Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

Browsing Posts in Resort Life

IMG_5611 (1)

First of all anyone interested in the diving platform update.  The three of us spent an hour scraping and getting the old paint off the metal frame.  This frame was hand made back in the 50’s and steal was bent in place

IMG_5612 (1)

Fresh coat of paint and looks shinny and new and not 65+ years old

On to other things, time to get the big swimming docks in


Ben came home from college a couple of weeks ago and has been put to work this spring helping his dad

Good break from studying to get outside again


Blue dock going back together


Penny keeping eye on things and waiting for someone to throw her ball.  Ball is missing from the picture as Mack once again stole it and won’t give it back to her

IMG_5613 (1)

On to the big brown dock.  Major discussion going on as to who was going in the water.  Ben stays quiet in the back ground hoping nobody notices him and volunteers him to go in the water

IMG_5616 (1)

Well we know who ended up in the water and who was the smart college student who organized from the shore

IMG_5614 (1)

Anyone know where my ball is?


Time for cute kids like Charlotte to come up and enjoy the docks and do some big fishing with their stylish pink poles

My favorite is when a little one like Charlotte hooks a big fish on one of these small poles.  It happens every year.

News from the lake is that the crappies have moved into the shoreline along with the bluegill for spawning.  Fishing is getting hot.  

We are full Saturday and Sunday night of Memorial Weekend.  We have openings after the weekend to June 2nd

Norway is open from May 28 to June 5th and I am doing a special on it of 155/night up to 4 people mid week and 175/night Fri and Sat up to 4 people.  Otherwise it is 195/nigh mid week and 245/night Fri and Sat up to 7

Holiday is open June 2 – 9th.  We will do nightly rentals on it at 225/night or 1550/week up to 10 people, 3 night minimum.  Or for up to 4 people 1150/week.

June 9 – 15 Blackwood 2 bdr 1090/6nights

June 16 – 23rd Birchwood 2bdr 1275/week or 190/night 4 night minimum, Shamrock 3 bdr 1665/week or 245/night 4 night minimum

June 22 – 29 Red Pine 4 bdr home 2620/week or 385/night 4 night minimum


We have had some beautiful warm weather the last week.  The lake is warming up

IMG_5579 (1)

First of all the most exciting news, we got approval from our insurance company to put our diving platform back on the raft.  This platform was built by Maynard back in the 50’s and was loved into the early 90’s by everyone on the raft.  One of our insurance companies back then made us take it off along with removing the slide from the swimming area. Thankfully insurance has changed and both have been brought back

1958 Jungle Jims

Here it is the day the raft was launched for the first time with the diving board on

1959 Flips on the raft

Please refrain from duplicating this picture for the sake of our insurance company:)  Lets keep it to front dives.  I am going to have to police those Christian sisters who are all ready to start practicing their back dives this summer.  I also heard the diving board is great to watch for circling alligators in the water who like to circle looking for cute blonde to munch on

IMG_5581 (1)

The guys tools moved one last time to Eagles Nest

IMG_5583 (1)

Eagles Nest bathroom got a little TLC before summer. Along with an awesome new elevated toilet that every other cabin got the bathroom got a few other Steve touches


I ran into a buy on these cool wood rocking chairs.  I see them on the blue dock…. but others tell me they should go to Bear Den and Red Pine decks… we shall see


Back to enjoying quiet moments of spring




IMG_5574 (1)

You can’t tell from Mack but it was an exciting day at the resort.  Mack was much happier at the lake fishing for bluegills than hanging up top with all the noise from machines.  Relax Mack it will all be over soon

IMG_5562 (2)

We were sadly loosing a bunch of old pines that were mature.  Every storm that goes through Wildflower and all the old pines around it made us wonder if the cabin was still standing.  It was time to take them down before they took out the cabin.  We also had one that was leaning towards Bayview’s porch.   Sad to see them go

IMG_5572 (1)

Always exciting when the crane comes.

IMG_5560 (1)

This big pine by Kaubashine was just being limbed.  It was healthy enough to stay, it just needed a hair cut.  The big pine leaning toward Shamrock in the back ground however did need to go and that was why the crane was here


All limbed up and the pine by Shamrock coming down

IMG_5570 (1)

At the playground we took out one of the big oak limbs.  We had them save part of the limb for the basketball hoop.

IMG_5575 (1)

It was quite the day but no calamities with the pros of Tree Removal LLC on the job

4 cabins left this weekend.  I will be doing a special on Wigwam at 155/night up to 4 people.  We also have Holiday, and Red Pine open



This picture was shared with me a couple of years ago by Stacy Borger.  It just seems like a good spring picture for today.

Great shot Stacy!

