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Even at 40 y.o. I Will Climb Mountains May 28, 2012

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Today I took a vacation day on Apriil 1st,  in order to have a low-key birthday – and the best possible day ever to turn 4o years old. I slept in until 8 and had a generous piece of the tastiest homemade angel food cake for breakfast. After a lazy morning, I went for a challenging hike at Bare Bluff overlooking Bete Gris. I closed out the evening at Fisher Hall watching the graphic yet captivating film, True Grit.

When I reached the trail head – I was surprised at how much snow was still on the ground.  I tried to make it up the first hill in just my boots, it was not long before I sank thru the snow. I turned back to retrieve my snow shoes from the car and started over.

The trail was challenging – an uphill climb. In places, the trail seemed to disappear completely –  with no evidence of a cleared path or tracks. My snowshoes mostly kept me above the snow, but occasionally, unexpectedly, I would crash thru. Fallen trees littered the trail. I find it difficult to cross over or under fallen trees in snow shoes. Its easy to get caught or trapped in the branches. In most instances, going around was not an option – over or under was the only choice.

Blue skies and unusually warm temperature made the ascent pleasurable. After losing the trail for some time, I continued to wander North and found myself on a cliff overlooking Bete Gris.

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Dog Days Return to the Keweenaw April 1, 2011

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Run fast for your mother; run fast for your father
Run for your children/ all your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind.
You can’t carry it with you/ If you want to survive

–Florence + the Machine

Last night the dogs took to the streets of Calumet for the sophomore effort of the Copper Dog 150. Forty teams of beasts and mushers left behind  hundreds of  shivering spectators – cheering them on their way.

I was impressed to see these canine athletes. There was a job to do, and so enthusiastic were they to pull through Calumet and onward to Eagle Harbor.

It was hard for me to watch the staging of the teams. The dogs bristled against their handlers. So eager were they to run, that they sould not remain still. The dogs leapt up in the air. They pulled. They barked and cried. The struggle was difficult for me to bear. It wasn’t animal cruelty or torture or harshness. But a struggle, none the less. The dogs jumped straight up in the air. They wrestled with the handlers.  I watched the teams prepare for a while, and eventually I walked away from it.

It was much easier to watch the dog teams once they were released. Such determination, such focus – I was reminded of the race horses in Kentucky.  I watched as every team make it down the track. Just before the last team left for the trails, I spotted a cat in a window high above the streets of Calumet, looking down on the events below with disdain, as cats often do. The evening closed with a classic rock cover band and glittering, low-hanging fireworks.

Calm Before the Storm? October 26, 2010

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According to the National Weather Service, high winds are headed into the area this week. Needless to say, I can’t wait to check out the waves on Lake Superior. I’ve brought in the chimes and the furniture off the deck. NWS has forecast 40 mph winds, with gusts 50-60 mph. Waves up to 30 feet. As excited as I am to witness the forces of Nature on the Great Lakes, lets everyone stays safe, and please, no Edmund Fitzgerald~ish catastrophes.

Swimming in Lake Superior August 15, 2010

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Somehow I managed to get in Lake Superior each day this weekend – Friday, Saturday, & Sunday – each night at different beaches, and under different weather conditions. On each occasion, I had hoped for a clear sky in order to see the Perseids. I had packed gear to camp out overnight under the stars.

Friday night, I headed out to Misery Bay at dusk. After the short hike thru the woods, then a wade across the Misery River, I headed out to my favorite remote beach. Although the teal water was glassy calm, across Lake Superior,  a brilliant  thunderstorm and a wall of rain was heading inland. Pink flashes of lightening blazed across the horizon. A few others ventured out to the Misery Bay beach for the light show. We all swam and played in the water and watched the storm advance North West. It was beautiful and frightening.

Saturday evening was met with wonderful news from dear friends with whom I joined out at the Breakers beach to watch the sunset. Jason and Jamie are engaged, and Annabelle was excited to share their news. We had a brief visit; I left with feet peppered with small, dark rocks. Although I did not go swimming at the Breakers, I waded out with the kids  and played in the waves.

Weather  had undergone  a drastic change overnight. Air temperature dropped more than 20 degrees, and a fierce West wind was whipping around the Keweenaw at speeds of 25-45 mph. After a day trip North to see the waves, I stopped at the beach at Great Sand Bay to get a closer look. As the name suggests, the beach is lined with sand dunes. Stepping out of my car, I was pelted with sand moving at high speeds. To protect my camera from the blowing sand, I left it in my car. The picture above was taken on a previous trip.

I simply can’t resist playing, swimming in the Great Lakes on windy, wavy days. Not content with simply dipping my toes in the warm lake water, I waded into the swell until I was waist-high. The water’s force was stronger than any I have ever experienced. Even at shallow depths, the waves crashed high over my head! I can only describe the force, the strength, the power of the water as overwhelming. At times, I struggled to keep my footing, and the water slapped my face and punched my belly. I felt rip currents tug gently on my legs. And the foamy swells crashed all about me. All of this in waist-high water!

Unfortunately, conditions were never optimal for Perseid viewing. But, like most good adventures, the best discoveries occur when least expected.

RedRidge Dam August 15, 2010

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