Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

The projects, chores, and life of a family-owned, Northern Wisconsin resort.


Mack would like to report that there is still a lot of ice on the lake.  Enough that even a chicken like him feels comfortable to go out on the lake



The maple trees are waking up though so that is a good sign of spring.  They have been flowing slowly so far


Filtering the maple sap the filter gets frozen up this early in the spring and has to wait for a thaw

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We have been working away on the sock machine to hook this peddle up to it.  Stay tuned I hope this weekend to have the sock machine peddling instead of hand powered

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We will continue to melt snow

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and time to work on the wood pile when the snow melts


There is snow still a foot deep and the ice is still on the lake.  In March taking pictures of snow is not exciting

Instead we have taken time to do some fun things in the northwoods

Our first stop was an escape room in Eagle River.  Google Northwoods Escape Room to check them out.  They have 3 different rooms where you spend an hour trying to figure out how to get out of the room.  We tried out their new mafia room


Here is part of the room just to give you an idea of what it looks like.  With 12 minutes to spare we made it out


We had a motley crew.  The teenagers have done about 12 of these rooms in the last 3 months.  Troy and I were in our first room.  The teens definitely had an advantage knowing what to look for.  


Ben is in his 2nd year as an accounting major and was determined to bring his parents out of the dark ages with an Excel program to do the resort books on.  He set the columns up has done his tutorial with both of his parents.  We shall see if we remember everything when he goes back to school.  The resort reservation books though are safe and in pencil and paper on the usual graph paper.  No Excel for those books yet.


During break we also got to see Ben curl on the Saint Norbert Curling team at Nationals in Eau Claire.  They beat out MIT and Harvard but ran up against Yale who took them out of the national tournament.  I think I finally understand the scoring of curling


The sock machine is going through a change.  Cranking out 600 pair of socks with my arm a year is getting my arm a little tired.  I am experimenting with getting it peddling.  Stay tuned to see if we get it going.  So far we have repurposed a little kids bike for the process and a coupling


Work is also progressing at the woodshed.  Troy, Steve and the boys are working their way through the pile of wood that has accumulated at the woodshed since last fall.  This is the only outside picture I have until more snow melts

Maple trees should be flowing fast this week with the warmer temps.  We have cabins open every weekend now in March and April starting at 135/night.  Summer openings are dwindling but we do have some June openings on a few prime cabins that are listed on the main website click on summer on the right side for the list

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I stopped by to see the catch for three days of fishing with Zwig Family.  Our fish house is closed in the winter so fishermen always have to get a little creative on how to clean fish outside.  I joked with them that you might be a red neck if….. you clean fish on the back of your tailgate.


Over three days the 5 of them had accumulated a nice catch of fish


They had a couple of nice perch in the bucket

Fish fry was their goal

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We headed off Saturday for a good dinner at Bad Bones BBQ

If you have a craving for BBQ they never disappoint.  They are up by 70 East, on the north end of Woodruff


Besides BBQ they also make amazing pizzas.  Jake’s buddy Jack who was his best man in his wedding slings the dough at the restaurant

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Don’t blink Jack!


They have quite a menu 


They are also right on the lake and the view is amazing.  In the summer you can sit outside as well as the indoor dinning.  Take a stop in to Bad Bones when in the area next time.  You will not be disappointed 

This weekend March 10th we actually have Birchwood open which does not happen often as well as Wildflower and a few bigger cabins if you need to escape to the woods.  Cabins start at 135/night for Wildflower and 155/night for Birchwood.  Norway 190/night, Holiday 225/night and Bear Den 265/night









Katie and I grabbed our dogs and headed to Winter Park to cheer in Steve and Penny in Skijoring this weekend.  Mack and Macy were cheerleading for Penny


Steve and Penny ready to rumble.  They had some stiff competition

Steve has a harness for Penny but prefers to ski with a leash instead of attaching to his waist.  He also skis with no poles


There were a few very serious teams and Steve and Penny were in their first race ever.  


