April 30, 2001- Well, I have
a lot of pictures to share and some things to write about, but unfortunately
my body did not adjust too well to the 80 degree temps we had today and
I am not feeling real well. Rather than try and put out a journal,
making myself sicker as well as putting out a mediocre journal, I will
just delay the pics of the falls and other sights of the past few days
for another day. I think that part of my problems has to do with
exhaustion, so a good nights sleep should put me in better shape.
Sorry it will be almost a week between real journal entries, but these
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 30, 2001- Continued- OK, so this
is a little weird, it is actually May 1, but I putting this under the April
30 date. Why? Well I am still not feeling too great and to
make a new month in the Journal it requires some extra work. I have
screwed up this process in the past and have lost an entire month's journal
in the transfer process to the past journals section, so I though that
I would just add onto yesterday's little blurb and avoid the whole "new
We seemed to have sort
of bypassed spring up here. Monday of last week it was snowing and
a week later (yesterday) we hit 81 degrees. That is after a 78 on
Sunday and was followed by a high in the 70's again today. The next
few days look to cool into the 60's, but that is still almost summerlike.
There are still a few piles of snow around, but they are going fast now.
Last Thursday I decided to run the snow thrower through the remaining snow
in my front yard so that it would all melt that day. Here is a
shot of the yard before I did that. I realize that by doing that,
I compromised the official date of when my yard would be clear, but I think
that it is safe to say it would have all been gone by Sunday, April 29th.
I got the front yard all raked on Saturday and it is already
greening up. A shot of fertilizer in about a week and it should
be in great shape. The back yard almost needs cutting in spots.
Looks like it is time to put away the snow thrower and break out the lawn
On Sunday, Julie, the
hounds and I took a hike to see if we could get up to see the Douglas Houghton
Falls. The Hammell Creek was still running pretty good so I was hoping
to see the falls with some decent water going over them. I got permission
from a friend to hike up his property to get to the falls. The other
ways were likely way too wet to get in. It was fun to be out in the
woods exploring unexplored territory. After about 15-20 minutes of
finding our way through the bush, we were rewarded by the thunder of the
falls. That picture does not do the size of the falls justice.
They are about 120-130 feet high and drop into a box canyon. Another
way I have hiked up to the falls is to actually hike up the canyon, but
the creek was too high to do that Sunday.
Sunday was also a fairly
warm day. Not hot, but warm. The hounds may have thought it
was hot, seeing as though they are still wearing a good portion of their
winter coats. This jump from winter to summer has caught them a little
unprepared. The took every advantage thay could to cool off.
Here is a shot of Burt soaking in a water hole. Baileys had already
soaked and was out by the time I took the shot.
With the warmth, it
was weird to come across areas of snow
still hanging on. What makes those areas of snow even more unique
is that they were just piled up by nature and not by the plows, like the
in my front yard was. One thing that I bet a lot of you did not
know is that the shots you see in this journal are sometimes the results
of several attempts. Especially if the hounds are included.
Here is a behind
the scenes shot showing Baileys attempt to hog the attention of the
camera. Here is take
two. On the way up to the falls, I made most of the decisions
on how to get back. On the way back, Julie made most of the decisions.
A good thing, as I would have overshot most of the turns we took on the
way up. The only time we went my way instead of hers, we ended up
in the wrong place. Not a major problem, just a little off course.
So this snow season
is likely over for good. I suppose it is not out of the question
that a few flakes could fly before this month is up, but the way the forecast
look right now I doubt that it will happen. The woods are just beginning
to burst their buds and soon this
trail will be cloaked in shade.
This evening the hounds
and I took a walk out by the Traprock
River. It is way down, almost to average levels. About
another 2- 2 1/2 feet and it will be down to the levels it normally is.
A big difference from just
over a week ago.
Not much else to talk
about and I am running out of steam, so I will hang it up for tonight.
But before I go, please enjoy the summer forecasts and be sure to tell
your friends about it!
- JD-April 25, 2001- This may be
a short one, as I am doing it before my PT. I have a dinner date
with Julie tonight and I also want to get the hounds out for a little walk.
The only time that I have to put out a journal is now, so here I sit.
Not a whole lot of new stuff to talk about. The excitement of the
weekend is gradually fading. We had more rain Sunday night and Monday,
but it was only about 3/4's of an inch so the rivers did not rise too much.
I did get a note from a colleague at the NWS Marquette who is in charge
of Hydrology (monitoring river levels, among other things) and he informed
me that the Trap Rock River reached it's third highest levels in the past
33 years. It is funny, because I thought it was very high, as it
had risen much above the banks in a lot of places and had inundated areas
of it's flood plain that looked like they had not been flooded in a long
time. On the other hand, a few locals had told me that "in the old
days", the river used to flood like that all the time. Funny how
the tails grow taller through the years.
The rains actually
ended as snow Monday night and I picked up about an inch before it ended.
I heard reports of up to about 2" down in the higher elevations in the
area, which is not surprising. It was really coming down for a while,
but much of it was melting in my area because temps were still warm.
After taking the garbage out in the snow, I did manage to snap a shot of
the snow, just as it was beginning
to accumulate and as the sun was giving up the last of it's rays.
It's weird, even though I am excited for the warm weather of summer to
come and enjoy all that it brings, it was still neat to see the flakes
flying. Areas east of us really had a topsy turvy day, with temps
climbing into the 70's by midday and then snow falling about 6 hours later.
Yesterday was a beautiful
day, with crystal clear, blue skies. Temps in the low 50's and a
light wind. Today is even better, we are getting ready to rise above
the 60 degree mark for the first time since the second day of November
2000 and by the weekend we have an excellent chance of climbing into the
70's. I will love that. My car is dying to get cleaned inside
and out, my front lawn can use some raking and then some laying in the
sun will be a good idea too. Of course, the hounds might enjoy a
walk on the beach and a swim in the big lake. Basically anything
that can be done outside will be. It will also be nice to open the
windows and bring in some new air. My windows have been shut since
about the beginning of October.
