They’re Here!

In last weeks entry I put the call out to folks that all was fine to come and visit and while I am not going to take credit for it, they came. Starting around Monday and Tuesday, there was a big change in the amount of traffic on the roads up here. The Independence Day holiday is probably the biggest weekend up here for visitors. That is because it is a big holiday for friends and family that don’t live in the area to come up and visit the friends and family that live up here. I refrain from using the word tourist because many of them have ties or even have lived here and have more reason to call themselves Yoopers than I do!

Anyway, despite having to actually stop and let traffic pass to pull out onto the highway, it was very good to see the region back to hopping with visitors. I hope that the regular flux of visitors keeps up for the rest of the warm season, because the local businesses need more than one 5-7 day holiday period to have a good season, but it was a great start.

We took part of the influx of visitors to the area. Nora had some family come up for the holiday. They arrived on Tuesday and left early this morning. It was Nora’s brother, wife, daughter, the daughters boyfriend and her two children. Both the children are boys and one is about 8 months younger than Grace, while the other is about 6-7 months old. Grace had a blast with her cousin every day. The activities ranged from fishing, to swimming, to firework watching, to zip lining, to parade attending/watching to kayaking and lots of other stuff. Gracie slept in until 10 am this morning and I think that was much needed sleep!

Huck enjoyed the company as well, especially the little one. Of course I am going to think that both Huck and Millie are really special dogs, but Huck is unique to most dogs I have ever met. His desire for companionship is greater than any other dog I have ever known. It does not matter who you are, how old you are, man, women, boy or girl. If you show an interest in giving him some attention, he is your best friend. It was so fun to watch he and the little gomper interact. The baby was just as fascinated by Huck as Huck was by him. Millie made sure to swing by and say high as well, but was not as interested in the baby as Huckie was.

With Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, it sure made the week seem weird. Tuesday felt like a Friday and Wednesday felt like a Saturday. Then Thursday did not feel like any day I can describe and by Friday I was just rolling with it. Because of the timing of the 4th, I missed out on some of the activities. I did not make the fireworks on the 3rd, as I was too tired from the work day. We all took part in the parade and gathering in the park in Mohawk on the 4th, but then I retired early on the 4th, while most of the others headed down to see the fireworks. I guess why I am saying all of this is because a lot happened this week, but I was not there to see much of it, so I do not have a lot to write about!

I did have a meeting on Friday with the head of the Portage Health Foundation (PHF). It has been one of the main organizations that stepped in and became a donation source for all the work that needs to be done to repair the damages from the Father’s Day flood. I was told that they consider the trails systems up here to be an integral part of the community and are going to be donating funds to help with the repairs needed. Unfortunately, the total amount of money they have collected so far (almost 4 million), would not cover all the damage done to the trail from Hancock to Lake Linden. Estimates to repair all the damage have come in at around 20 million. Just on that stretch alone, there are a total of 60 washouts, 45 of them being major ones. Even the DNR does not have that kind of spare change laying around to commit to the repairs, so all hopes of repairing the damage and opening up that trail hinge on help that would come from FEMA.

To that end, the head of the PHF has requested that we gather as many letters of support in favor of repairing that stretch of trail as possible. They will then compile all of those letters and present it to those that will be involved in making the decision if FEMA money will be going into those repairs. I do know that other damage estimates have been done to things like the roads and structures and that there is an excellent chance that FEMA money will come in to help with the costs incurred in repairing roads and other infrastructure, but there is much higher uncertainty about money being allocated for the trail repairs. The best chance we all have of that money coming in, is to let our voices be known. The more voices that speak out it is important, the better the chance we have of opening that trail back up.

So here is what you can do…You can write a short letter, stating your feelings that the trail repair is important to you. That you use the trail as part of the entire system we have up here and that your usage helps to support the local economy of the area. If you have other reasons why you feel the trail repairs would be important, feel free to state that as well. You can e mail those letters to: info@phfgive.org  The decision is going to be made soon, so we need to get these letters in as soon as possible! So please spread the word to all of your friends that can help out. This is one of those true opportunities for the users of our trails to use their voices to have a huge impact on the future of the trail.

As far as the rest of the trail system goes, the trail from Hancock to Calumet is open from Tomasi Dr to Calumet. Tomasi Dr is on the north end of town and I believe they have designated a route that ORV’s can use to get from downtown Hancock to Tomasi Dr. All trails from Calumet north are open and you can get to the far northern outskirts of Lake Linen from Calumet via trail 3. It is closed from Norman Rd south, but you can take Normand Rd down to Cemetery Rd and then into town. The trail from Houghton to South Range is still closed and no word on when it will open to ORV traffic, but it will be open for the snowmobile season for sure.

The only other item I have is that the annual Guts Frisbee tournament was held in Calumet this weekend. I have seen some of the local teams practicing, but have never seen a match in action. So yesterday, Nora’s brother and I went over and watched for a while. It is a simple, yet interesting game. Essentially, the way it works is a line of 5 or 6 players stand at arms length apart from each other. Around 15 yards away, an opponent from the other team hurls a Frisbee as fast as they can at the line of opposing players. Those players then need to catch the disk before it hits the ground. The players can only use one hand and cannot trap the disk between their hands and another part of their body, such as their chest. The disk may be kept from hitting the ground by players hitting it up into the air with their hands. If the disk hits the ground, then the throwing team gets a point. If it is caught. No points are scored and if the throw is outside of a pre-set area, then the receiving team gets a point. I can say that I have never seen a Frisbee thrown so fast in my entire life. The speeds can reach up to 80 mph and when we were watching it, some of the tosses were so fast that your eyes could not really pick up on the flight of the disk. You would watch the player toss it and then see the other team react, but did not actually see the disk traveling! The first team to 21 wins and you have to win by two points.

The game was thought up in Minnesota, but the first official match happened right here in the Keweenaw at Eagle Harbor. At one time, the sport was so popular that ABC’s Wide World of Sports covered some of the matches! I did not see any communications trucks or blimps flying over Calumet this weekend, so I guess ABC has moved on to other things, but it really was fun to watch! If you want to read more on it, there is a website (of course there is!) for you.

I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a great week and do not forget to write your short letter and rally the troops to do the same! The e mail address is: phfgive.org    I Have always dreamed of having a army of “Snow Warriors” at the ready to respond when our voices were needed and it looks like that dream has come true!

Good night from the Keweenaw..
JD

Surreal