Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

Warm Up

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We had warm temps the last few days and the maple trees have started flowing.  I took this picture before the rain on Monday.  We have lost lots of snow but have a major snow storm coming with 9 inches to a foot on Thursday into Friday so winter is not over yet.  The maple trees are waking up but are not doing huge sap runs yet.  We tapped 40 trees around the resort on Sunday


Hunting through the woods for which trees to tap.  Tapping an oak is the most embarrassing thing you can do with tapping trees


Tapping the last one before sunset on Sunday


While we were tapping we had folks enjoying the first campfire in the pit by the playground.  Snow shovels make great fire fanners


Ice fishing Monday morning.   As of Tuesday afternoon the ice report on the lake was 12 inches of ice.  Still safe for walking on but not for ATV’s


Earlier in the weekend we took the trip to Madison to see Grant swim in 3 relays and 100 freestyle in the state meet for division 2.   He is 2nd from the bottom in the black suit.  It was great to see him swim and to get out of the Northwoods for a day but happy to head back to winter from the brown south.

Hopefully we have a couple more weekends of winter in the Northwoods



We have stayed cold enough to keep our snow and the lake is safely frozen for now.  We are headed up to 40’s for the next few days starting tomorrow.  Hopefully we hold on to enough snow for folks to play in after that as it seems winter is not done looking at the forecast for last week of February and first part of March


We had this very interesting letter from Clifton and Lulu Keith from the 20’s forwarded to us through a guest from an antique dealer.  It is I think what was used as a brochure in the 20’s to describe the resort and the area.  Some of the descriptions are hilarious.  They did not include silverware with the cabins.  Folks were supposed to bring this up with them on the train or car from Chicago?  The garages they are talking about are our boat and wood sheds today.  They were built to fit a model T car into them.


This part of the letter I like the description of the farmers cows being certified at the store where you can get milk


Top left is the blue print for the newly built Bayview, Wildflower and Restawhile, top right is the original much smaller Birchwood, bottom left is Kaubashine with its 2nd porch which was enclosed later to become a bedroom, bottom right is Muskie and our house formerly known as Chipmunk

It was a fun find.  We are framing this sheet and will have it on display along with a few other remnants of the Keith days from 1918 – 1946 that we have collected

I also forwarded a copy of this to Clifton and Lulu’s grandchildren who I am in contact with on Facebook.  They loved seeing the old piece of history and follow along on the blog seeing the place their grandfather built still around and in business

We have one cabin left this weekend.  I will be updating snow conditions over the weekend.  If you are in Madison Friday night keep and eye out for our son Grant at the state swim meet where we will be while Steve and Craig keep the resort running while we watch him swim


It was a beautiful weekend in the Northwoods.  Blue skies and great snow.  Everyone was playing in the snow


There was much joy in the discovery of the dog park by PackMan he was jumping for joy


We were jumping for joy this weekend too as our son Grant qualified for the state swim meet in Madison next Friday winning 100 Free style and three relays.  Two school records set and 4 events going to state way to go Grant and the Lakeland Swim Team


Much celebration in the pool as the team discovers that they also won the sectional meet.  Had to throw the coach in the water along with everyone else.  We are headed to Madison next Friday with the team and Steve will be home running the resort for Friday.


Enjoying the warmer rays of mid February in the Northwoods

We have 2 cabins left for next weekend.  Give a call if interested 715 356 3018

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I took a drive out to Winter Park this week.  Because of new snow fall  I took the plow truck.  Camp 9 road can be an adventure in driving I have learned the hard way that involved a tow truck.  1/2 of the road to Winter Park the town plows sparingly as it is the snowmobile trail as well as road.  Dodging snowmobiles along the way and looking out for skiers is a must along this windy road to Winter Park


You know you are getting close to the park when you see ski crossing signs


One of the newest additions to the park in the last couple of years has been snowshoe trails.  Trails dedicated to just snow shoes.  It is a beautiful trail but I did not have time for a snowshoe.  Had to get back to the resort


Back at the resort the guys have been busy cutting into the pile of wood.  Steve has a mission and it is one big pile that must be destroyed


Because the right side of the shed that is dry is getting thin


Next summer’s wood supply drying through the winter


We had light snow coming down all day through the pines


The door is open if you find yourself in the Northwoods.  We have 2 cabins left this weekend.  I just updated summer openings on the website look on right side and go to summer 2017 link



We have had fresh snow added to what we already had on the ground.  It makes for some great time to enjoy the snow.  Mack was playing king of the snow pile


We had ice fishermen up this last weekend.  They shared their perch catch picture with me.  They reported also catching a nice northern but no picture of that.  It is the winter of Perch fishing


After 7 years with the same Mac Book, I am spending the week migrating one mac to the other and getting used to the new mac.  So far so good.


Steve has been busy creating canoe parts from scratch for the 1928 canoe he is working on.  You can’t just go out and buy parts for it.  He has to create them

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Katie, my sister, has spend the winter working on her art.  She has created some new pieces for sale.  They are smaller than her other paintings.  They are one foot by one foot.  If you are interested in contacting Katie about buying them email me at and I will put you in touch with her.  They are 75 dollars each


She also did this amazing dragon fly painting


This one can be hung as a square or diamond

Katie also takes commissions if you are looking for a different animal or insect.  She is an amazing artist.  She painted the loon disc hat is hung above my office building.


We held on to our snow and are slowly building it back up with snow here and there.  Looks like some fun weeks of snow play ahead


Our skating rink has just about recovered from the warmer temps.  The top melted and right now has refrozen.  We were giving letting it sit over the week letting the surface ice completely freeze before clearing it off for more skating fun


We have several ice fishermen up this weekend.  Waiting for their fishing reports and pictures later in the weekend


Meanwhile it is a nice 20 degrees and time to cut up some wood.  Nice temps for working outside


But there are some who are only interested in playing.  Throw my ball please

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The Tungett sisters, Eleanor and Linda at the horse shoe tournament this summer in honor of their Dad, Roy.  The Tungetts are one of our many families that date back over generations spending 50 plus years at the resort.  Linda sent me some fun pictures from the summer of 1963


Linda and little Eleanor swimming in Lower Kaubashine.  They have not changed at all


The beach as Linda remembers it from her childhood.  The dock has changed to an L and the diving platform is not on the raft but not much else has changed.  That is why they like it.  No surprises, they know what they like and return every year to what they love and what has been a part of their family as long as they remember.  Summers on Lower Kaubashine sitting on the dock


Big brother Dave with Eleanor and Linda.  I am assuming Wildflower is in the back ground but not positive


The horse swings that today are enjoyed by their grandchildren with smiles to match Eleanor’s


Marilyn their mom soaking up the rays on a warm afternoon


Eleanore sitting by the crappies her dad, Roy caught.  Never a summer without crappies from Lower Kaubashine

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See you and the Tungett sisters and brother Mike back at the lake this summer in your happy place.

Times change and so do we but the feeling you get in this spot is what gets you through the other 50 weeks of the year till you are back at the lake with family and friends


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