Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sarah at the Cliffs

Sarah, wrapped up for the cold, with pines in the background.
Sarah enjoying a snowshoe in the cliffs.

The lovely Sarah -- who you may have heard of -- went snowshoeing with me, up to the cliffs, a few weekends ago. We had a lovely time, especially when I discovered how much she likes to stand under big pine trees and shake them until all the snow falls down on her!

Here she is, just after one of those silly tree-shakings, as lovely as ever!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For Sale

A for sale sign stuck in a huge pile of wrecked timber.
Property for sale in Centennial Heights -- cheap!

This lovely sign is exactly what it looks like: a "For Sale" sign stuck in the middle of the utterly collapsed wreckage of a house. I'm not exactly sure what is for sale -- the timber? All of the junk? The entire lot? If you're interested, head up to Centennial Heights for a look!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Interesting... very interesting...

This slow cooker has personality! It made a yummy turkey, however, so I can't complain.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Orange! Blue!

A bright orange snow fence, with shadows, snow, and blue sky behind it.
Snow fence, snow, and sky.

Snow fences are always a surprisingly bright and cheery part of winter around here. This one is near one of the entrances to the Tech Trails, cheerily guarding us from blowing snow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Respect the Past: Advice for Explorers

A sign saying to respect the past, with an old mine water tower in the background.
Good advice.

It's a joke that we often make about hiking in the Upper Peninsula: "It just isn't a hike until you've seen a major kitchen appliance." Sadly, it's also very true. Even in the middle of (what feels like) nowhere, miles from the nearest town or even a house, any deep ravine will inevitably contain a rusty refrigerator, a broken-down sofa, or maybe a toilet.

In the last year or so, new signs like this one have popped up all over the Quincy Mine lands, reminding people to respect these ruins. I like the signs quite a bit, because they make it clear that we (as visitors) are still welcome to explore the ruins -- just don't be stupid about it!

To that end, here is some advice -- both positive and negative -- for explorers (especially in the Copper Country).

  • Never leave any garbage -- large or small -- behind. Even pack your meal garbage (wrappers, left-over food, etc.) so that animals don't get hooked on "human food".
  • When exploring ruins, never deliberately move, remove, or modify any part of the ruins. That includes removing artifacts (metal, tools, etc.), moving masonry or stonework, taking souvenirs, etc. It also means don't stand or climb on anything which may break!
  • Don't put graffiti on anything! -- duh!
  • Do report obvious damage or intentional destruction to someone appropriate -- the property owner, or sheriff's office, usually.
  • Do respect signs, especially "No Trespassing". If you contact the property owner directly and explain your intentions, you can get permission (and avoid problems!).
  • Have fun! Exploring and discovering new places is still tremendous fun, without the need for scavenging or looting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Diagonal lines in two gears, sitting atop of each other
Abandoned machinery at the Centennial #3

These gears (or grinders, perhaps?) lie abandoned behind the Centennial #3 rockhouse. There's a lot of machinery there -- so of it quite large. I suspect that it may have been related to milling the rock which came out of the mine, when the Homestake Mining Company reopened it (briefly) in the 1970s. Now, it's abandoned and decaying, not even protected from the elements.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snowy Apples

Apples hanging on a tree, with a cap of ice and snow.
Still hanging on...

This was a great year for apples. Every tree I found was practically killing itself under the weight of its fruit, and many trees still have apples barely hanging on.

This photo comes from the yards of an old farmhouse, squeezed between two long-abandoned railroads. Its fields are slowly filling in with apples and ash trees, as the first real snow of the year finally falls!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


A black crack running through orange-lichened cement.
Time and lichen vs. cement: who will win?

This crack appears in a large slab of cement on the shores of Seneca Lake -- once used for water by the old Seneca Mine up in Keweenaw County. The cement slab looks like the roof to a small building, but the huge roof has long since crushed the building under it, and now it lies on the ground. Time, lichen, and weather have taken their toll, and this crack is the result.