I have been fortunate to live here in the Keweenaw for 20 1/2 years. When I first moved up, everything was new and I did not even keep track of the “firsts”. Well, at least most of them. I do remember my first off trail ride with what became a great bunch of friends that allowed me to join in on their band of friendships and partake in some of the most fun rides I ever had in my life.
There were other important firsts, like the first day Nora and I saw each other, the day she moved in with me and our first day being husband and wife. There was the first time Grace saw the Keweenaw and first day’s Huck, Millie, Bleau, Dune and Kashi came to live with us.
There were also some firsts in the weather department. The first time I have ever experienced 6″/hour snowfall rates. The first time I have seen 24″ fall in less than 24 hours and of course the first time I have ever been part of a storm that brought 4 feet plus of snow.
This past Thursday was another first for me and a lot of folks living here. It was the first time I saw the Torch Lake and much of the Portage water way between Houghton and Hancock freeze over solid with no snow on them. Most of the freezes up here happen when it is snowing, so the ice is covered by snow immediately.
I had to run to Houghton/Hancock on Thursday and as I got close to Lake Linden, I was able to see the frozen over surface of the Torch Lake. The entire lake was frozen over and the ice nearly as smooth as glass. It was such an interesting sight to see, I pulled off to the side of the road south of Tamarack City to snap a shot of the ice.
When I arrive in Houghton and Hancock, I could see the waterway had frozen there in similar fashion. Perhaps even more smoothly than on the torch lake. On my way back from shopping, I passed the waterway again, only this time there were some boys skating with sticks and pucks on it! So I drove down to the road that runs parallel with the waterway and watched in fear and amazement. I was quite fearful of one or more of them falling through the ice, as it had formed just a few days earlier. The days and nights had been pretty cold and with no snow on it, the ice was likely able to grow at a pretty good rate, but still for only about 48 hours!
I did have to leave after not too long and was grateful I did not see anyone fall through. Unfortunately, someone did fall through yesterday (Sunday), but was rescued by the Hancock Fire Department. I do not know the condition of the person, but suspect that they are OK.
One of the questions among some of the locals around here has been could someone shoot a puck across the waterway from one shore to the other, given the ice was smooth and snow free. This seasons freeze up would have been the perfect opportunity to find out. I do not know if anyone tried, but will try and do a little snooping around to find out. Personally, I believe it can be done by just about anyone with a half way decent shot. As I was watching the boys skate on it Thursday, there were a couple of them separated by what amounted to 1/4 or 1/3rd of the distance from one side of the waterway to the other and their passes were making it without hardly even slowing down.
Speaking of snow, we are still lacking in what we would consider a regular amount on the ground. I had about an inch on the ground when I woke up this morning and the higher elevations had around 3-4″. It is snowing right now and we have picked up around 2″. There looks to be more later this week, perhaps considerably more. So I think we have a very good chance for a white Christmas, but I am not able to guarantee one just yet!
There is more snow seen for later in the weekend and the first half of next week, so it looks like we are finally breaking out of our snow drought. Other areas of the northern Midwest look to get snow in the next week to ten days, so all of the favorite spots in the Northwoods will be creeping their way to having enough snow to play in. Some even sprinting to that goal the second half of this week!
That’s all I have for this one, have a very Merry Christmas everyone and talk to you soon!
Good Night from the Keweenaw..