Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

Browsing Posts published by Jennifer Gibson

What to do in the cold?  Get the axe out, put the wool mittens and warm yourself twice.

Pile growing

Pile growing

After depleting the woodshed the last month, the guys thought it was time to add to the pile

The boss stopping in to give his 2 sense

The boss stopping in to give his 2 sense

Craig stopped in with his new eagle eye to give his opinion before going back to his woodstove.

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Cold morning wake up

Cold morning wake up

Temps this morning at 7:30.  I hear it is going to get much colder and have even heard -25 Thursday night and that is without the windchill

View out the window this morning

View out the window this morning

When you get sunrise pics and views off the deck, it means there was nothing going on yesterday and I am searching for blog pics for those that need to escape to the woods for 5 minutes

Light snow came down last night

Light snow came down last night

About 2 inches came down last night enough to make the drive home on 51 a challenge.

Steve is coming by today so I will have to see what interesting projects they find to do at -1 to put on the blog tomorrow.  Then again there is a 2,000 piece ocean puzzle out on the table that makes a cold day go by quickly

Very Frozen Lake Superior

Very Frozen Lake Superior

We headed up to Washburn this weekend along Lake Superior, where some coach decided it was a good idea to sign up for a basketball tournament in January.  Grumble Grumble…..  The sights along the way made up for a early morning drive.  I took this picture just outside of Ashland, Washburn is on the far shoreline.  I did not see any cars out on the big lake but lots of snowmobiles

Artesian Spring

Artesian Spring

During a break in the Basketball action, we wandered around Washburn which has some very interesting history.  We headed out on a Geocache adventure to find this Artesian Spring.  Did not bring the water jugs to fill, but we did taste the water and it was as cold as it looks.

Where do the trails lead?

Where do the trails lead?

Where does this trail on Lake Superior lead?  I don’t know and happily stayed in the warm car.  I do know I would not be the first one to blaze the trail.  We hope to return to this area a little later when the ice caves are accessible.  Basketball ended up in 4th place out of 8 and got to play a team from Duluth that I am sure were recruits from the NBA….

New Trail Groomer

New Trail Groomer

Cross County Cruisers just purchased a new groomer for the snowmobile trails.  I figured there were a few nonsnowmobilers out there that just might wonder what a trail groomer looks like

John the Groomer Guy, Aka Steve's neighbor by Life Spring

John the Groomer Guy, aka Steve's neighbor John the hardware guy

With a hot coffee from Steve, John was hopping to pull out the new groomer and show it off.

At a cost of 165,000 dollars this moving marvel heads down the Bear Skin at a whopping 6 – 11 miles an hour tops.  It knocks down all the bumps making the trail smooth.  Going from one end to the other of the Bearskin takes 8 hours of volunteer time.   John says the only scary moments are going over the bridges where there is no room for error.  Snowmobiles no better than to try to pass the groomer and patiently wait for him to pull over

OUT OF MY WAY

OUT OF MY WAY

The feel of power and heading towards Hwy 51.  John quickly pulled the plug on the fun

Not sure what this backend is called.  I do know Maynard used to do the same thing with our driveway dragging an old bed frame around knocking down the pot holes with the truck for less than 165,000 but John’s Groomer has heat, shocks and looks like fun to drive

Ever heard the country song International Harvester?  I think it could be John’s theme song with a few word changes from hauling and cutting hay to plowing snow.  Just wave at the man up in the tractor

Poe and I had a few minutes to kill and a camera so off we went to see what we could see around the resort.  Started out by Shamrock where the squirrels have several winter burrows.

Deserted resort and light snow falling, eerily quiet.  We started to keep an eye on the tracks in the snow.  My guess is the bunny under the boat shed made these.  Poe showed no interest

Squirrel tracks were much more interesting to Poe.  Watching the tracks you could tell there was quite a chase going on of one squirrel after another up the tree

View of the woods acorss the road.  Insert sound of light snow falling

View of the woods acorss the road. Insert sound of light snow falling

What could make this track

What could make this track

Looks like the track of Big Foot and all I am armed with is a camera…..

Yeah Big Foot........

Yeah Big Foot........