IMG_5523 (1)

We have a few chairs at our beach that are 70 years old or so.  I have pictures of these chairs at the beach in the early 50’s and I am not sure if they were new then or not.  Each year they get painted John Deere Green.  This year the amount of built up paint on them was too much.  I called up a welder who is going to sand blast the paint off of them.  They will have a facelift and be back at the beach better than ever for summer 2018


When I posted pictures of the chairs on Facebook I had a guest from years ago, Dick Maxwell, share more chair pics to us of the chairs from years ago.  I think we must have one of the largest old metal chair collection in Wisconsin.


Here is my grandfather, Maynard sitting in one of the chairs.  Looking at the chair holes behind his arm I know which chair it is and, yes it is still at the beach

Back to painting…..

I am posting our openings left in June that I am going to accept nightly rentals on the main website click on availability/rates and go to summer 2018 for details.  There are a few open and time to get them booked!  So if you are looking for less than a week or a week check out the page

We are now full Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Memorial weekend.  We do have opening before and after the weekend at spring rates

IMG_5500 (1)

We had ice out this weekend!  Saturday the 5th was officially ice out on Lower Kaubashine

IMG_5499 (1)

I caught this muskrat making a home under the raft.  The raft will be heading out to its usual spot soon and the muskrat will have to find a new home


We did get some work done….  but it was so nice it was time to enjoy the Northwoods too.


We had newly tuned up bikes and ready to fly down the Bearskin.  We decided to take a part of the trail we don’t go down very often.  We drove to South Blue Lake road and got on the trail there.  Our destination was the observatory deck on the south end of the trail


Some of the sites along the way were a couple of trestles


Turtle out enjoying the sun at Scott Spring


Scott Spring


1888 train shack along the trail.  I happen to know there is a geocache inside the building somewhere


Bearskin Creek Trestle


We hit our goal of the observation deck 3.7 miles from our car at South Blue Lake according to google


Water was high going down the creek

IMG_5513 (1)

Incredible view at the end of the deck


Back at Lower Kaubashine and time to get back to work.  Enjoying seeing open water after 6 months of ice an snow

Lots of cabins open for Mothers Day Weekend, give mom a treat and come on up the lake is open and fishing is on!



Grab your coffee and enjoy some pics of the melting ice on Lower Kaubashine

IMG_5489 (1)

IMG_5490 (1)

IMG_5493 (1)

IMG_5494 (1)

Complete ice out is not far away


Busy spring clean up is in full swing.  The guys have started to drop all the wood they cut this winter around the resort as they clean up

IMG_5488 (1)

We have had a lone turkey stopping by each night cleaning up the remains of our winter bird feeder


The lake is getting closer and closer to going out.  I am not sure if it will make it completely by this weekend but it will be close


There are ducks out in the mist in this picture but hard to see.  The first ones to return for the spring


We have been busy getting started on spring clean up as soon as the snow clears off.  Steve got started on Muskie’s roof cleaning it off


Steve and Troy knocked down lots of trees over the winter around the resort.  This one landed on Birchwood’s picnic table but lets not talk about that…


Negotiating the truck around one of our biggest piles of snow left to clean up the road to Eagles Nest


Here is the road to Eagles Nest with about 5 trees across it that they dropped over the winter.  I had been tripping over them for 2 months collecting maple sap from the Eagles Nest trees.  I am happy to see the road opening up


In other news, Troy and I have our first horse racing game complete and ready for sale.   This is one of the best family and group games we have played.  We played it in November and decided we could make our own version of it and sell it in the gift shop.  We have had friends and family from 2 – to 90 play this game.  It moves along quickly.  As long as you can roll a die and count to 12 you can play.  Kids love moving he horses along the track and rolling the die.  Bring your pennies and borrow our game out of the office.  We dare you to get hooked on this fun game


We have put a lot of time into designing and materials for this game.  We will be selling it for 75 dollars a set.  All hand made in Hazelhurst not China.   Or just borrow our game out of the office to try while here.  Remember to bring your pennies


This is a fun scarf I just finished for sale in the office.  It has been in production for 9 months.  Every night as I finish socks I have tied up scraps into a ball.  This scarf is made up of mostly 12 inch pieces of yarn tied together.  Someone told me this scarf tells a story.  A story of socks made.  If it is still around next winter I may just keep it

We have cabins open this weekend.  Come watch the lake melt with us.  We have a few June openings and I have made some of them nightly.  I will consider nightly rentals on the rest of them with a 4 night minimum.   Give a call for details


Troy and I took off Sunday afternoon on a short car adventure to see some water falls with the spring melt.  We left at 11 am so did not want to do an hour plus trip up to Hurley and Ironwood area.  Instead we picked two water falls in the Mercer area 40 minutes from the resort.  