So the excitement is
beginning to grow about the warm weather coming. I do some forecasting
for the local radio station and ever since I have been talking about the
potential for some 60's and 70's to enter into the region, the people I
run into are smiling at me instead of cursing my forecast. It's fun
to be a weather guy when you have good news to bring.
About the only other
thing I have to share with you all is a shot of the Laurium
Glacier. It is still holding it's own and looks like it has a
couple of weeks left in it. The 60's, 70's and sunshine will do a
lot to shrink it, but there is a lot of snow there and the last bits of
it end up in the shade for most of the day, so those last bits really hang
around for a while. I think I will loose the contest with my date
of May 5th. Until next time...
Good afternoon from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 22, 2001- Do not adjust
your computer screen, this is a back to back journal event! Lots
to share with you today so I will get right to it. I have 17 pictures
to show, so today will be more of a slide show than a text presentation.
Julie, the Hounds and I took off in my Blazer to do some exploring of the
high water everywhere up here. The high water is really mostly due
to all the rain we have picked up in the past two weeks. Sure the
snow has been melting too and that has added to the stream flow, but we
have had 4.13" of rain since April 7th. Our average for that time
frame should have been 0.90" so we have picked up 459% of average.
That's a lot of rain. Just to make sure the streams do not go down
any, it has started to rain and we look to pick up another inch overnight.
Our first journey did
not take us far from home. About 3 blocks from my house is a place
where the snowmobile trail runs along the Traprock River. I have
walked along it many times and have shown pictures of the trail and the
river many times as well. Things are muddy out there so I decided
to take the truck out there and not bother trying to walk. When I
got to a spot that the hounds usually use as a swimming hole, I could not
believe my eyes. The Traprock River was inches from overflowing it's
banks on our side and had over flown it's banks on the other side.
Here is a shot of
the river today, with a shot of the same spot taken back this past
November underneath. There was a lady walking her dog out there when
we drove up and she told us that last night the river had overrun it's
banks on the side we were on and was threatening some houses about a quarter
mile away (and in the direction of my house). My house is about 5-10
feet higher than the rivers banks on our side, so I am not too worried.
YET! Here is another shot of the river
little further up stream. We could not drive any further up the
trail, as it was underwater by a few feet. I really am not too worried,
as our weather does look to take a dramatic turn for the better by the
end of this coming week (that goes for the entire Midwest too). We
look like we will be enjoying lots of sun and temps in the 60's and maybe
even 70's. That will help to bring these rivers down a lot as most
of the snow is now gone, at least down here. There is still about
a foot on the ground in Keweenaw County.
After surveying the
flooded Traprock, we headed up to the Hungarian Falls. These falls
are some of the prettiest up here, I think. The only problem is that
in the summer and fall, they can almost be dry. Another problem is
that the lowest falls (there is the upper, middle and lower falls) do not
present a good place to view them unless you are equipped with mountain
climbing gear and know how to repel. I have tried to get to some
better vantage points with the hounds last summer, but after some near
falls down a very steep hillside and lots of getting dirty, I still did
not get the view I was looking for. Anyway, the upper and middle
falls provide excellent viewing locations and I got some good shots of
Again, my jaw hit the ground when we got to them, I just could not believe
the volume of water going through. Here is a shot of the upper
falls. Keep in mind that I have been there when you can hold
out your hand and catch the few drops of water trickling over them in the
summer or fall if it has been dry. Here is a
shot just a bit closer that Julie took, I like how she framed them
The upper falls are
a little bit distance from the middle and lower falls, especially when
it is cold and wet and someone in our group is still a bit of a gimp, so
we got back in the truck and drove down to a place that is near the middle
falls. The hounds always scare the heck out of me whenever go to
this area. They like to run right up to the edges of the drop off's
and look over. I do mean run. They stop just in time, but it
scares the heck out of me every time! Here is a shot of the middle
falls as seen from above. There will be more of the middle falls
in a bit, but next is the lower falls.
The lower falls are
the largest, at least in vertical drop. I would have to guess that
they are about 100 feet from top to bottom, maybe a bit more. Not
as big as the Douglas Houghton falls, but still a good drop for the Midwest.
As I have said, these falls do not provide a real good vantage point, as
there are a lot of trees in the way of the view and the sides of the canyon
that the river dumps into are just about straight down the full 100 feet.
I have hiked up the river bed and seen the falls from down there.
It is an excellent way to see them, but with the water levels today, you
would end up in the Torch Lake after one step into the river. I did
manage to find a spot that gave me almost a full view of the falls, so
I snapped this shot. There is also a spot that you can get to
and take a shot of the water as it begins to go over the cliff, that is
where this shot
was taken. Some turbulent water, Eh?
I did promise that
there would be some more shots of the middle falls, and I do keep my promises,
so here is one taken with some snow
in the foreground. Here is one taken a
little closer in. To lend some perspective to their size, Julie
snapped a shot of yours
truly in front of the falls. Julie thought that it might impress
you all to show you what I had to get down to take those shots, so she
took a shot of the
path we took to get down. Not bad for breaking the leg less than
3 months ago huh? Not even the hounds felt comfortable going down
it, they stayed up top! Julie really likes to take shots of me (I
don't know why?!) so I
posed for her one last time. And that does it for the Hungarian
Falls for this time.
We had to head south
into Houghton and I have been meaning to take an interesting shot.
Interesting from the standpoint that it shows how effective the new snowmaking
equipment on Mount Ripley was this year. In past years, the ski hill
was the first to loose it's snow "on the sunny side" (that's what Hancock
likes to call itself as it gets more sun that Houghton). Now it is
the only place with
snow left on the sunny side.
After our midday errands
were done, we decided to head up to see the mouth of the Tobacco River.
The drive took us past Rice
Lake. I was surprised to see it completely free of ice, as it
had a solid sheet of ice on it just about a week ago. It was also
very high, as high as I have ever seen it. We got to the Tobacco,
and once again, it was a sight to behold with the raging waters.
This is usually a river that has a decent volume of water going through
it, even in the low water times. Today
it was cranking. Were you able to see the guy fishing on the
left hand side below the bridge? The water was traveling about 25-30
MPH through that bridge opening, so I don't think that he had any luck.
