Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


We had the Randel family up this weekend.  It was a warm weekend and icy but they did a great job finding stuff to keep their girls busy.  Ice skating, sledding in Lake Tomahawk at the town park, building a snowman and trying out the pinball game in the office where their high lights.  It was not a perfect weather weekend but the smiles on the girls faces say it all.  Better than staying at home in the brown south.  Life is too short to wait for the perfect conditions to go out and play


There was some ice fishing going on at the lake this weekend.  Warm almost spring temps and the ice fishermen come out.  This group was set up on the sunken island in the middle of the lake.  They were not guests at the resort so I did not get the fishing report from them


We have definitely lost some snow over the week.  You could barely see the boats and raft a week ago.  Hopefully they are covered up by snow again soon and we get back to winter.

Learn a lesson from the Randel family and make the most fun out of what you have to work with and smile.  Life is short


Temps in the upper 30’s and great snow it was time for Troy and I to put our skis on.  So far we have avoided all the rain everyone got to the south.  The snow is still in good shape.  We are going to be warm the next few days.  Hoping the snow pack hangs in there.  I think it will be fine for skiing and ice fishing.  Snowmobiling not so much…  For Troy and I this is our favorite weather to go skiing in


We headed 15 minutes from the resort to the Raven Trail and did the green loop as our first ski of the season we took it easy



The woods full of snow


Our shadow selfie going down the trail


We made it to the shelter.  Quick rest and time to head back


Trail in great shape!


The Trees along the Raven Trail are awesome.  Lots of different forests from cedar to hardwood


Time to get out and enjoy the warmer temps and the snow conditions


We had a bunch of the local foreign exchange students stop by with our boys to play hockey.  We had the countries of France, Norway and Germany represented on the ice.  Most of them had skated but never played hockey before.  Christian from Norway guaranteed me the ice in Norway is slicker than the ice here.


I caught this great sequence of photos as Christian tested out our American ice for the first time


I could not duplicate this picture again if I tried.  It was completely be accident.



We had some melting and freezing and the ice was clear.  Even though it gets different colors in the ice it is all safe


Grant and Christian warming up the ice for everyone else


Game on the face off


Grant snags the puck while Christian recovers from our slippery ice


Game on, all nations on ice!


France has the puck on the side line.


At this point Christian decides it is time to get serious on this slippery American ice


Ben recovers a puck in the snow as Germany breathes down his neck


The Gibson boys defending from the Norwegian onslaught


It went on like this for over an hour.  They came up cold and hungry from the ice.  Happy to experience something they had not even in the wilds of Norway.  We do our best to help with international relations


The spectators to the international hockey game

Our temps are going up this next weekend but we have so far managed to avoid the rain and snow is still in good shape.  This coming weekend might be a great one for warm hockey games on ice and almost spring like skiing at Winter Park.  Troy and I may even break our skis out for an adventure on a ski trail.  We like skiing in the warmer temps.  I still have 6 cabins open starting at 160/night Fri and Sat and 130/night mid week call for details


We had a lot of snow come down last night.  8 plus inches of new snow and more coming as I type.  It is definitely winter in the Northwoods.  We have one cabin left for this weekend if you want to come up to play


Mach objects to Penny hogging the blog yesterday and insisted on being in the pictures today.  The star of the show


Following us down to the beach and wondering where did the skating rink go….


Hinting that he would stay and watch if we both grabbed a snow shovel.  The snow blower sounds better to me


Boats and raft under a fresh coat of snow


When the orange ladder holders disappear we know there is a lot of snow.


Back to plowing and shoveling


Here is Steve’s project for when the snow is all moved.   This is a 1928 Old Town.  It will not be floating in the lake anytime soon.  Steve does have an idea of where it will look great stay tuned


He called in a canoe expert.  Roger Darcy an old colleague of Craig’s.  Roger gave Steve a few ideas on where to start

Back to shoveling snow


The flakes are flying today.  These two flakes were enjoying the 5 – 8 inches of snow we are receiving today.  It is all fun to them.