We stopped on the way in Manitowish at a friends convince store.  The Hogan family owns and operates a wonderful store in Manitowish.  They sell gas, groceries, small restaurant, and a well known meat market all in one place.  And if that is not enough they have a Fischer Price Toy collection that is amazing to see.  Their son Liam tore up the pool with Grant at the state swim meet this last year.  If you stop by the store be sure to say hi to Liam and the rest of the Hogan Family who all work at the store


Here is their small restaurant area.  I hear it is the local coffee hang out in the morning.  There are some mean games of cribbage played on these tables.  


Here is their sandwich menu.  The Lakeland Swim Team loves the sandwiches and took some with them to power them through the state swim meet


They are all made out of the Hogan Meat Deli



They are known for their spectacular bacon


Yummy brats


And amazing rib eyes


They also carry a wide variety of Wisconsin made products


My favorite though is the Fisher Price collection.  Katie and I played for hours in our childhood with our Fisher Price sets.  They have one of the biggest sets in the state of Wisconsin.  They rotate the display this is only half of it


Now on to the water falls.  Here is the first one just north of Mercer at Lake of the Falls County park.


Mack came along for the ride.  We were hoping to see some fish maybe jumping in the falls for the spawning season but the water temp was not high enough yet to get them moving


The falls were sure flowing though


We headed over to the 2nd water fall the Shay Dam fall to the east of Mercer.  It was not as impressive as the Lake of the Falls but worth the drive.  The narrow bridge that goes over the water fall with not a lot of guard rails was not Mack’s favorite in the picture


Mack trembling and looking through the small guard rails wondering when we were getting back in the car.

It was a nice trip away from the resort

We are slowly getting rid of the snow around the resort.  Hopefully tomorrow we can start some raking.  The lake is going out around the edges.  I will get some pics up tomorrow


We are slowly melting the lake.  It is nice to see some open water for a change.  We still have a ways to go but warm temps are in the forecast


In the meantime while we wait for the snow to melt we have started painting.  The ski shack at the lake got a fresh coat


Mack was soaking up the warm rays being the first sunbather at the beach in 2018


Steve and Troy were finishing up the remodeling touches on Birchwood


Trim going on the new windows


Steve headed to Norway for his next project with his friend Darby.  Some who read the blog will remember Steve meeting up with Darby on a ski trail this winter in the middle of Lake Katherine.  Darby has a hard time keeping his shirt on for pictures that go on the blog


The new over hang over the steps of Norway.  Ever since we remodeled Norway we always intended and discussed changing the stairs and putting up a small roof.  Well it is finally happening.  No more slippery wet steps at Norway they will be covered



It will be a very nice project to cross off the list


In other news around the resort, Troy and I finished making our maple syrup.  It was not a good year for sap and we only made about half of what we usually do.  The weather just did not cooperate to get a good sap run this year.  There is a reason folks call maple syrup brown gold.  6 quarts is 2 months of cooking and hauling buckets of sap.  We will enjoy it on pancakes all year


In family news, our youngest son Grant had his signing ceremony at the high school signing his letter of intent to swim at Saint Norbert College next fall.  Can’t wait to see this kid ripping up the new pool at Saint Norbert.  Til then it is time work out at the woodshed and swim the lake.  We are very proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait to see where it leads him.  His brother Ben is also at Saint Norbert and is a life guard in the pool unless his brother talks him back into swimming.  We are waiting to see where Jake and Michelle land with their teaching jobs yet for next fall.  All of them could be in the Fox Valley next fall


All of this is very exhausting for Mack to keep up with.  He went from sunbathing at the beach to cooling off in the remaining snow banks

Resort dogs life is exhausting



The snow is finally melting the last few days.  We had a lot to melt so we still have a substantial amount on the ground.  Enough to stop any ideas of spring clean up around the resort.  Here is the walk way to the beach

IMG_5346 (1)

Here was our wood pile a week ago


Here it is this morning


Heading down to the beach the lake is still pretty white.  We are going to be in the upper 50’s and flirting with 60 all week so hopefully the melting goes fast.  The tilt of the sun now you can feel the extra warmth and longer days


Shoreline starting to get gray


It was thick enough I felt ok stepping out but did not go far from shore

Will the lake be open by the fishing opener?  Not sure it is going to be a close call on that


Birchwood in the melting snow today


The maple trees are flowing today and we got our old cooker going.  We have been collecting maple sap since the last week of February off and on with the temps.  The big flow of sap though will be today or tomorrow and we are ready to cook it.

IMG_5379 (2)

Still a lot of snow to melt

Our low spring rates starting at 135/night will be in effect up to Memorial weekend and for the week after.  We still have a few June openings if you are interested give a call

June 2 – 9th Birchwood and Holiday 975 and 1550/week

June 9 – 15th 6 nights Blackwood 2 bdr

June15 – 22 Blackwood 1275/week

June 16 – 23 Shamrock 3bdr 1665/week

June 23 – 30th Wigwam 3 bdr 1665/week

June 22 – 29th Red Pine 4 bdr home 2620/week up to 10 people