Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

One of my favorite activities
when I visit Copper Harbor
and the Keweenaw Peninsula
is to watch the sky.

Clear Nights reveal a Milky Way carpet.

Sometimes we are favored with a display
of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).

Often we are reminded of the power and majesty of Mother Nature.

Surrounded by forests, mountains and Lake Superior
I’m always left with a feeling of awe.


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Decidufir - A new species of tree

Decidufir Tree

We thought we had discovered a new species of tree when we came upon our first decidufir tree.

Do you see that the tree is roughly …

half conifer (a tree with needles rather than leaves)

and deciduous (a trees that loses its leaves each year)?

Can you imagine the possibilities presented by a tree that can do well in all seasons?

Considering how difficult it can be to survive in an area where the average snowfall is well over 200 inches. It could be very important.

This one is located near Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula on the north side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Initially, we couldn’t find people who could tell us about the tree.  Either the people we asked about the decidufir knew nothing about it or they were unwilling to share what they knew.

Later, though, we picked up hints that locals have known about the tree for a long time.  It may have even been important to Native Americans for both medicinal and mystical reasons.  Some people feel it is a harbinger of climate change … telling us that winters may become more cold & snowy, while summers turn more hot and dry.

Who knows?  Do you?

We hope to explore this further, when we return to the area this summer.

Do you know about the Decidufir Tree?

Please share with us.

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Preparation Meets Opportunity Brewing Up Something Special

Brickside Brewery – Grand Opening – August 18, 2012

The idea for a brewery in Copper Harbor got its start almost eight years ago, and the brewery’s founder wasn’t drinking beer at that time.

The way I hear it … Brickside Brewery resulted from a Christmas present that sat in storage for almost a year.

The Brickside’s founder, Jason, and his wife, received a starter brewing kit as a gift from a sister-in-law.  As the Holidays approched the following year, Jason decided to brew up a batch.

As Jason says, “almost everyone who brews a few batches of beer daydreams … Wouldn’t it be great to start a brewing business!”

His opportunity arose when a building in Copper Harbor changed hands and became available.

I will tell more of the business development story in a future blog posting.

For now … Think about enjoying a Brickside Brew. Brewing began in June. The Grand Opening Celebration is this upcoming weekend.

When you visit Brickside Brewery, you will find the menu and catalog right behind the bar.

Uncertain?  Try a sampler.  A good taste of four different brews.

Brickside Brewery on tap in Copper Harbor

A Weiss Bier homage to Grandpa.

Consider buying a Brickside T-shirt

Brickside Brewery

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The Sky is Fabulous

One of the greatest treats for us … when visiting Copper Harbor … is the sky.

Copper Harbor Sunrise

Copper Harbor Sunrise

Sunrise is often spectacular.

On a calm morning sunrise over Copper Harbor often looks like the scene above.

Copper Harbor at Dusk

Copper Harbor at Dusk

Dusk seems to use a very different filter.

Stragglers participating in a Keweenaw Adventure kayak tour are shown returning to shore in the photo above.

Copper Harbor Sunset

Copper Harbor Sunset

Sunset fires up more colors.

Only 20 minutes later, Mother Nature uses another set of color filters when the sun drops below the horizon.

Some very special visual magic begins once the sky grows dark.

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Over Lake Superior Observed from Copper Harbor, Michigan

Northern Lights Over Copper Harbor & Lake Superior

Northern Lights are a Very Special Treat

Mid-week, during a very special time between dusk & moonrise, we enjoyed more than an hour watching the darkening sky become populated with planets and stars.  Constellations were clearly identifiable. Meteorites flared and disappeared. When I pointed out the first meteorite, my wife admonished me that they should be called falling stars … otherwise your wishes couldn’t come true.

We watched nearly a dozen satellites trace their way across the sky. Many seemed to be following a path through the Milky Way.

The greatest visual treat for us that night was watching the Aurora Borealis. It wasn’t a spectacular show. To us, it initially looked mostly like city lights casting a pale light in the sky. As we watched, the lights created shapes that seemed to reach toward the zenith above us … resolving into a gauze curtain waving in the breeze. Then … it disappeared.

We looked more to the east to watch the Copper Harbor Lighthouse flash white-and-green a few times.  Next time we looked northwest, the Northern Lights were back.

In the twenty years we have been visiting the Keweenaw Peninsula we have had the pleasure of watching the Northern Lights three times. The summer of the most brilliant light show in Copper Harbor, we were amazed by a preview as we were leaving the Chicago area. We had prepared so well the night before that we were able to begin our 500-mile drive well before sunup.

The picture above offers a color display that is enhanced by the 60-second exposure setting. The orange along the horizon is the residual light from the sun which was well below the horizon. What we saw as a white gauze shows up more as the green that is typical of the Aurora one might see in winter.

Again …

To see pictures of Copper Harbor area you can visit my Walking Keweenaw photo web gallery.

You will find information about Copper Harbor, Michigan, using these links:

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