Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Prayer Tree

A view out from the top of the Cliffs, with a tree in the foreground with many post cards, letters, and prayer flags attached to it.
A mystery tree at the cliffs.

If you've ever looked around the cliffs near the old Cliff mine, you've certainly noticed the big rock pile coming right down the cliff face from the top of the cliffs. That old rock pile comes from the Cliff #3 shaft, which is right on top of the cliffs. It's also a fun place to hike and get a good view. (Mike's got a good article about this part of the mine -- the first photo has the rock pile on the far left side.)

I'd never actually climbed up to that part of the cliffs before, so a couple weekends ago I thought I'd go straight up the rock pile and see what I could see. The pile is very steep, but not impossible to climb. Making it harder, however, were the apple cores raining down upon me from above! A boy scout troop happened to be having a picnic up at the top, and they were throwing their cores to see how far they would go -- apparently my bright purple jacket and blaze orange hat weren't visible among the trees at the bottom. I kindly informed them of my presence.

Up at the top, I rested and enjoyed a lovely view (possibly surpassing the cliff lookout). The rock pile is pretty wide at the top, and very overgrown with trees and weeds. Wandering along the cliff face for a while, I found this tree right on the edge of the cliffs. The photo shows the basic idea: it was covered in post cards, scraps of paper with poems, random messages, and prayer flags. I have no idea what it was or who put it there, except that it was absolutely amazing to find it hidden up there, hidden in an overgrown wilderness.

Also at the top, I found the ruins of an old hoist house, a boiler stack, and sure enough -- the old Cliff #3 shaft (filled but slowly coming open again as wind, rain, and snow take their toll).

I feel sort of compelled to go back and add something of my own to the tree... maybe a photo of this tree?

Monday, October 27, 2008

After the rain

Looking down Cliff Drive towards Centennial, after a late fall rain.
If you like this photo, you can order a print of it!

Saturdays are my one day off, so I try to make them count. I spent last Saturday enjoying some beautiful new sights up in the Keweenaw. One thing I noticed was this view heading south along Cliff drive -- with the old Centennial #6 headframe in the distance. We had had on-and-off rain all day, and the road was shimmering.

I also wandered around the old Phoenix mine rock pile for a while. There is a lot to see up there, including an nice view from the top of the pile -- and an amazing view from the top of the cliffs! Unfortunately, I tossed most of those photos into the big digital trash can. Perhaps I'll return on snowshoes this winter and try again.

I also visited a remote and (to me at least) unknown rocky bluff -- which I have claimed for my own. More photos from there soon!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Old Boiler

An old ruin made of poor rock, with wispy clouds and a grassy field.
The old Quincy #2/#4 boiler ruins
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Time to get back to the "ruins" part of my blog! This is one of my favorite recent photos -- an old boiler house at Quincy, which once held two boilers for two different hoists. I'm always amazed at how much of the building was destroyed by scrappers -- you wouldn't recognize it in original photos.

I'm also experimenting with frames and text again. Check it out at a larger size to see what I've done -- I think this one turned out pretty well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stupid Internet Tricks

I don't normally post things like this on here, but... here's some website's idea of which "celebrities" I look most like. Who is that on the right, hiding behind Richard Gere? Could it be... David Hilbert, famous mathematician best known for his immensely important list of 23 problems fundamental to mathematics?! Check out his photo in that first link -- very stylish.

I also appreciate that a computer somewhere thinks I look like Janeane Garofalo. Very interesting.

Back to real photos soon! Until then, enjoy this ultra-rare Dave-all-dressed-up photo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Falls

A small waterfall with brown pine needles covering the rocks around it.
Ten-Foot Falls in the Fall
If you're a fan of this photo, you can order a print!

Just a view of a mini-waterfall, in the fall, when the leaves are falling. This one is part of Ten-Foot Falls on the Eagle River, surrounded by pine trees which are oddly shedding their needles right now. (Be sure to click the photo: it improves with larger sizes.)