Any fish swimming there was likely a bit too busy to stop for a bite to
eat. Here is a shot of the
rapids taken from near the bridge. I wish that I had been able
to put Julie in the shot to lend some perspective, but anyway, the rapids
there were about 4-5 feet high.
On our way back through
Gay we happened along some
locals out foraging. I am not sure which was more entertaining,
seeing the deer only about 20 feet from the car, or watching Burt and Baileys
go nuts wishing that they could get out of the car and play a game of chase
with them. Outside of Gay a little bit, the Gay-Mohawk road was half
underwater, as the Tobacco had flooded swamp really good and the water
was covering half of the road. Sorry, I did not get a shot of that,
but thought it was interesting enough to bring up.
So that was our adventures
today. As I was typing this out, several Ask John's came in and they
all complimented me on the shots of yesterday. Thanks and it really
made me excited to share today's picks and stories with you all.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 21, 2001- Today can easily
be described using one word...WET. It was raining when I woke up,
it was raining when I ate breakfast, lunch, it was raining when I went
to the store and even when the hounds and I went exploring in the car.
It is about 6 PM and it is still raining. Not even drizzle or light
rain, but moderate to heavy rain most of the day. I did take advantage
of the cruddy weather and my healing leg to get some housework done.
It is so nice to be able to get around with no problems. Almost seems
strange. I kept looking at the radar and outside, hoping for a break
in the rain so I could take the hounds for a quick walk around the neighborhood,
but mother nature just never cooperated. Once most of the inside
chores were done, the hounds and I headed down to Houghton to take care
of some shopping. After that was done, we went home, had lunch and
decided to damn the weather and go exploring anyway. Of course, we
did stay in the car for most of our adventures this afternoon, but still,
we were about the only ones out there.
The adventure started
out heading up the Traprock Valley. With all the rain we have had
and the melting snow, the creeks and rivers are really high. Here
is a shot of the Traprock
River in full flood stage. It is at least 6-8 feet higher than
it normally is and any higher and it will not be able to fit
underneath the bridge! That is a brand new bridge too, they just
re did it last fall. The other way up that part of the valley was
actually closed because it was underwater. The main Valley Road is
ok, with just some standing water in spots. But man, is there the
water running everywhere. I would have to say that if areas are not
flooded now, they will never flood. The NWS has actually posted a
flood watch for tonight and tomorrow, with the prospect for more heavy
rain in that period. I would have to say that we picked up at least
1.5" of rain, maybe more today alone.
I then decided to keep
heading north into the "Keweenaw". That is the term my friends in
Lake Linden use to describe Keweenaw County. To me the Keweenaw is
areas from about Twin Lakes north, but I guess it's just an exercise in
rhetoric. Anyway, we headed up the Valley, then through Copper City,
Mohawk and Phoenix. The Cliff View must have been giving something
away, as the parking lot was a crowded as I have ever seen it by far.
There was actually no place to park! I should have stopped in to
see what was up, but had the hounds with me and I hate to have to have
them sit in the car. We turned off of 41 and followed 26 down towards
Eagle River. The Eagle River was really cranking as well. There
is a spot on the way down to Eagle River from Phoenix where the Eagle River
goes over a set of falls. I parked the car and walked in to see the
falls. They were not much of a falls anymore, as there was so much
water going through, the 8-10 foot drop was only about 5 feet. For
kayak fanatics, there were some gnarly class
5 rapids on that river today. When the water is low in the summer
and fall, I can actually walk across the river at that point. Today
it was about 4-5 feet deep, with 3-4 foot standing waves and water moving
about 20-30 mph. It was almost scary to be standing next to it, knowing
that one wrong step could lead to a fall into the river and certain death.
That is why I left the hounds in the car for that shot. Normally
when we go there, we all go and are able to explore the river. Here
is a shot looking
the river heads into the town of Eagle River and there is a set of falls
that is quite photogenic. Usually there is just sort of a gentle
flow water going over them and I have actually seen it when there is little
water actually going over the falls. That was not quite the case
today. In fact, the falls
were quite impressive, thunderous actually.
After driving through
the town of Eagle River, the next destination was the Jacobs Creek Falls.
Now this is truly a set of falls that needs to be seen early in the warm
season, as I have been through and seen folks climbing up nothing but some
wet rocks. There was no climbing up the
Jacobs Creek falls today.
I was really feeling
sorry for the hounds. They were cooped up in the house all day because
of the rain and then were stuck in the car because my visits were too wrought
with danger or it was raining too hard to let them out. From the
Jacobs Creek falls, I decided to head up to the Great Sand Bay and hope
that the rain would let up enough to allow for a walk with them on the
beach. Well, the weather did not exactly cooperate, but the hounds
did not mind going out into the rain to play on the beach. It is
funny, they will not leave the house to go outside if it is raining, no
matter how badly they need to go to the bathroom. Yet, get them out
on the beach in a pouring rainstorm and they are having a blast!
Of course we had the beach to ourselves. The cars driving along the
road that overlooks the beach must have thought that we were nuts to be
out there while it was pouring, but with a fleece jacket underneath a gortex
parka, I was as warm and dry as can be and the hounds could care less about
the rain. Their coats kept them warm and dry too. The sight
looking west down the beach was very pretty. It is neat, even in
such a nasty day like today, this place is still breathtakingly
After the Great Sand
Bay, we all seemed to think that it was time to head back, so we drove
up to Eagle Harbor and then took the cut off up to 41 and then back down
south to Mohawk, the Valley and eventually Lake Linden. There was
a brief lull in the rain when we got home, so I snapped a shot of the front
of my house to show how the snow melt is progressing there. We're
There were two items
that I forgot to mention in the previous journal. The first was that
on Tuesday night, there was a dramatic display of the Northern Lights.
I let the dogs out to do their business at about midnight and looked up
at the sky and thought my forecast had bombed, as it looked like there
were clouds overhead. It turned out to be a very big display of the
Northern Lights. My digital camera would never pick the up, but they
were unique in the aspect that they were directly overhead and even off
to the southern horizon a bit. Usually they are along the northern
horizon. I am pretty sure that if anyone was looking in places like
Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit that night, they would have seen them.
