One down, three to go… I really should not look at it in that way. April is not my favorite month up here to be sure, but there can always be good found in everything. The past week was about as typical early April weather as we could have. Temps topping out in the low 40’s and then dropping off into the upper 20’s and lower 30’s overnight. While not exceptionally warm, it was enough to chip away at the snowpack. The ground in our woods is still completely covered, but just down the highway a bit, at my brothers, his yard is mostly clear. Not because he got less snow, but because the sun has been able to hit that snow more directly and not have to work its way through the still barren trees. There are spots up here that did not get as much snow as us and they are now snow-free, even in the woods. All that remains is the piles made by the snow-movers. I suspect that by the end of the week, our woods will also be free of snow and all that will remain will be the piles made from clearing the driveway or snow sliding off the roofs.
I did see a few sleds out last weekend, but this week they have been replaced by wheeled vehicles. I have not gotten ours out yet, but will likely pull it out of its winter hibernation spot and at least have it ready for a ride, perhaps even take it for a ride if the weather permits this week.
We did actually have a beautiful day to take the SxS out yesterday, but it was agreed that it was actually too beautiful to be outside in that manner. Instead, we took to the beach and enjoyed the sunshine and temps in the 60’s in that manner. In this neck of the woods, it cannot be understated how nice the first day with sunshine and 60 degree temps is. Just about anyone with a pulse can be seen outside. Some are doing yard work, some are gathered around a pickup have a hockey-pop or two, others are more ambitious and hit the pavement on foot or pedal power, some just find a nice chair on the front porch and watch the world go by. No matter how the day is spent, it is well deserved and well appreciated. All know that it is not here to say, not in early April, but it is a sign… a little taste of what lies just down the road of time a bit.
Enjoy it while you can is the motto this time of the year as well, as today we are in the low 50’s and when I took that picture of our woods, it was raining lightly. Tomorrow, we have a chance for some snow, ice and a bit of cold rain.
But back to the beach. The whole family was excited to go, even the pups know what the word “beach” means. I don’t really know why we do it to them and ourselves, mentioning to them where we are going before we even get into the vehicle. The entire trip is spent with two flying bundles of hyperactivity wrapped in fur. Each turn onto a new road gets them that much more wound up and then by the time we are getting really close to our destination (trust me, they know what to look for as a sign that we are approaching one of the beaches up here), you can feel the vehicle rock as they jump from one side of the vehicle to another in excitement. Perhaps secretly, we all enjoy that excitement, no matter how annoying it can get at times!
Once there, the doors are opened and they both bound out like a couple of wild cheetah’s on the hunt for their prey. Occasionally they will catch wind of something that smells too good to pass up, so they hit the brakes, stop on a dime and put nose to ground, or tree, or shrub or what ever it is that they need to investigate before they hit the water. The rest of the Dee clan follow up, although in a much more casual pace.
The beach that got the call yesterday was White City down in Jacobsville. The Jacobsville area is deep in Nora’s family history and is thus a very special place for her. There are many times that I go down there with her and feel a bit like a tourist. She knows all the old guard that still lives down that way and is full of stories from “back in the day”. White City Beach is a beautiful beach at just about any time of the year. Standing on the beach, you look nearly due south, with the waters of Keweenaw Bay right in front of you, the south entry and shoreline down to Baraga/L’Anse to your right and off in the distance to your left a bit, the Huron Mountains. Most of the beach is beautiful, soft sand, with the far northern end composed of rocks of Jacobsville Sandstone worn perfectly smooth by their time being tossed around in the waters of the big lake.
While most visitors gravitate to the soft sand to relax and/or play, there are a few that will venture down to the rocky shoreline to look for hidden treasures. Yesterday we did both as is evidenced by the pictures. The main goal was to look for beach glass. Nora and Gracie have quite the collection going, a tradition that Nora and he grandmother from Jacobsville had that she is now handing down to the generation. It was a good day for pickin’, the girls picked pockets full, even finding a few of the elusive red and blue colored pieces. They found enough to fill a smaller mason jar once we got home.
We probably spent the better part of the afternoon in Jacobsville, visiting some new friends, going to the beach and visiting the grave sites of Nora’s grandparents and aunt. After that we were going to stop at “Dreamland”, but as we drove up, the parking lot was absolutely full of vehicles, mostly pick up trucks. So we decided to skip the crowd and headed closer to home to grab a bite to eat.
After dinner, Gracie and I headed out on a brief waterfall tour. Nora was tired and decided to stay home with the pups (who were out for the count from all of their play at the beach), so G and I headed down to Eagle River to see the falls there. The warmer temps and snow melt had been able to swell the river pretty good. Not to excessive levels, but these falls are actually ones that can have too much water going over them. I remember going to see them during a time of rapid snow melt and some heavy rains and most of the actual features of the falls were no longer discernible, it was just basically a wall of water tumbling over the old dam structure. Yesterday’s flow was about perfect. Lots of water going over from bank to bank, but you could still make out the rock features that make up the falls.
This presents the perfect moment to introduce to the latest gadget I have to help share the Keweenaw with you. Back in September of last year, I was fortunate enough to get a drone. One of the companies that make these new gizmos had just released their latest and greatest and that spurred them on to cut the price in half of the model before that. So I was able to convince Nora that it would be a good thing for everyone (ya right!) and flew it about a half dozen times or so before the weather started to turn and I got busy with things like the office remodel and making wood. So this past week, I re-acquainted myself with the thing and got ready to start shooting some footage. I figured a flyover of the falls would be a great opportunity to get the ball rolling, so here is the first shared flight of “Eagle One”.
As you can see, I still need to polish up on both my flight abilities and my gimble (the thing that controls the camera) work, but to tell you the honest truth, I am just glad I did not crash! It was kind of a sketchy route to fly for the first real flight of the season and to the website. I am looking forward to lots more time in the “left seat” and improving my skills in both flying and video/picture taking. I have set up a youtube channel that they will all be going into, but also plan to add a section of the site where links to the videos will be. I sure hope you all are as excited as me about this and if anyone has anything they would like to see, let me know!
Good night from the Keweenaw..