Big Foot with a fluffy tail who likes to bark especially at the City Cleaners and UPS Drivers

Are we done yet?

Are we done yet?

Ok I posed for the Blog…. I even tried to be Big Foot what more do I have to do to go in by the fire

Cold Morning

Cold Morning

Temps went subzero last night and it was hard to head out the door this morning.  All the smoke stacks were chugging out smoke this morning.

View at the Elementary School

View at the Elementary School

How do you know it is winter and the trails are in good shape?  Check out the parking lot at the K – 8 elementary school to see if they kids are snowmobiilng to school.  There are about a dozen or so kids and a couple of teachers that snowmobile everyday to school.  Beats a yellow school bus any day of the week.

Cold view off the hill at sunrise between Norway and Holiday

Cold view off the hill at sunrise between Norway and Holiday

Why no picture down at the lake of sunrise, because this is the view from my car with the heater running on my feet.  I will do a lot for a Blog picture but walking down to the lake at minus degrees is not one of them

Another view from the car

Another view from the car

Now on to the January News.  All the spring, summer and fall confirmation letters went out in the mail yesterday along with the January News letter.  Since there is a pretty big annoucement in the newsletter I thought I would share it with blog watchers so they are up on the big news.  There is one paragraph missing but you will have to wait for the letter for that info in your mail box, there is a reason for this and you will have to ask Craig why there is a good story behind it

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Happy New Year from the Northwoods

Wow what a year we have all been through. It is nice to start thinking of summer and the things that don’t change in this crazy world, slamming of screen doors, soaking up the rays at the beach, hours spent on the lake searching for the perfect fishing hole, swing on a swinging bed with a good book and time spent with family around a campfire. 2008 brought so many worries, financial stress and changes someone told me, time spent at Black’s Cliff is the one constant that they rely on in their lives as families have done for over 90 years.

We have gone through our own good and painful changes ourselves. In the hope that families that have come for generations or only for a few years will be able to come to the resort this year, we have decided to join the world in tightening our belts and have not raised our rates. It was a tough decision for us as not all our expenses have frozen, but we felt it was right. We hope this makes it a little easier for families afford their escape from the crazy world we live in.

One of the biggest changes in the resort happened behind the scenes in 2008. Craig and Lynnette wanting to have the resort continue in the tradition it has as a family run business all in one piece have handed down ownership of the resort to Jenny, Katie and Steve. Most resorts like ours have cashed in and disappeared to condo ownership. We are happy to announce that the resort has now passed to the next generation of Blacks who will continue to keep the wood chopped and fires burning. Most will not notice any changes, but Craig and Lynnette will now happily leave the 2 am septic calls to the new owners. Don’t call Katie for septics but it is now up to the next generation to keep going what the Keith’s started in 1918, Millie and Maynard Black bought in 1946, sold to their son Craig Black in 1972 and has now passed to Jenny, Katie and Steve and their families.

The next big change, started last fall and will continue over 5 years. Craig’s favorite rolled roofing that covers every roof in the resort has gone through such a reduction in quality that Craig, Steve and Troy have decided it is time to put the tar bucket away and try shingles. Bear Den was the first roof to change last spring and Red Pine’s roof is sitting waiting to be put on next spring. The main house and Kaubashine will hopefully be shingled by late spring or summer. The expense of doing the entire resort at one time was not a option so we will be picking off the roofs as needed the possibility of having a cabin with half shingles and half rolled roofing is very high. That is what we call part of the charm of coming up North, if it was perfect like the Hilton what would we have to talk about.

In mid July one of the nicest additions to the resort was added between Muskie and Birchwood. The Schmelzer family asked to build something in honor of Jack Schmelzer, who passed away last year. After putting our heads together and consulting The Great Architect, Craig, a design was decided on for a landing at the top of the hill with a wonderful view of the lake that I know Jack would have loved. Char and the entire resort that week spent a wonderful evening toasting Jack on Jack’s Landing. When you come to the resort take a moment to enjoy the view that Jack would have been honored to share with everyone. Thanks to Char, Ken, Karey, Jimmy, Danny, Anne, Bill, Sam and Katie for all their hard work during their vacation to make Jack’s Landing possible

Lots of time was put into a few other projects. Jenny’s landscaping project continued all summer right up to the first freeze planting new trees, ferns and adding new trails. The goal of this project is help bring back the quality of soil around the resort, control erosion and keep Jenny’s out of trouble. Craig and Troy spent a week in December installing a new energy efficient window in Birchwood’s lakeside bedroom. Guests in Birchwood will enjoy the better view and airier feel to the room. A couple of afternoons were spent taking down mature trees around the resort. I will not mention the cabins hit in the process and please do not ask.