The other item of note is that with last weekend's snow, Keweenaw County
broke the 300" mark for the season. I am really glad for that, as
300" sounds a lot more than 297". Even looks more impressive.
Of course I would have liked for 11 more inches to fall this season, that
way I would have guessed the total amount correctly for George's snowfall
game. Oh well, there is always next year! Not bad though, only
Brian and crew did
go riding on Thursday and they sent me some shots from that ride.
Here is one of Todd
stuck on a hill. Here is a shot of Brian
shooting up the same hill. Looks like he made it. There
was even enough snow for one
last hill climb. Or was that the second to last hill climb?
Only time will tell.
So tomorrow, weather
permitting, I am going to try and get over to the Hungarian Falls.
The road up is passable by truck and I really would like to see those falls
when the river is cranking. Plus Julie will be with me so the hounds
can some with too. Stay tuned.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 19, 2001- Well, I'm getting
better at keeping up with this. Actually every 2-3 days is about
perfect I think. That way I do not get burned out and still have
enough material to write about as well. I am getting out and about
more and more as well, so that will help me to be able to have material.
Just yesterday, Julie,
the hounds and I headed off into the woods to do a little exploring.
When I say a little, I mean a little. We probably walked about a
1/4 to 1/3rd of a mile into the woods and then turned around. The
footing was a little tricky so that is why I could not last too long.
I am using a cane to get around on longer walks, but around the house I
do not use anything. My objective yesterday was to take you into
the woods and show you the snowmobile trail. When we arrived at the
place where I would park and we could head in, a truck had beat us to it
and had dug some deep ruts in the snow. That made it too hard for
me to walk through, so we went in search of a new place. I ended
up on a trail that is a "locals only" trail. By that I mean that
I think that only locals know about it because it really does not hook
up with any of the DNR trails and does not really hook up with too many
places that visitors to this area would want to go. In any rate,
it is very handy for some us to get from one place to another and we used
it in a few KSE tours. No trucks have been down it so we were in
luck to do a little exploring. It still had plenty of snow on it,
enough that someone
could actually ride on it if they wanted to. The snow was about
a foot deep on the trail and a little deeper in
the woods. Kind of neat pattern created by the snow melting around
the trees, Huh?
The snow has been going
fairly quickly though. All the creeks are still running high.
Low spots are also flooded. Here is a shot of the hounds
checking out one of those flooded low spots. I still have plans
to get to some of the waterfalls. I really would like to get to the
Houghton/Douglass falls, it would be awesome to see with a lot of water
going over, but with my leg and the snow down in the woods, that is just
not a do able thing. Julie and I did drive up to the road that goes
to the Hungarian Falls. It is a seasonal road and still has a huge
pile of snow in front of it. The road is actually clear in a lot
of spots, so maybe we can hike up to the falls and snap some shots of it.
Two vehicles were parked at the road, so it looks like others have the
same idea. The Dover Creek is still cranking so those falls should
be a neat site as well.
Now, I have a little
surprise for you all. I bet some of you are wondering if there are
still people out riding up here. In fact, I know that some of you
are still wondering that, because it was an Ask John question. Anyway,
Brian (of KSE fame) called me this morning to tell me he was out riding
yesterday with some friends and they took some shots and would e mail them
to me. So I have some snowmobiling photos to show you. They
did have to trailer to the dropping off point, but still were able to find
plenty of snow to play in. On their trip, they came across a
local who is probably hoping that the snow melts quickly so they can
find more to eat and do not stick out so much. That was a Ruffled
As mentioned, they
found plenty of snow to play in, even enough to catch
a little air. Here is another in the group attempting to grab
some air, but by the looks
of his skis (a little uneven), he probably did not like the landing.
jump looks like one that had a happy landing. The hill climbs
were a little thin, especially if they face south or east like this
one looks like it did. But in the woods, there was plenty
of snow to play in. Brian told me that where they were riding,
there was still 18-24" down. Sort of amazing considering that it
will be May in just 11 days.
I have been by the
Laurium Glacier quite a bit and it looks like those of you who guessed
some pretty late dates will be in pretty good shape. It almost looks
like no snow has melted from it in the past few weeks. I will take
a shot soon, but there looks to still be about 10 feet or more of snow
there. Not much hope of it melting by my May 5th date!
Today I took a walk
around the Lake Linden sands with the hounds. Most of the snow is
gone from that area, so we went around about half of them. It was
quite a walk, over a mile for sure. The leg held up pretty well and
I really can't believe that I am almost back to normal in less than 3 months.
Anyway, the Lake is way down from last year. In fact, this
shot shows the hounds walking in an area that was underwater last year.
The water was right up to the rocks on the left. The snows that MN
and Canada have seen this winter will help to bring it up a little, as
will all the rain we have picked up lately, but it is so far down, it will
take quite a while to bring back up.
This Saturday I am
going to Marquette with Julie. She has to take an exam for her teaching
stuff and she does not do well driving long distances, so I will be the
driver. The hounds and I will do some exploring and I will bring
the camera so that those of you who have not been to Marquette can see
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 17, 2001- A real treat
for you all tonight. I have pictures, a little bit to talk about
and last but not least, Julie is going to write a bit. First a weather
report... Where is Spring? It snowed all day yesterday, accumulated
a bit, but then melted. Today was bright sunshine, but only 37 degrees.
We have had a very pronounced absence of any warm temps, but still the
snow has managed to melt fairly fast. That leads me to my next topic,
some shots around the hood.
I have been getting
out and taking walks around the neighborhood with the hounds. Took
one this morning and then another this evening with Julie. I brought
the camera along to highlight some of the changes to the looks of things
around here since the snow has melted quite a bit. All the snow is
gone from my back yard, except for the piles created by shoveling off the
roof. There is still snow in the front
yard. It was my guess that by about this date all the snow would
be gone from the front yard, but it is still 2-3 feet deep in a few spots,
especially up against the house, where the sun does not reach as much.
But it is a huge difference from just
over a month ago.
