more than just a few persons that are planning on getting a new machine in the near future and feedback is always a good thing.
    I really do not have too much else to share with you.  The colors are continuing to change.  I really have not taken any pictures of them yet.  It seems like I don't have the camera when we come across some really good colors and when I do have the camera we just see trees that are in the process of changing.  Nora and I did take a walk at the School Forest today and the colors there are in the process of changing.  In some spots they are different shades of yellow, orange and red, but in much of the region, it is more of a lime green.  I promise that I will have lots of pics to share with you when the height of the colors hit.  In fact, I think that my ATV ride will provide lots of picture opportunities.  I have been a little slack in my duties lately, but hopefully the time off will allow me to take some more shots and also share what I see and what I think a little more often in the next few weeks.
   Good night from the Keweenaw..