Yooper Busy

We haven't just been busy. We've been Yooper Busy!

Unusual small mushroom in the grass at Camp Soldner

So, what's "Yooper Busy"?  This is the condition in which those of us in the U.P. ("Yoopers") are preoccupied with trying to pack as much warm-weather activity and fun as you can into a very short summer... struggling mightily to take advantage of every day without ice, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures. I've said it before... for many Yoopers the only good use they have for summer is to prepare for the next winter. They're a hearty bunch with one thing in common. They ALL love living up here.  They'll do almost anything to stay here.

Besides hanging out and enjoying the amenities of Camp Soldner, we've done a couple area explorations that I'd like to note. The first was with fellow explorers Bill and Nancy, our next door neighbors here at the camp. The four of us headed into the Keweenaw Peninsula (that big finger of land that juts into the middle of Lake Superior). Dar and I explored the Keweenaw back in 2007 but somehow, inexplicably, when I went to get the link to that post I found that I never did post anything about that day. Hmmm.

The Keeweenau was a hoppin' place during the later 1800's and early 1900's. Mining was the reason and copper was the primary metal being mined. And a booming timber and lumber industry added to the fury. People came in droves, towns boomed, affluence reigned. But even in the scale of U.S. history, the boom time here was little more than a deep breath. It grew fast, reached an apex, and died almost as fast. The mines played out, the rich ore gone, the timber was cut, labor strife, competition from huge new western mines. People left, seeking jobs, many of them to the Detroit area where the auto industry was beginning a new cycle of growth and affluence -- which now, at least for Michigan, has followed the same boom-bust pattern.

Then yesterday, Friday, we joined Dennis and Laura in an exploration of the highest point in Michigan, Mt. Arvon. The nearby Mt. Curwood had been considered the highest point until 1982 when more accurate instrumentation determined that Arvon was actually taller by a mere 11 inches. Of course that fact got me wondering whether geological bandits could lug a 12 inch rock to the top of Curwood to regain the title?

From L'anse MI., the 28 mile route followed progressively worsening roads. The last few miles were little more than a jeep trail... barely wide enough for Dennis' full-size van... through ruts, wash outs, pot holes. About a half mile from the peak we found a place to park the van and walk the rest of the way to the top. A good jeep could, and occasionally does, make it all the way.

A picnic table and signs mark the point. And of course, the official USDI Geological Survey marker. Just a short walk down a trail to the north we found a fantastic view of Lake Superior and the Huron Islands about 15 miles off, and the Keweenaw Peninsula on the horizon.

From the mountain we headed for the shoreline. Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world based on surface area, and the third largest based on volume. We drove, again down progressively worsening roads to a beach near the mouth of the Huron River -- which we learned was a sort of secret recreation area for locals and those "in the know". We found campers, beach'rs, picnic'rs... all enjoying the wide, sandy, and very pleasant beach. Don't tell anyone, but this was a real "find" for a couple explorers like us.


Slightly Better than Most