The new year is here and so is my first cold of the season! I am not feeling too-too bad, but it is zapping my energy, so I will likely keep this one somewhat short. Plus, I just wrote last Wednesday, so I do not have a ton of new material, but did you hear the one about the rabbi, the priest and the….never mind. Must be the cold medicine.
The snows slowed down a bit since we got home, but certainly did not stop. We picked up 16.5″ of fresh since the 27. That has kept most folks up here busy moving it around and the complaints are starting to appear among the locals. I suppose it may be well deserved as this December has been a snowy one. Depending on who you ask, even one for the record books. I am not going to get into the whole debate as to if we have broken records. I will state that the standing record for Houghton County in December was set at the airport in 1978. The area received 119″ of snow in that month and was part of the record breaking snow season in which the airport recorded 354.1″ for the season, with Keweenaw County recording 390.4″. I will also say that any new record wanting to be claimed for snowfall for Houghton CO will have to have an asterisk placed next to it, as they no longer record snowfall totals at the airport…at least where they did when keeping records for the 50 or so years they did there. So any new comparison will be sort of an apples to oranges thing- especially when measuring snow up here that can be highly variable due to the big differences in lake effect snowfall from one area to another just miles away.
Now, with all that said, I picked up 113″ of snow this past December and I am very confident that Calumet reported more. Specifically because on December 9th and into the early part of the 10th, I picked up 17″ of snow and I have reliable sources that measured 37″ in the Calumet/Laurium in that same period. I can also say that I do not think there was ever a snow event in December where we picked up significantly more snow than Caly did. So it would not surprise me at all if a person that is measuring correctly and consistently in the Calumet area recorded more than 119″ of snow for December. All one has to do is go there and see the banks of snow on the sides of the roads and the undisturbed snow on the roofs and compare it to just about anywhere else up here right now and you will claim the “snow kings” of the Keweenaw right now. I am not aware of any NWS coop observer for Calumet or Laurium, so the exact total may never be known. But “A Boatload” would suffice!
Quickly speaking of historical weather, I do know that the historical weather portion of the new site is incomplete. I am keeping records for this season and do have plans to bring everything up to speed as soon as I can, including the firsts and lasts. So hang in there!
It is currently snowing and has been at one clip or another for just about the past 7 days straight. That trend looks to continue in the next 7 days at least, with a system snow for later tonight into tomorrow and then lots of LES for the rest of the week. I would not be surprised to hear about someone in the Keweenaw Peninsula picking up over 3 feet of snow from now through Sunday. Perhaps considerably more if the banding does not want to move around too much. If it’s us, I will be just fine with that! Big Red has been doing a tremendous job moving it around. In fact, just the other day, I came in from moving snow and the first thing I said to Nora was: “I am not going to lie, moving snow with that thing is still a ton of fun!”. There are moments, mostly when a sheer pin gives, that make it no fun at all, but thankfully they do not take up too much of my time and with the frequency that it has been happening lately, I am getting pretty darn good at changing them out!
The girls had off from school/work all week and we did get in some snow play. On Thursday, Gracie and friend Jacob took to our woods to tool around on their sleds. Gracie’s sled had been outside for most of the past few weeks, under cover, but still, that caused the throttle cable to freeze. So the two of them had to share Jakob’s, which they did very well. Here is a shot of Jakob taking a spin around a clearing we have and here is Gracie. They both can ride very well and did an awesome job of taking turns. The snow conditions were nearly perfect for that 120. We had a pretty set up base of 2 feet covered by around 6-8″ of powder. So the sled was able to ride on the base, but float through the powder.
On Saturday, organizers of the CopperDog 150 held a fundraiser where they offered rides on a pair of sleds pulled by two teams. Gracie had been doing it since being just 4 months old and this year made it 7 in a row. I figure she still has at least 7 or 8 more years left, maybe more. After each ride, she proclaims that she wants to have her own team of dogs and race. I must admit, that if I had the time, I would be all in! For now, we all can just dream. This years CopperDog 15 will be held March 3-5 and I strongly suggest you come up for it if you have not already taken it in. For those that have, I know you will be back!
Later in the day on Saturday, we all went over to Jakob’s house to celebrate New Years eve with Jacob, his brother Connor, his mom Donna, Dad John and their friend Brian. Jacob and Gracie have a ton of fun together. At first John/Donna, Nora and I were worried about them getting along, as they are both very smart and strong willed, so we thought they might have an issue letting each other be in charge of the activity they were playing and I suppose at very first- a year or two ago- they did bump heads some, but now are two peas in a pod. Connor is still working on getting to his first birthday, so he is not quite in with the gang, but I suspect that will be changing in the coming months.
One of the great things about going to a house with younger children in the family for New Years Eve is that there is no pressure to stay there until midnight. In fact, you are probably doing them a favor by leaving around 8-8:30, which is what we did. We got back to our house, popped the cork, celebrated with Iceland and then I hit the hay. Nora and Gracie did stay up a bit longer, but as the night drew on, Gracie said to Nora: “Mom, we do not need to stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop, I saw the ball and it’s nothing too special, just white and a little red…no big deal”. So they did not make it to midnight eastern time either.
On Sunday, I skipped out on riding with John, Brian and a few others in the morning, as I could feel the cold gaining the upper hand. But I did offer up for them to come over with Jakob and his sled to ride with Gracie and I around the hood. So around 2:30, they showed up and we all took to the woods for a ride. On Thursday, Jake had been doing some stand up riding, something he picked up from his dad, and yesterday, they both were doing it.
Again, the snow was perfect for them, with the same 2 foot+ base and 4-6″ of fresh powder on top. We headed down a little trail and over to a bigger field, where they both had a blast tooling around. As I watched the two of them riding all around that field, hooting and hollering inside their helmets, I felt so happy for the both of them. I even wondered who was having more fun, them or I. It really did not matter, as we all were on cloud 9.
After we got back and unsuited from our ride, I said to Nora that I think if she is going to want to hang with Gracie and I in the winter in a few years, she had better get herself a snowmobile! I have a feeling that she and I will be boon-docking all over the Keweenaw in another 6 or 7 years.
So I guess that fills you in on all of our going’s on in the past 5 days. Lotsa snow looks to fall this week, so the banks will get deeper and conditions even better for snow-play. I sure hope that this cold I have come down with does not keep me down for too long, but I am going to take it easy the next few days and hope that rest will get me ready to ride the fresh later in the week!
Good Night from the Keweenaw..