Even in spots where
the snow was hanging on just 2
weeks ago, now
there is little. For a little intermission of the snow melt tour,
here is a shot of me standing,
unaided, with the hounds. Speaking of the hounds, they seem to
be doing better (knock on wood). I was afraid that Baileys was coming
down with whatever ailed Burt, but maybe they were just false alarms, heightened
by my over reactions. They did great on both walks and I am feeling
better about things.
Now back to the snow
tour... I said that the snow was basically gone from my whole backyard,
except for where it was piled up from being shoveled off the roof.
The snow station
looks kind of lonely out there without the snow. That also is a far
cry from what things looked like just
over a month ago. Even the good old Weber
grill is free from it's snowy
Julie made fun of me
making such a big deal of my fence being buried, so I had to drag here
out there to take a shot of me
posing by it. The AL Cam has become quite a popular item with
visitors to the site, so I decided to take a "behind
the scenes" shot of it.
So even with the lack
of any real warm temps, the strong April sun and close to 3" of rain in
the past 2 weeks have combined to really eat away at that deep snowpack.
I plan to get out into the woods soon to take some shots of things out
there. Who knows, maybe tomorrow. Julie is coming up to see
me and maybe we can do some woods walking after my PT. Don't worry,
there are still waterfall shots coming, I just need to find a spare moment.
PT shoots most of my free time on M,W,F so maybe this Thursday.
Now I will leave you
with Julie for a bit...
Hey ya'll - it's Julie
(I guess I should use my true yooper accent and say, "Hey yous guys", but
I'm an English teacher now and have to use Standard English - right!?)
I've been sitting here in John's office as he looks back at his pictures
from March and he's truly amazed at how there can be so much snow and then
it all goes. You can tell he's just a rookie yooper. Us veterans
of 300+ inches of snow year after year, know that no matter what - it goes.
I'll never forget, though, the time that a guy from Texas called into the
local radio station and asked if it all melted by August. I, for
one, am glad to see it go. I was getting tired of shoveling it and
driving in it. I have to drive about 20 minutes to my school everyday
(I know you city folk think that's nothing, but in a town where the maximum
ETA is 7 minutes, that's a long time) and I have been really enjoying dry
and what I consider safer roads. I also love this time of year because
the sun comes up so early in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I'd
love to sleep through it's rise above the horizon, but if I have to get
up, I like it to be light out.
Turns out that I have
only 13 more days of getting up early for school. I am done student
teaching on May 4 and I graduate on May 12. Sometimes I can't believe
it. There were lots of times when I wasn't sure if this day would
ever come or that it was sure taking a long time. Of course when
I look back on it all - the time has flown by. I am going to miss
school. There is going to be some celebrating though. 3 other
gals and I are going to participate in a long time tradition at Michigan
Tech called "Senior Walk" At about 2 in the afternoon on May 4th
graduating seniors do a pub crawl through the twin cities of Houghton and
Hancock. It's so much fun cuz there's hundreds of students all over
the place and everyone is in a great mood. And amazingly, for two
little towns, there are a ton of bars. I'm figuring we'll be hitting
well over a dozen. This ought to be a real experience for me, especially
since I rarely drink and I'm much older than the normal graduating senior.
I'm hoping that I'll do this smart, but you know how things go when you've
got a few Margaritas in ya - well, at least I know how they go with me.
I'll let you know how it goes. I think I'll be happy if I make it
over the bridge.
I should give this
back to John now. He's going to try to give you some more before
and after pictures, but when I took over there was some swearing going
on...I'm sure he'll figure everything out. He's just hobbled back
to the office, unsure of what I've said about him. Actually, he hardly
hobbles at all anymore. He's doing so well and really working out
his leg. He's going to be back to new in no time. I bet by
the beginning of May and the end of his PT, we'll hardly notice any difference
in his walk at all. It's amazing how far he's come - it's amazing
how that time has gone by. To think it was over 10 weeks ago now.
Talk to you soon everyone - Julie
I'm back. I am
thinking on lending my crutches to Julie for the "Senior Walk". What
she did not tell you about is that about an hour after the walk is over,
they have the "Senior Puke". I'll be sure to miss that part.
Anyway, I am happy that she is finishing up, but I don't know about the
"I'm going to miss school" part. Personally, I could not wait to
get the heck out of school for good, but to each their own.
As Julie said, I am
walking almost like a normal human being. I have a week and a half
of PT left and I think that I will be pretty much ready to be done with
it by that time. It has not been too bad. Some hard work at
times, but I have had worse. I do not recommend breaking your femur,
but I really expected worse from such a major breakage.
Well, it is about 9
PM, the sun is setting and it looks like as good a time as any to end another
entry. Until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 14, 2001- I am making
a habit out of apologizing for not being more diligent in my writings.
Things have been a little hectic in the past few days. Burtie gave
me a little scare. He developed some problems with his digestive
track and at one point had blood included in what was coming out of him.
I am not one to panic, in fact, I usually perform better under pressure.
However, I went into a full stage panic when I saw the blood. That
is really such an unnerving thing to see, especially when you are not expecting
it. So I remembered to breathe again and got my wits about me and
took him to the vet. The only problem with that was our vet is in
Marquette, 2 hours away. There is a vet in Houghton and I would have
taken him there if the other vet thought it was wise to do so, but they
told me that it would be all right to take him on the 2 hour trip to Marquette.
Now I have a question... Why is it that when you are in a hurry to get
somewhere, you always get stuck behind someone driving slow? Julie
said she would accompany me to the vet and on the way down to her place
from Lake Linden, I got behind someone doing 35-40 in a 55 MPH zone.
To make matters worse, I was about car 5 behind him, so there was no way
to pass. So here I am, already a wreck worrying about poor Burt,
knowing that we have 2 hours of driving ahead of us and not 5 minutes into
the trip we are stuck behind this incompetent slug driving 15-20 MPH slower
than the posted limit and the roads were not even bad. At first I
just tried to calm myself down, then tried to use some kind of mental telepathy
to push his foot down on the accelerator a bit. When none of that
worked, images of whipping out a rocket propelled grenade and blowing the
car to pieces started to enter into my mind. Thankfully we came to
a point where he went one way and we went the other, so I was done with
him, but my nerves were a bit more frazzled.
