Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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

Why no blog entries lately…. would you believe me if I said we had been fending off a Republican Guard take over by Storm Troopers.  Called in the Jedi and Obiwan and they have been driven off

I drive past his tree eveyday and with the fresh snow looks like it is saying something or something out of the Wizard of Oz trees that come to life.  I have expect the branches to reach out and grab my car as I go past

Fresh snow blanketing Lower Kaubashine

Screen Saver for Rich and Gloria

Screen Saver for Rich and Gloria

Bearskin trail covered in snow and ready to snowmobile on

Bearskin trail covered in snow and ready to snowmobile on

Best Burb on Lake Minocqua

Best Burb on Lake Minocqua

A new burb has popped up on Lake MInocqua.  I hear you have to be careful of the covenents and keeping your walk shoveled or you will find your home moved in the middle of the night.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is out there reading the blog or if they really need one more picture of trees and snow and then I get a nice card like this from someone that does not even stay at the resort but just checks in to see what is going on at the lake and the Northwoods

Hi Jenny

Thanks for putting together the beautiful calendar.  It made a great gift for Harrold and Yvonne.  they love the lake.  I enjoy the many photos you post to your website.  Thanks for keeping everyone who can’t be at the lake full time informed and entertained

Happy New Year

Carol

Thanks Carol you made my day!

New Snow came down last night

New Snow came down last night

Well it was not a ton of snow about an inch with another inch to come today.  It was pretty look at in the trees

New snow

New snow

While outside the chickadees were very active dive bombing me by the bird feeders

Taking a picture of flighty Chickadees was a challenge it took about 5 attempts for each of the above pictures

Even with the rain/mist/sleet we kept most of our snow.  It is a bit crusty, but I am sure the snowmobile and X country groomers are chopping it up to make it not excellent conditions but good.

Finally made it to Radio Shack to get a new camera cord.  Christmas seems to have eaten up my old one… Finally getting to upload a few pics from the storm on Friday

Favorite Pic

Favorite Pic

I like the perspective of this picture.  I looked through the juncture of a tree at a huge Red Pine on the otherside.  Things lined up nicely.  Fresh snow from the Friday storm

Muskie Screen Saver pic

Muskie Screen Saver pic

Bayview in the snow

Bayview in the snow

Steps snowed in from the wind and snow

Steps snowed in from the wind and snow

View at Dog Beach

View at Dog Beach

Screen Saver pic of the shoreline on the other side of the lake

Screen Saver pic of the shoreline on the other side of the lake

Boats buried in the snow

Boats buried in the snow

Red Squirrel Hang Out

Red Squirrel Hang Out

Red Squirrels are going to get a rude awakening when they see the Christmas Present Ben got.  A Red Rider Daisy BB gun…  Hey kid don’t shoot your eye out… or your brothers

We did get some melting in the mist and light rain on Saturday but we have 4 – 5 inches of fresh snow coming in tonight.  I hear the South lost their snow and have Thunder and rain coming in tonight.  I still have a variety of openings over the next week so give a call if you need to escape and enjoy the New Year.  The sauna is rocking with Crazy Russians and skiers.  I have not found underwear in the snowbanks or Vodka bottles at the beach so it is pretty tame this year, but I think I will stay out of the sauna