We feel closer to the Lord in the Keweenaw. We find ourselves talking about it quite often. Is it because we're further north? Because the sky seems so much closer to us than it did downstate? Because we hope the Keweenaw is our last stop on earth before we die? No, we think it's because we're in love with the beautiful scenery around us, and that beauty turns our thoughts toward God.
The Lord gives us plenty of snow up here, but He also gives us the brilliant "Keweenaw Blue" skies and the sapphire blue of Lake Superior to enjoy. We took a drive up into the peninsula last Wednesday afternoon in order to enjoy those beautiful blues.
As we left our driveway in Calumet, I noticed the marks carved into the snowbank from the last pass of the SNOGO.
Steve turned onto the highway and pointed the Traverse toward Eagle River. After a brief stop in Phoenix to grab two pops at the tiny general store and to greet Arbutus, the proprietor, we made our way down into Eagle River. We could see the sapphire waters of Lake Superior as we approached.
Shipping traffic had just resumed on Lake Superior, and we were fortunate enough to see what must have been one of the first big freighters out on the water. Can you see it on the horizon?
After getting our fill of the Eagle River beach scenery, we headed toward the deer yard at the roadside park on the outskirts of town.
In order to make it through the harsh Keweenaw winters, the deer leave the higher terrain and head for the lowlands near the water to spend the winter months. The snow depth isn't as great along the shoreline, and there are plenty of wooded spots for shelter. Local groups like the U.P. Whitetails of the Keweenaw feed the deer to further ensure the health of the herd. This roadside park is one of the feeding spots, so it's a great location to get up close and personal with these lovely animals.
It's a popular spot.
Hey, where are you two headed? The restrooms are closed at this time of year!
Oh, I guess this one just wanted to get closer to me for a photo op.
When we drove down the road a bit to turn our vehicle around, we noticed more deer relaxing among the trees.
OK, back on the road again.
Next brief pause: Jacob's Falls.
Here's the best place for muffins in the Keweenaw - probably won't open until the last weekend in April again.
More scenery on the way to Eagle Harbor.
Here's the beach in Eagle Harbor - through the car window.
Here's what we saw in one of the yards across the road from the beach in Eagle Harbor.
We then headed down the Cutoff Road toward our property. The snow got deeper and deeper as we made our way down the road. Our driveway was blocked by this deep, crusty snowbank.
Just before the end of our road and back to Hwy 41, we came to the Popeye Rock. You can see Popeye's face painted on it under better circumstances. It's just a huge lump in the snow at the moment.
We made the right turn back onto Hwy 41 to make the drive back to Calumet. Here's the scenery as we headed down into Phoenix.
Turn your head to the right as you go through Phoenix and you'll see this tower.
Ahhh, we never grow tired of these rocky cliffs.
Is it any wonder that Steve refers to this place as "one step from heaven?" All is well in the Keweenaw.
Our friends and family always ask us about the snow and how we deal with it, so we try to keep you all informed. Even though we're living in an area that's used to getting LOTS of snow, it still gets talked about in the local newspaper and on the TV news when it starts getting this deep. Some of the locals didn't think we had enough snow last year for it to be considered a "real" winter, but they're telling us this year is a real doozy - more like the winters "used to be."
We've been seeing stories on the TV news about the snowbanks. The streets keep getting narrower and the intersections keep getting trickier. The snowbanks at most intersections are taller than the stop signs. You have to stop, look both ways, inch forward, stop, look both ways, inch forward, stop, look both ways, pray and step on it! One of the locals said we need periscopes on our vehicles.
Here's a photo of the intersection of 7th Street and Elm last week. The stop sign is circled in red.
That intersection benefits from being located near the city garage where the snow removal equipment is located and only 2 of the 4 corners have buildings sitting close to the street. Many of the intersections in Calumet are far worse than that one.
The SNOGO went past our house this morning. I didn't get a picture, but here's a shot from when he went by last month.
Remember, this is the machine that carves into the snowbanks to make the road wider for us. It blows the snow into a dump truck. Steve took a great shot of the front of a SNOGO when it was sitting nearby in January.
It's too bad we can't get a SNOGO into our backyard. Here's the latest MONEY SHOT!
Yes, Steve and Cocoa were hanging out on the roof today! They simply climbed the huge mound of snow next to the back door. Cocoa had so much fun up there that she ran up and down several times. Will she get up on the roof when Steve isn't outside with her? We certainly hope not!
I was at the kitchen sink a short time later and snapped this photo.
All that excitement on the roof led to a short break before they went down the street to check on the snow at my mom's place. A man and his dog - it's a beautiful thing.
Hey, it's NOT snowing! I guess 40 inches in the last 2 weeks was enough for a while. Steve has been very busy. He says the only problem is that he's running out of places to put it.
Check out the next 4 photos - all taken from the window of our home office. I shared the first 2 photos in the last post, but I'll insert them again here to illustrate how things changed from Sunday - Thursday.
OK, all the snow in that last photo didn't fall in front of the window without a little help. Steve raked the roof again. The remaining photos in this post were all taken today. Here's the front of the house.
Here's the back of the house.
The next shot shows Steve & Cocoa next to the mountain of snow by the front steps.
Steve says we're "living in the trenches" at this time of year. That phrase usually applies to battlefield conditions, but I think it's completely accurate here. Tackling the Keweenaw snow is a battle and requires some strategic planning!
We had a lengthy interval without snow in the middle of the night and a few brief respites since it started up again early this morning. The LES (lake effect snow) is cranking up now, so we're nowhere near finished with this storm.
Here's a photo from Sunday afternoon.
Here's a photo from 7:30 this evening.
Keep in mind: That's 6 ft. stockade fencing! The snow should be significantly deeper by morning. We'll keep you posted.
All is well in the Keweenaw. P.S. As of 10:00 a.m. today, our local snow total for the season was about 227.5 inches.
The next big snow has started and we're hunkered down! The shelves are fully stocked, a load of perishables is in the refrigerator, the freezer is packed, and this little brick house is nice and cozy. This storm may bring us 20 inches or more by Wednesday afternoon. As Steve says, "Bring it on!" Meanwhile, we'll enjoy this photo of some recent sunshine and our "Keweenaw Blue" sky.