The leaves are coming down quickly here, and we're moving from "fall" into "not quite winter". I've been collecting rose hips for tea (and possibly jelly or stew), and my housemates have taken to calling me a Ranger (named Strider). Bonus points for the geeks who caught that...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Centennial by Moonlight

A rusted rockhouse with stars in the background.
The Centennial #6 rockhouse in the moonlight.

The night after my moonlight outing to Quincy, I thought I'd keep up the spooky full-moon fun. My stop that night was the old Centennial #6, north of Calumet. The Centennial once had the honor of being the last operating mine in the Keweenaw, but it's long since closed.

In the moonlight, Centennial was just as spooky as Quincy. There are fewer ruins there (almost everything is modern-ish frame buildings), but the area felt very isolated. There was also a screech owl hunting for prey whose call kept echoing across the site.

This photo is one of the few I managed to capture before the moon was totally hidden behind a heavy cloud bank (some clouds are great for dramatic photos, too many just block all the light). I think that the muted colors make it look like an old postcard. If you look close, you can see the stars moving across the sky.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quincy in the Moonlight

The Quincy #2 shaft-rockhouse and its cable stands under a cloudy moonlight sky.
The Quincy #2 shaft-rockhouse under the full moon

This past weekend was the (almost) full moon. So naturally -- I went out taking photos at night! I've done this before, in the winter, and it's amazing. The moon was pretty, but the fast-moving clouds were awesomely dramatic.

Also: Quincy at night is extremely spooky. The ruins lit by the full moon are ghostly enough, not to mention the sound of dripping water in the shafts covered by bat cages. Oh, and the bats. But above all else, the old #5 boiler house has a piece of loose metal which scrapes against other metal beams in the wind. It's about as creepy as you can get when you're out, alone, without any other lights, on a very windy night. I loved it!

Next stop: Centennial!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brilliant Oak

Brilliant red oak leaves against a blue sky.
Oak Leaves on the Q&TL Railroad
Would you like a print of this photo? You can order one!

Not much to say: the colors here are amazing!

In other news, I'm trying to crop my photos to 8x10 size so that I can print them more easily. I recently ordered some 8x10 prints from Adorama which turned out most excellent (especially when they have a sale). The only problem is that photos from my Nikon are not in the right aspect ratio (it's closer to 4x6), so the prints have white strips along two sides. In the future, I'll hopefully be able to avoid that problem.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Glowing grove

Dark trees with long shadows, and bright fall colors in the background.
Fall trees and a pine grove

Here it is again, that old pine grove along the Q&TL railroad. This time of year, the trees are absolutely glowing up there! I just got back from another hike along the old railroad, and I have even more photos of brilliant leaves, lovely trees, and blue skies.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


A yellow ring and supports on top of a chair lift.
In the fall, everything turns colors...

... even the ski lifts! I grabbed this photo at the top of Mont Ripley this past weekend. My parents visited, and I took them along the old Quincy & Torch Lake railroad to the top of the ski hill -- all of it is beautiful in the fall.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wyandotte Pool

Trees reflect in a still pool, with rocks at its border.
A still pool at Wyandotte falls.

I first visited Wyandotte falls back in 2006 during my summer o' waterfalls. The falls are on the Misery river, down near Twin Lakes. At that time, even though it was a warm summer, the river was flowing and the falls were roaring. Unlike some Keweenaw falls I could mention, Wyandotte falls really are falls and not rapids. But, I just revisited the falls a few days ago, and this time -- almost nothing! The falls were a trickle, and the river barely moved. But still water is pretty too, especially with fall reflections in the water!

The woods around Wyandotte falls are some of most alive woods I've ever been in. Even within the Keweenaw, every woods has its own personality. Some (like the pine groves on Quincy hill) feel quiet and calm, with the wind high above. Some (like parts of the Cliffs) seem mixed up and busy -- usually because of recent logging. In the woods at Wyandotte, I had a constant feeling that something was happening. Leaves falling, bushes rustling, water babbling, small animals moving -- it was really a bit unnerving. I've had the same feeling both times I've been there. The forest around there is also fairly old and hasn't been logged any time recently. The old, fallen, mossy trees really add to the atmosphere.