These dogs definitely had some power


Everyone had their won style


Some were in a duo team and were ready to rumble


Some where interested in a more relaxed race


Dogs of every color and size


Yes every size


Beautiful Sheppard


This was the crowd favorite.  Yes they are both blinged out in flowers.  They get award for best dressed


Time for our favorite!  Steve and Penny


What form!  Off they go


The number one team.  They were flying back to the finish line


I think this dog was a little tired coming in and abruptly started eating snow when they went over the finish line


They finished their first race!


It was definitely a fun race to watch.   So many dogs and so much fun


Steve and Penny have been skiing every morning while the snow is crisp.  They have been burning up the trails and lakes.  They are training for the skijoring race this Sunday at Winter Park where Penny will show off that terriers can do this as well as any husky

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Along the say they meet up with some interesting characters half clothed on the trail.  Doesn’t everyone get a suntan in the middle of a ski trail half clothed

Want your own interesting Northwoods adventure to seek out the half clothed guy in the woods we have cabins open this weekend and spring rates are in effect

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It is also tree tapping weather.  Time to tap the trees for maple syrup

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Troy and I trudged through he woods tapping 40 trees.  We did not run into any half naked guys in the woods on the way


Troy is just finishing work on a project we have been working on.  He is making a homemade family game that we will have for sale in the gift shop this summer

Start gathering your pennies it is a great family game for everyone to play.  We will have a same game for everyone to try out at the shop.  So don’t forget your pile of pennies when you come.  

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The Cikowski Crew shared a few of their fishing pics from this weekend.  This 30 inch Northern was released back into the lake


Lots of pan fish this weekend

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Off on the blue trail snow shoeing with Mack down the trail


Snow shoes on and fresh powder

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Off we go Mack wait 


Mack waits for no one

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deer tracks in the snow

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Interesting tracks in the snow.  Something was bounding through the snow

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We made it to the top of the big hill on the blue trail


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The views down the trail where amazing.  Make sure on your next trip to the resort regardless of the season you take a trip down some of our trails

Spring rates start this week up to Memorial Weekend cabins start at 135/night all week long

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The Cikowski Crew is up this week ice fishing on the lake.  Mack and I wandered out to see how they were doing

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Fritz, Tommy and Jimmy greeted their buddy Mack

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Mack is always happy to see what is in Fritz’s pocket


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Fritz has his spot on the ice all figured out.  He used to just sit on a bucket but now has upgraded his seating


The bucket is now his end table


It was a beautiful day to be out on the ice


Mack went for a roll in the fresh snow

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Boats buried under the snow


The raft is somewhere under all that snow

3 – 5 inches of snow coming yet on Saturday.  


It was a beautiful weekend in the northwoods.  We did not get the rain that everyone got to the south and picked up a few inches of snow


Guests were doing everything from ice fishing, snowmobiling and skiing.  The conditions are still good and we have 4 cabins open


We had a busy weekend with our youngest son Grant.   He swam in Madison at the state division 2 swim meet.  He finished on the podium 3 times with a 2 nd in the 100 free (above), 8th in 50 free, and 2 and 3 in the 200 and 400 free relays.  He broke 4 school records with his swims.  10 years of practicing, many swims across the lake led to this.  Now we wait to see where he will be swimming in college


We had a big cheering section for him in Madison.  

Now we are just glad to be home but will miss the high school meets.   It was an exciting time for our family


Anne who delivers eggs and pork products to the resort for guests to buy is putting out a call for egg cartons.  If you are headed up and have some at home bring them along.   She appreciates it.  We also recycle the cartons from the eggs bought at the resort so don’t throw them away


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Steve and Penny went on a skijoring adventure across Lake Tomahawk and through the channel to Lake Katherine

Penny was trying out a new harness that she puts on to pull with Steve skiing behind her.  She loves to go 

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Hey Steve like my new harness lets go

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off they go




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I put video of their adventure down the channel on Black’s Cliff Facebook page if you want to see them in action

One cabin left this weekend Birchwood if anyone needs an escape give a call