We got to the vet and
they gave him a good checking, x-rays, blood tests...the works. None
of them gave any clear indication of what was causing the problem, so we
came to the conclusion that he just caught a bug and that was upsetting
his system. The vet gave him something to settle his stomach and
help slow down the digestive process and he has made a good recovery in
that department. However, today I felt his ears and they were twice
as thick as they normally are and were hot too. I called the vet
and she explained that he was probably battling an ear infection when he
caught the bug that upset his stomach, so with the two of them, both infections
got out of hand. I am cleaning his ears and praying that he is all
back to normal very soon. I can tell that he does not feel too good,
the poor guy is just so sluggish and just spends a lot of time laying around.
So that is my excuse
this time. Plus there continues to be a distinct absence of things
to write about. The snow is really melting quickly. My back
yard is almost totally free of snow except for the piles caused by shoveling
off the roof. However, even those are only about 2 feet high, down
from their 8-10 foot depth at the height of the winter. We have also
had a ton of rain. A months worth in the past week alone. That
combined with the snow melt has the creeks, streams and rivers really cranking.
Locals all say that they are higher than they have been in many, many years.
Some of them are downright dangerous if you were to fall into them.
The Tobacco River near Gay looks like some raging tempest in the Rockies
or something. The road between Tamarack City and Mason had about
a foot of water rolling across it the other day due to the water pouring
off the hills above.
This is also the time
when some of the fish species head up stream to spawn. I can't imagine
them being able to get through some of the spots on these rivers, but they
do. The frogs have not begun to chirp, so the smelt are not running
yet, but I can't imagine it being too much longer.
The canal is opening
up. It is open at the bridge and remains open about a half mile in
either direction. The other day when I was driving by the canal,
I saw an almost erie sight. A large piece of ice was floating in
the middle of the canal and across it were a few snowmobile tracks.
The tracks were made this winter when the canal was "safe" to ride on,
but it just looked spooky to see snowmobile tracks lead up the waters edge
and then disappear.
I do promise to get
to some waterfalls and snap some shots. The unfortunate thing is
that most of them are still blocked by some pretty deep snow in the woods
(over a foot still) and the only ones that I can get to are a bit of a
drive, but I will get there in the coming days I promise.
Today the hounds and
I took our first real walk since the accident sidelined me at the beginning
of February. I have been on some short walks with Julie and the hounds
and do not mean to make light of them, but today's walk was more like what
we are used to. We went and explored the Lake Linden sands.
The snow is gone from the shoreline and we were able to walk for quite
a distance. I am able to walk without the aid of crutches and have
almost no limp. However, for the longer walks like the one this morning
I use a cane. I would imagine that even the cane will be ditched
in the next week or two. It is just so nice to be able to walk around
the house with no device needed to aid me, you cannot even believe it.
I still have a lot of work to get it back to the way it was before the
break, but things are progressing very well.
I'm going to close
with a big thank you. I got a surprising and great e mail from Dan's
Polaris. They said that there had been some money given to them for
me. I did not understand, but not being one to walk away from money
given to me, I headed over to see what this was all about. It turns
out that a fund was established by a visitor to the site to help get me
new bibs to ride in since the ones I was wearing had to be cut off.
I had no idea that this was going on and I was just amazed that someone
would take the initiative to do this and that there would be responses.
It really makes me feel so good inside that there are such nice people
out there and so caring. Not just because they were so nice to me,
but because they would do it for anyone that they cared about. Personal
thank you's will be on their way to each and every one of you, but I wanted
to say thank your here. I am sorry that I did not thank you sooner,
but I just learned of all of this a few day's back. I'll be sure
to post a picture of me sporting my new bibs as soon as I get them.
Hang in there though, it may be a few months down the road until I get
Well, it looks as though
I have come to the close of another journal entry. It does feel good
to have spring here and in a month or so, things will feel more like summer.
We could still have some bouts of cold weather, maybe even a few flakes
of snow as deep as into June, but by the middle of May, more days feel
like summer than any other season. The shorts will be getting dusted
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 10, 2001- I have been
sitting here for a few minutes trying to think of some things to write
about and all I have come up with is a strong case of writers block.
I am a bit tired and do have a lack of material. I guess I can talk
about the weather! We continue to thaw things slowly up here.
That is actually good because it has kept things from getting too messy.
I really feel for the folks in western MN and the eastern Dakotas with
their flooding problems. That is really a mess. I have only
had seepage at my house and with a lot of the snow gone, things should
not get too bad.
All the creeks are
really running good now. I wish I could get to see some of the waterfalls,
a bet they are really a sight. I saw the creek that feeds the Houghton
Falls and it was really flowing. That is one waterfall that I would
like to see with a good flow of water going over it. With a little
more melting, I should be able to get up to the Hungarian Falls with the
truck, so maybe that will be the first display. I could get over
to the Haven Falls or the Jacobs Creek Falls by car, but that just seems
too easy. The slow way things are melting up here, I may not be able
to get up the mouth of the Montreal until June! Of course for that
one I need to have my leg going strong as well.
Speaking of the leg,
it is coming along pretty good. I am working it twice a day at home
and PT is also giving it a good workout. I am walking on it fairly
regularly and have almost done away with the limp. I would suspect
that in another week to ten days I will be able to get around pretty good
and that will mean some regular walks with the dogs. It is just amazing
to me how fast things are moving. Today I went into the "Ask John"
and read some of the old posts from when the injury just happened.
I could remember how bad things were when I first got home, not even being
able to move it without being in severe pain. 8 weeks later I am
just waiting for the leg to be able to hold it's own like a regular leg
Another thing I did
a day or so ago was to look back at some of the pictures of when the snow
was deepest up here. I can't believe how deep is was. It is
funny, when you watch it pile up all season, by the time it is really,
really deep, it does not seem like it is that deep. Now that I have
seen it melt and look back, I am amazed at how much we had up here.