This will be one of the best weekends to enjoy the winter this weekend.  Give a call if you need to be a flake too in the snow like these two


Other flakes were enjoying the warmer temps and splitting some wood for summer.  Splitting wood in the falling snow is fine.  Splitting wood in the cold from last week is not so fun.  The warmer temps and the fresh snow are a nice combination


It is starting to pile up on the old boat shed.  Notice there is not a red Old Town Canoe on top of the green boats.  Steve has taken it out for a special project.  The Old Town has been sitting in the shed for about 30 years.  It is not going in the lake but has another special spot picked out for it.  These 4 green old green row boats are some of the last old wood boats we have.  We will come up with a use for them at some point.  A couple of them are old Thompson Boats and one is a Rhinelander


it is pretty out in the new snow


The bitterly cold temps have gone away for now and it is time to get some wood cut.  The woodshed is almost empty on one side.  Steve eyed up this oak to drop almost on top of the wood pile to start out the cutting and chopping


The axe is ready


And the wood splitter is warmed up.  I meant to catch Ben and Troy in action but apprently it was break time


Other things going on there was much discussion at the kitchen table and a map was pulled out.  Nothing gets Steve excited more than walking through the woods planning trails.  I was hearing comments about wood being put down across swampy sections of the trail to open up more beautiful sections of hiking trails on our 80 acres


This all makes sense to Steve and Troy.  I was hearing of the red trail having a cut across to loop back to the blue trail over some planks put across swampy areas.  Interestingly Steve was finding in the woods old areas that they backed a train track up into in order to log the land back in the very early 1900’s.  We have found spurs like this before and now are going to be clearing out some more of them for use.


The Olenchek crew was up skiing for their usual visit to Birchwood.  They have been doing this for over 20 years at the resort.  Back when they started our TV’s were small and they brought a projector with to watch movies at night on the wall creating their own movie screen.  Now technology and TV’s are bigger but they still happily set up their projector


The best way to watch TV.  Not sure how old this projector is and the gas are not saying


Despite the cold everyone enjoyed the snow this weekend.  We have not received any of the rain that other areas got last week.  It has been adding up


Here is the snowmobile trail headed to Minocqua.  It is in good shape.  It could always use more snow and it looks like there is more in the forecast for this week.  We have 3 cabins left this weekend.  Call for details

We have had several summer cancelations.  I have our list up to date at click on right side an go to summer.  I keep the openings up to date there and on our Facebook Page.  Right now both are being updated almost daily with the changes in the summer reservations.  Summer deposits for returning guests are due January 20th so there is a lot of moving around on the cabins right now as folks finalize their plans for summer


Steve has been working in Craig’s basement on some signs and stumbled across this interesting piece of history.  The Keith’s who built the resort in 1918 and sold it to Maynard in 1946 made this great paper.  They were commenorating the building of the Barbecue Pit that is still in the front yard today.  I had not seen this and we will be framing it and hanging it in our office area


I love the description of the characters.  I did meet Gilbert Keith years ago


Steve thinks there are relatives of Paul Sweringen still in the area.

I love the fact that resort dogs where in charge even back then.  There have been quite a line of dogs at the Cliff

Hope you enjoyed this little piece of history and it will be hanging in the office to check out.  We have been talking about repairing that old grill maybe it will be a summer 2018 project stay tuned


It was a cold sunrise this morning of 0 degrees.  I took this picture through my warm window.  Staying inside today where it is warm with a fire


We always get asked what is a good fish fry?  We usually not get out much on Fridays as we usually have check ins or check outs we are waiting on.  We did sneak out this week and went to the Pub just 10 minutes from the resort and were pleasantly surprised at the upgrades on the menu


Troy and I do not care for deep fried fish and are always searching for good baked fish which the Pub has added to their menu.  Yeah!


It was delicious and I highly recommend it

We have also been down to the Pub for their pizza which was also wonderful.  They have room for big groups that is nice.

So if you have not been to the Pub recently you might want to stop in


We also took a drive out to Winter Park and caught some great action on the skating rink.  Their rink is free to use and they also have skates to borrow.  We have some in our office as well to borrow if you need some


They keep their rink in good shape with flooding and it goes in a circle which is fun.

Great reason to come up to the resort.  Winter Park with all its things to do has really become a great winter place to experience

Some of the best skiing in the mid west, snowshoe trails, ice skating and tubing have a little something for everyone


Everyone was headed to the lake for New Years Eve.  The temps were nice and the ice is awesome!


The Volbrect Family was having a great time on the ice rink playing hockey


Thanks to them for getting their boys to pause long enough to take a quick picture


The ice was nice enough they could skate all the way out to see what was being caught at the tip ups by the guys.  They were pulling a perch out of the hole just as I stopped by


There will be a fish fry going on with their family


Skating and ice fishing this family could not be happier!


Our group from Shamrock was headed down to have their own fun on the ice.  They all borrowed skates from our skating box in the community room.

Happy New Years to all!


We did get some rain Christmas weekend but not as much as to the south.  Our snow pack is holding up and now it is cold again


Rain was a good thing for the ice rink.  It is in good shape just needs to be brushed off


Even Mack was out on the lake and when he is you know it is safe


Tracks are always interesting on the lake in the ice



Snow shoe trail across from the resort is a great spot to enjoy the woods and cold

We still have a few openings give a call through this weekend