A Whole Other World

Sorry for my absence. Sunday last week was Christmas eve and my family and I were down visiting “Grandma” in southern WI and I figured I would get a free pass on that one! Sunday I was busy sleeping so I could stay up to midnight! Actually, I did take a little nap, then went to some friends house and came home around 10:30. Then we all settled into the living room to watch the “ball drop”. I promised Gracie that I would do my best to make it to midnight, but made no further promises. I did fade off a few times, but never into a deep sleep. I looked over at Gracie and Nora cuddling in the chair together and both were out. At around 5 minutes to midnight, I looked over again and Nora was awake, so we both woke Gracie up and we all got to watch the ball drop and rang in the new year with some non-alcoholic bubbly and then all fell asleep withing minutes of letting our heads hit the pillow. I did start to write yesterday, but for some reason, my method of transferring photos from my camera to my PC did not work. I worked on that for a bit and then gave up around 5 pm so I could make my famous (with my family) BBQ chicken. By the time dinner was done, it was too late for this old boy to write. So here I am!

I realize that most of you do not need me to give my reasons for not writing, but I just wanted to let you all know that myself and family are all very healthy, happy and Nora and Gracie are wise and that I do take my writing duties seriously. I get so many compliments from visitors to the site and can identify with that, as I have had fun following others via the web or other media that I really do want to sit down and share the happenings in the Keweenaw with you all.

Despite the fact that it has been over 2 weeks since I last wrote, I don’t have a ton to share and am a little pressed for time, as I need to get over to Gracie’s ice skating lessons in about 90 minutes and then have to preside over our snowmobile club meeting for the month of January. Speaking of our club. We are again raffling off a barrel sauna as a fundraiser. You can go to the website to purchase tickets as well as look for the fliers in businesses up here and they will be selling tickets. We also are having our first annual bonfire on February 3rd at the Trailside Lodge just outside of Calumet. It will run from 11 to approximately 3 pm. We will have a nice big fire going to warm you up, free hot dogs/brats, pop, chips, coffee, hot chocolate and some sweets. We also hope to have one of our groomers there so you call can get a close up look at one of them. So please swing by and say hi! I would love to see you all!

So as mentioned, Nora, Gracie, the pups and I headed south for the Christmas Holiday. We left Friday morning the 22nd and returned on the 26th. The weather for the drive down was wonderful and things for the drive back were good, except for the final 80-90 miles or so. If you have forgotten, the 26th was a pretty chilly day in the Midwest. The temp in southern WI when we left was around 6 below and we remained in below zero temps all the way through the entire state and into the southern UP. The temp finally climbed to 2 above when we entered the Houghton area. So we had to drive approximately 400 miles north to warm up!

Usually when the temps are that cold, the skies are clear and that was the case from southern WI all the way into the southern UP. Then as we approached the southern side of Bruce Crossing, the clouds associated with the lake effect that had been pounding the western UP LES belts started to appear. A somewhat ominous sign, but we pressed on. After passing through Bruce and heading a bit further north, the clouds drew closer, but it was still not snowing and the roads were still pretty good. The snow depth was a bit deeper, but still around a foot or less at that point. A little further up the highway the clouds completely obscured the sky and flakes began to fly. It was not snowing heavily, but the snow depth was noticeably deeper.

As we approached and passed through Mass City, the snow was coming down a bit heavier, the roads were freshly snow covered and the depth on the sides of the road were quite deep. The snow coating the trees was also much more prevalent by the time we were to that point, showing that snow had been falling previously to our arrival and at a pretty decent clip. Not long after turning onto M-26 past Mass City, the visibility dropped significantly due to the snow falling. The road was completely snow covered and the banks on the side of the road were quite big. Keep in mind that the distance traveled between the shot with the blue skies and the one with near white-out conditions was only about 20 miles and the time was only around 20 minutes. Further up the highway, we arrived in Twin Lakes. By that time, the visibility was down to less than an 8th of a mile and EVERYTHING was blanketed in around 3 feet of fresh snow!

Thinking back to our travels through WI and the southern UP, where the sun was shining, the roads were clear and a modest 8-10 inches of snow lay on the ground, it was as if we had been transported to a completely different place on earth. In reality, we had just traveled around 40 miles! It came down heavily all the way to Houghton and Hancock and then let up a bit as we got on top of Quincy Hill just beyond Hancock. Still snowing, but not as heavily, we arrived home to lots of fresh snow since we had left, but not like we had seen further south in places like Twin Lakes, Toivola and Painesdale.

It has since snowed almost non-stop since we got home. I suppose there may have been a few hours without snow, but for the past 12 days, the flakes have been flying pretty much non-stop. No question we are off to a great start up here. Looking around at all the snow up here, it is almost hard to believe it is only January 2nd, as things look more like mid-February when we have usually hit our apex for snow cover.

The snows have been so ambitious to fly that we have had some pretty decent snow shower activity occur with nearly clear skies. Thursday evening I had to run out to the shop for something and it was snowing pretty good. When I returned to the house, I looked up to see the moon shinning brightly!

On Saturday early afternoon, we had one of those temporary lulls in the snow. It did snow pretty good in the morning and by around 1 pm, the next round of lake snow was gathering off to our west. Here is a shot of some rather ominous looking lake effect clouds off to the west of us. Not as ominous looking as a severe thunderstorm, but as lake effect clouds go, that was pretty nasty looking. Or perhaps awesome looking- all depends on your love of lake effect snow I guess!

The snows did hit and it came down pretty good for the afternoon. I had thought about riding both Friday and Saturday, but things just got too busy and I decided to hold off. I did partner up with my friend John and his son Jacob and together with Gracie we did some riding in our woods Saturday afternoon. Mostly just the kids, but it is so fun to watch them tool around on their 120’s. Gracie was all excited to wear her new helmet and jacket and stood out well with the neon pink and yellow.

So I guess that about covers it for this one. The snow is very deep for this time of the year up here. I have a big old curled over drift I need to knock down from the empty woodshed. I sure don’t miss having to go out into the cold to load wood 2 times a day! I am pretty surprised that I have not gone out riding yet! It has been pretty cold and the great snows have only been around since a week or two before Christmas, so I was pretty busy. The next round of arctic air is headed our way as I type, so I will not be riding those three days, but the weekend and next week look warmer and I can feel the snow calling!

Good night from the Keweenaw..