Actually, I am amazed at how much is still down. I need to get out
and take some shots because my back yard does not do things justice.
Almost half of it is bare, while in the woods, there is still at least
2 feet down. I bet in spots up north in Keweenaw County, there is
even more than that.
Speaking of snow melting,
I talked about the Laurium Glacier in the last journal. It was brought
up to me that that item used to be the source of a contest with locals
up here. It seems that a contest was made out of when all the snow
from that area would be gone every year. The person who used to have
the contest is no longer with us, so it was brought up to me that I should
resurrect it. I don't have the time to manually collect all the guesses,
but if you want to go to the Ask John and look under the "Laurium Glacier"
post, you can leave your guess there and the one who is closest to the
date will win a little prize. I do not know what that will be, but
I will come up with something unique to the area, maybe Julie can help
me with that end of things. I think that my guess will be May 5th,
a very special persons birthday!
I am getting sleepy
and think that I will wrap it up. About the only thing I have left
is a pic that Julie took of me
and Baileys on the couch relaxing yesterday evening. Isn't she
a cutie? She just has to be by me all the time and is laying at my
feet as I type this. She's daddy's little girl, that is for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 7, 2001- I'm starting
this on Saturday, but I am afraid that I will have to finish it on Sunday.
It is about 4 pm and I just got back from having lunch and then doing some
shopping with Julie and then going to the beach with the hounds and I have
a big date of dinner and a show with Julie which I will be leaving for
in about an hour, so we'll see how far I can get today.
The leg continues to
make leaps and bounds, just a figure of speech of course! However,
I do find myself just getting up and walking and totally forgetting about
a crutch. Especially when I am in the house. I actually lost
one for a while and then found it in the garage! I still need them
if I am going to be doing any serious walking (more than 100 feet at a
time), but it is nice to even have my conscience not worry the leg.
I took the hounds out
on the snowmobile trail yesterday. I was really surprised at things
out there. Here is a shot of the trail
3 looking south from near Gas Plant Rd. Just so that you don't
think that I took a shot of the best looking part of the trail, here is
a shot taken 180 degrees in the opposite direction looking
towards the road. As I took that I was thinking to myself, "man
here we are a few days into April and these conditions are better than
some places in the Midwest see all winter! Now of course, all of
the trails are not like that, but as I have said in previous journals,
the conditions of the trails in the woods are still good.
Not only is there still
snow, but what I was walking on is very dense snow. It was about
45 degrees and the sun was out, but I could walk right across and even
use my crutches on the snow, it was that dense. I decided to see
if I could tell how much snow was still on the trail and managed to get
a crutch in to where
it hit solid ground, I think. The depth there was 18".
So at least in some spots, we have 18" of base left! Man o man, a
two week cold snap and maybe I could still ride. Naw, I'm not even
going to consider it.
As I sit here and type,
we just had our first thunderstorm pass over Lake Linden. I heard
thunder and it poured rain for about 5 minutes then stopped. We have
had a bit of rain, most of it came from about 3 am until about 11 am.
However, it is still in the mid 30's and very overcast, with fog in some
spots. Not a very beautiful day at all. However, it is still
very possible to find
beauty up here on a day like this. Of course, what you did not
experience in that shot was the 25-30 mph winds and 30 degree temps.
A wee bit chilly, but I dressed right and was comfortable. The hounds
even cooperated and gave me the first beach
photo op of the season. They had a blast, running and chasing
each other and even taking a tumble into Lake Superior. Did not even
phase them in the least. They sure come well equipped for the elements.
Today was not a very
good day for a picnic at the beach and I suppose that based on this
shot, we need to wait a while longer to do any picnicking anyway!
One interesting side not is that there were some old snowmobile tracks
that ran right up to the table and then continued on the other side, which
means that someone rode right over it this winter and did not even know
that it was there in all likely hood. Lots of things are being uncovered.
My weber grill can actually be distinguished as that, the car across the
street has snow melted down to it's door handles and even the north side
of my back yard is free of snow. Due in part to the fact that I did
keep an area clear for the dogs with the snow thrower up until my leg break,
and also due to the fact that the pine trees there do not let the snow
pile up as much. In those areas, there is also lots of things being
uncovered, which would just as well stay buried! I am on top of things,
got a pooper scooper at Wally World today.
I see that I have just
enough time to wrap this up and get it all loaded in before I head off
for my date and since I am out of pictures and anything real interesting
to say (unless you all want to hear more about the dogs poop), then I may
as well call it a day and end it here.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 5, 2001- For Sale:
used pair of crutches, excellent condition, only used 8 weeks. Solid
aluminum construction, genuine rubber hand grips and arm pads. Stainless
steel ice picks. All reasonable offers considered.
Yep, I'm walking on my own. Well,
most of the time anyway. I still use one or sometimes both crutches
if I have far to go, but I have been using the leg for what it was meant
to do for 2 days now and it feels good, really good. One thing that
I think escapes most folks is that when a person has a leg out of commission
and is on crutches, while walking, so are their hands. One of the
biggest problems with my crutches is the fact that I could not really carry
anything while I was walking. Not unless it fit into my mouth or
could be carried on a strap by a free finger. This has complicated
things in the kitchen the most. How do you carry things from the
fridge to the counter, or from the counter to the oven or a plate of food
to the table? I invented many different techniques, but all were
awkward and time consuming. It is so nice to be able to carry things
again! I don't think I will be totally free of my crutches for another
week or so, but every day I use them less and less.
Part of the reason
for my ability to use the leg to walk on has been time and the body's ability
to heal itself (with the help of an orthopedic surgeon), but the other
part has been my physical therapy. When I started, it did not seem
like I was doing much. Sitting in a tub and moving my legs around,
but then I started to walk in there, letting the buoyancy of the water
take weight off the leg. So that when I came time for the real thing,
the leg was basically ready. I still need to get a lot of strength
back and the PT has moved from the tub to dry land and it has gotten a
lot harder. I was really pushing it the last time and was really
worn out too. I miss the tub, but I also know that what I am doing
now is progressing me along very well. So slowly but surely my life
is returning to normal.