As 2009 rounds the corner we hope that Black’s Cliff will remain the constant in your life that makes the time spent away from the resort and the Northwoods worthwhile.

Jenny, Troy, Jake, Ben and Grant

Katie, Bryon, Conner, Max and Sam

Steven and Jen

Craig and Lynnette

Front Slope

Front Slope

We took some time this weekend to head over to Camp 10 downhill ski area about 40 minutes from the resort between Rhinelander and Tomahawk.  I had heard of this for years but never done it.  Most folks head up to Ironwood and Hurley for down hill a little over and hour away. Camp 10 in smaller with 2, TBars, chair lift and towrope on the bunny hill.  For a family just starting out who does not need to loose kids all over a hill and wants a economic way of going skiing this was perfect.  It was only 27.50 for adults and 18 for rentals (kids were cheaper but I can’t remember the price).  Up North it is 41 a day and I think 28 for rentals for adults.  It was also a much closer drive.  It is not Colorado, but with 3 kids just learning it was enough to have them asking to go back on Sunday

TBar

TBar

They have a chair lift but parts of the hill and only accessible by the old fashioned Tbar.  If you have never done a Tbar it is an adventure in skiing.  This is the easy way to go up, with someone your same size.  Try and tall and short person and it gets very entertaining.  Cheap and close family entertainment.

We have another little bigger hill about an hour away called Ski Bruel that is also priced less than the hills up north and fun for a family.  For skiers that want variety and bigger hills and don’t mind the extra cost Powder Horn, Indian Head, BlackJack and White Cap are all a little over an hour away and as close to Colorado as we can get in the midwest

I know if we go again this winter and I am being begged about we will go to either Camp 10 or Ski Bruel

The mighty fishermen arrived and who caught the fish... Austin

The mighty fishermen arrived and who caught the fish... Austin

Rumor has it the nice big walleye seen in the picture was caught by Austin who will be guiding on Lower Kaubashine soon

Nice Catch!

Nice Catch!

The rest of the catch

The rest of the catch

One of the smaller northerns they kept had to be kept due to the fact that it was bitten by a muskie on its way up the ice hole.  It had very distinctive fresh bite marks.  Too bad the Muskie did not follow the Northern up the hole.  A fun weekend of fishing was had by the whole Wagner Crew.

Coming tomorrow Storm Pics and Downhill at Camp 10

Looks like we have some white stuff coming in.  Figures when the plow truck is acting up

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Calm wind becoming east around 6 mph.

Saturday: Snow likely, mainly after 9am. Cloudy, with a high near 23. East southeast wind between 6 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.

Saturday Night: Snow. Low around 16. East southeast wind between 8 and 11 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 6 inches.

Sunday: Snow likely, mainly before 9am. Cloudy, with a high near 19. Calm wind becoming west northwest between 12 and 15 mph. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around 1 inch.

From all of us to all of you Happy New Year

From all of us to all of you Happy New Year

What do we do on New Years?

What do we do on New Years?

Write about 150 confirmation letters out for Spring, Summer and Fall.  Exactly why the duck tape is on the table I don’t know… but I will say most endeavors at the resort do include duck tape so it might just be there out of habit.  Also all the left over Christmas cookies are on the table to get us through the writing.  Done by 8:30 pm and time to watch the ball drop

If I am lucky they go out on Friday if not Monday…  Big annoucement in the January letter…..

Even better what is in the box Craig brought back from town

Even better what is in the box Craig brought back from town

Craig’s gift to the cleaning crew on January 1st…. A new vaccumn.  Nothing like starting out the New Year with a new vaccumn