So I was talking with my mom yesterday, wishing her a Happy New Year and getting caught up on the weeks events and she mentioned how she really liked the look and sound of 2022 better than 2021. I thought that was very interesting, because I had been thinking the same exact thing an hour or two before she said it. I’m not sure if any of the rest of you feel the same way or not, but if so, then there could be something to it!
The week between Christmas and New Years is typically a slow one for the Dees. The girls are still off from work/school and all the hustle and bustle in the lead up to Christmas is gone, so we usually just take it pretty easy. Such was the case this year too. We did remove all the ornaments off the tree on Tuesday and then Grace and Nora took the lights off and the tree down on Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, we all took a drive to Copper Harbor as I wanted to introduce myself to the new owners of the Pines, which they have renamed to the Lake Effect bar and grille. However, they were closed for some reason, so we ended up making the 90 minute drive from Jake for the scenery. I actually had not been to the harbor since early September, so it was nice to get there and it was a nice drive. Especially the part through the covered drive.
The harbor was a pretty bustling place for snowmobiles while we were there. With the Lake Effect closed, the Mariner had a very full parking lot. That was just the front lot, the side lot was full too. Speaking of full, the hotels and motels also had lots full with trucks and trailers. Here is a shot of Truck Row at the AmericInn in Calumet and when we drove by the Trailside up the road, it had about as many trucks and trailers there too!
I took my own ride on Wednesday. The gentleman that bought my Keweenaw Kamo sled came up to get it and we took a short, but nice ride in the backcountry in the afternoon. We did ride a few miles of trail and the main observation I made was that both the backcountry and the trails really need more snow. The small amount of trail that we rode did not have any bare spots, even where they had been logging and plowing it just a few weeks back, but missing were the 2-3 foot banks of level snow on either side of the trail. The little amount we rode was also not too bumpy, but not perfectly flat either. The holiday periods are not the time to be expecting flat trails in the Keweenaw. It happens every year, but I will read a comment from someone saying how bumpy the trails are and wish they could understand all the issues that come to play and the “tricks” to avoid having to ride on bumpy trails ALL DAY. The main trick is to take the trail less traveled. Stay off the main arteries as much as possible. One of the problems is that there is only one trail one can take from Twin Lakes to Houghton/Hancock and then from Hancock to Calumet. With hope, the DNR will be able to make the repairs needed to the trail from Hancock to Lake Linden and that will help out the section from Hancock to Calumet a lot.
No bumpy trails in the backcountry, only flat and white snow and in some spots some almost covered tracks from a previous boondocker. My riding companion, Jeff, and I did find some untouched paths to take as well. It had been at least 3 years, probably more, since I had ridden in the area where we were and the loggers had been busy, both cutting trees and making new paths. It’s a bit of a bittersweet thing whenever I go into an area that has been recently cut. Bitter because the woods are generally thinned out quite a bit, so gone in some of the ambience. Also a tiny bit bitter because I can get thrown of by the new roads they have put in, but sweet because some of those roads allow me to get to new and unexplored areas.
We did take a few of those new roads and found many did not connect with existing roads and we ended up having to turn around. At the end of one, I swore I had been to that same spot before and was surprised that we could not keep going. During the stop Jeff broke out his phone and snapped a shot of us. I broke out my phone to see if I could find out where they heck we were! Turns out, I was right, I had been there before, only on the other side of a creek that had no way across and large berms on either side. With a lot more snow and enough talent to use the berm as a ramp, I could jump the creek and be on my way, but that will never happen! Not in my lifetime! The bottom line is that the woods were a joy to ride as always, but could use at least a foot to make it even better.
In other happenings, the deer continue to congregate in Jake. To my knowledge, there have not been anymore car-deer incidents, but that is just to my knowledge. They found the feeder I put out around 2 weeks ago and have been busy feeding off of it. As mentioned in the previous entry, they also have found their way into our fenced in backyard. (editors note: I cannot see last week’s entry and have no idea where it went!). Then a few days ago they really got rowdy and knocked the feeder over. I could not get an interview from an eyewitness, so I have no idea if it was done on purpose or by accident, but it has been too cold to be out there trying to get it all put back up and filled with feed. I do plan to do that tomorrow afternoon though. If you have not been to the woods cam much, you should check it out, as there are deer there more times than not and the cam has a live video stream, so you can watch them in action.
With that feeder down, they have been to the bird feeder more often. Not much there for them, only the droppings and they need to get there before the squirrels do, but they must find enough to make it worth their trouble, as they do go there quite a bit too. The bird feeder is only about 10-15 feet from one of the picture windows in our living room and Bleau spends a lot of his free time on the lookout for them.
Our New Years Eve was a pretty quiet one. That is how we roll in the Dee family. Actually, if I remember correctly, I believe I have only been “out” to ring in the New Year. That does not include eating out, but it does include being at a bar or party for New Years. Not too surprising if you know me well, I am not a big group type of person, I prefer the company of a smaller group of good friends. The Dees have established a new tradition that I think will be around for many years to come. We take it easy until around 9 pm and then partake in the card game of euchre. Grace and I only learned the game about 3 years ago, but can now keep up with the average player. Most of the really stupid mistakes have been made and, at least for me, it is only the stupid mistakes I make. Anyway, we had planned on Nora’s aunt joining us, but she was not feeling good, so we had to play the 3 handed version. It changes the dynamics of the game a bit and thus how you play things out, but is still as fun.
This year, Grace threw in a twist. Starting at 10 and repeating at 11 and midnight, we all would go outside and light up some sparklers. Surprisingly, it was pretty cold out at 10, 11 and midnight on December 31st in the Keweenaw! but most of us still bundled up and went out for the celebrations. Grace was the only one tough enough to just wear a light jacket, no gloves or hat. It might also have something to do with her age. Anyway another tradition is take a selfie of the three of us at the stroke of midnight and here is the one of us welcoming in 2022.
I like Grace’s new addition to our New Year tradition, but think we will be kicking it up a notch for the years to come. I believe some bigger and more dramatic pyrotechnics will be in order for the future. Although this year we did have some pretty big sparklers for the midnight lighting! Haha!
So I think that covers it for this first edition to 2022. I hope everyone reading had a fun holiday period and now that life will be getting back to the usual routine the joy of the holidays and time spent with family continues through the year.
Good Night From the Keweenaw..