We continue to slowly
melt off our deep snowpack. I have to say that what you see in the
AL Cam is not a true representation of what most places still have.
My yard is exposed to the sun almost all day and melts off a lot quicker
than other areas. An example of that sits just across the street
from me where an old
station wagon lays still buried in the snow. That shot was actually
taken on Tuesday, but we have not lost that much snow since then.
It also sits in the shade for most of the day, that is why there is so
much snow there. I ran into Brian today and he said that he had gone
for a ride earlier today. He also said that there is still plenty
of snow in the woods and I believe him.
I took the hounds for
a walk on the road we went to last Saturday. I took this
shot just to show how much snow is still in the woods there.
It looked to be about 2-3 feet. I bet it is even deeper in areas
around and to the north of Mohawk. Looking at that pic, it is easy
to see why good snow play could be had if you knew where to go. The
main problem, other than not knowing where to go, is to know where the
creeks and wet spots are. Here is Burt
and Baileys heading off to see one of the wet spots.
The creeks are all
coming alive. Just driving down 26 from Lake Linden to Hancock, you
will pass no less than a half dozen creeks coming down the hills, each
making it's own set of waterfalls. In another week or so I may have
to try and get to some of the bigger ones to snap some shots of them in
their prime. I can't believe I am making plans to do some exploring,
man is that great!
One area that will
have snow for a long time is a spot I like to call the Laurium
Glacier. It is just outside the town of Laurium, heading down
the road towards Lake Linden. It is a spot where a huge drift forms
and then is protected from the sun for most of the day. To help explain
how big that drift is, the pine tree directly in front of the drift, on
the left hand side of that shot stand about ten feet higher than the snow
it is in. It was the last place that I know of that still had snow
last year. I can't even begin to imagine when it will be gone this
year. Probably not until later in May. I keep you all updated.
So with all this snow,
what do the trails look like. Well, the ones between Hancock and
Dollar Bay have no snow on them. Here is a shot
of the trail #3 up by my house. It was taken where the trail
crossed a stamp sand road, so that is why it looks to dirty. About
100 yards down the trail, the snow was a lot more white. Not pristine,
but still way different from where this picture was taken. I suppose
that it does not really matter, they are not being groomed and some are
even closed now, but I bet there were at least a few of you wondering what
they looked like. Tomorrow the hounds and I may even take a hike
down one to snap some long needed shots of the real woods up here.
A regular to the site
sent me a shot the
AL Cam took while a bird was visiting. She brought up the idea
of putting a bird feeder there and I think that would be great. I
will be dismantling the snow station as soon as all the snow is gone, but
a summer bird feeder would be neat and provide something to look at when
the snow is not flying. My only concern is that if I start feeding
them now, will they depend on the food in the winter? I do not think
that I could keep a feeder stocked all winter long, as I do go away for
the holiday's and also do not want to worry about having to keep a path
cleared to it. So, I know that I have visitors to my site who know
a lot about this topic than I and I would appreciate hearing from all of
you on my concern. I know that if it goes dry for a period in the
summer, there is plenty of other food for them to eat (the UP is not lacking
for insects in the summer). Hope to hear from all of you birding
I guess that will do
it for today. I think that with my leg starting to function, I will
be able to get out and about more and the updates to the journal will hopefully
become more frequent. Hopefully.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
- JD- April 2, 2001- The season is
officially over. The trails were "closed" Sunday, as we changed the
calendar to April. I say closed, because some areas can still be
used by motorized vehicles and can be all year long. The only thing
is that you need to know where they are. Most areas off limits will
either have gates closed or will be posted, so if you are still planning
to come up, please respect the private property owners who are gracious
enough to let us use their lands in the winter. As far as enough
snow, there is enough snow in a lot of places. Not necessarily the
main trails, but the woods still has a ton of snow.
Actually for most areas
outside of the lake effect snow belts of the UP, there is still a ton of
snow in my back yard. It is melting, but the fence is really a fence
again and even my weber grill is starting to be exposed. Here is
a shot of Burt checking
out the strange object buried in the snow.
I am glad for the spring
weather we are getting too. It has slowed the death threats way down.
As if I can actually control the weather! Just kidding, I did not
receive any death threats, but there were rumors floating around that some
folks might be wanting to break my other leg if it did not stop snowing
soon. I actually am glad for the end of winter. As much as
I love snow, I also love the change of seasons and I am ready for the change.
I am not sick of the snow, or snow in general, it is just time. Time
to allow the snow to go, the grass to green and eventually the trees to
fill out and provide the shade from the summer sun. I am ready to
stroll the beaches of the Keweenaw with the hounds and now, Julie too.
We got to take in a few walks before winter started. Actually, one
walk, on our second walk on the beach, winter was slamming us in the face
with snow squalls and 25 MPH winds out of the north. I am also looking
forward to some bonfires on the beach now that I have someone to do it
So now we wait, wait
for the snows to leave the beaches and woods and for things to dry out
enough to allow the exploration that we love to do. The roads are
all clear and dry too, which does provide for some walks. My leg
is doing well enough that I can go for some walks with Julie and the hounds.
I still need the crutches, for a few more days at least, but I am putting
full weight on it beginning today and that allows me to walk a lot further.
On Saturday we took advantage of that and headed off to the north shore
to do some walking "in
the woods". That is a road that Lake Superior Land Co. put in
to develop the lake shore there. There has not been much development
yet, so it is still a great road to be able to walk down without any car
traffic. Lots of deer though.
I am going to have
to finish this up soon, as I have to get ready to go to physical therapy
and then down to Julie's for dinner. I am sitting here watching the
Cubs home opener and it looks like another great season for them...Only
2 pitches have been thrown and they are already loosing 2-0. Oh brother.
Sorry this has been
so short, but things are still really busy in my life. The physical
therapy Mon, Wed and Fri basically takes up most of my afternoon and then
the evenings have been busy as well. Things will settle down some
and I will be able to spend more time on this. Plus, I should be
getting around more and more and maybe some pics of the real woods will
be showing up soon. Julie's spring break is next week so maybe we
can use that time to do some exploring.
Good afternoon from the Keweenaw.
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