Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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


With our big week getting ready for Jake and Michelle’s wedding on Saturday we have had to call in reinforcements to help with the resort

Katie, my sister answers the call for help when needed.  She is a partner in the ownership of the resort but works as a art teacher and is not seen around the resort as much as Steve, Troy and I.  She answered the SOS call and was on duty keeping the resort going this week


Her beach raking abilities are in top shape


She was running errands around the resort

But by far her favorite place since childhood is….


Katie spent her childhood at the wood shed loving every moment.  Who needs to be an art teacher when they could be hauling wood


She got this whole pile of wood chopped in an afternoon….. Who needs the guys


Troy where are you? I am going back to teaching

Thanks Katie for your help!


We took some time out to head over to our spectacular zipline 10 minutes from the resort.  Troy and I had not gone since it opened and were amazed to see all the changes and added things to do


Jake and Michelle are getting married on Saturday and wanted something special to do with their wedding party and parents before the wedding and they could not pick a better thing to do


Ben and Grant could not make it but here is the soon to be united by marriage, Johnson and Gibson Families ready to head out on the zip line together

A family that zips together stays together

Keep in mind I do not like to be dropped or heights but I love zipping.  I did it the first time on this course and have yet to find a better course in the state of Wisconsin.  The flying through the tree tops and over the lake on the last zip are truly amazing to do.  The crew at this zip line walk beginners and nervous people through it for all to have fun and feel safe.  If you ever have thought about doing this this is the place to go


Before I get into the zipping.  They have added some great things.  The first of which is a ATV adventure


Josh at the zip line has arranged with an amazing game farm just south of Hazelhurst a ATV course over 900 acres of a game farm of deer.  Wander around the game farm and in one spot through a pond in these cool ATV’s that go through water and land in search of the big bucks in the preserve.

Troy and I might have to come back for this


Josh also sets up folks to kayak down the Tomahawk river with a guide.  The Tomahawk is a great place to spot wildlife and enjoy a quiet adventure down a river


Back to zipping we took off in their trailer up to the zipline


Our great guides along for the ride.  They are great at calming the nerves of first time zippers

Great hands to be in through the tree tops


Jack a first time zipper and the best man in the coming wedding was a bit nervous in the first zip but really got the hang of it and enjoyed every minute despite a bit of a fear of heights


Troy zipping in on the first small zip that warms you up for the ones to come


Now this is sailing through the tree tops


whew…. this is more work than the beach steps at the resort


The bridges are some of my favorite walking up to the tree tops.  They move a bit but you are strapped in the whole time


Coolest bridge!


We got a preview of their ropes course.  I know we will be back for this later in the summer.  The ropes course also has zips in it that are not on the main biplane course.  Can’t wait to give this a try


More of the ropes course below the main zipline


Jack and Claire pooped out and waiting for the 2nd group to make it through the course.

Missing pictures are the 2nd to last zip that takes you over 1000 feet long zip over a lake.  By the time to get to this zip you are so ready and it caps off a great adventure.  It is hard to take pictures while over the lake so check out Northwoods ZipLine home page for video and pictures of this amazing zip over the lake

With all the new things they have to do at the zipline we are already planning our next adventure back after the wedding


We deal each week with the rollercoaster of emotions from the worst thing to do on vacation, deflating the floaties.

You know vacation has come to an end when it is time to pack up the floaties

Friday afternoon I need to put prozac in the water for everyone who needs to leave the next day who have to deflate and so does their mood

To get ready for…


All the new people coming in who are ready to party and do everything at once.

These folks each Saturday need the opposite of prozac until their Friday comes around and they have to deflate their floaties


Till then it is floatie time!


Nothing better than time spent with a floatie and first grand child in the water with matching hats


Others enjoy time in the old red ski boat.  Paul and John drove this boat every afternoon for skiers at the resort back in the 70’s and 80’s.  The old red boat has been taking skiers at the resort since Maynard bought it new in 1956.  New motor last year and the boat became famous in the Wisconsin Travel Commercials this summer.  There is nothing like an afternoon pulling skiers in this boat.  It comes out this week every year and these guys love their afternoon feeling like teenagers again flying across Lower Kaubashine


Pauls advice to new skiers never changes.  Tie the rope around your neck three times and yell hit it

The look on Ali’s face when he said that was priceless


Leo Hodes stopped in last week.  He brought his pop tops along on vacation.  He collects them along with all his students in his math class in Indianapolis to bring up and leave for 4 girls he has never met.  We collect tops all year long for all of our guests to give to the Chu girls this coming week who deliver them to the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.  The girls are amazed each year at the pile of tops that grows bigger each year.  Leo’s pile is at an all time high and we appreciate him and everyone else who brings their tops on vacation and leave them for the Chu girls

We used the Ronald McDonald House a few years ago with one of our boys and it is truly a wonderful organization that we are happy to support all year long

Bring up your tops!  This week I will post a picture of the complete pile of tops from everyone in the resort year round who have dropped them.  It is quite a pile!  We might have too many for one wheel barrow this year


We have a busy week ahead getting ready for our oldest son Jake getting married next Saturday.

I will try to keep up on Blog Posts.

I also have a computer that needs to go in for some work as the V button is not working and needs replacement.  We shall see if I can blog from an iPad for a week


Howard Berchtold has had 41 of his 86 birthdays at Black’s Cliff with his family

They returned once again this year from 6 states Florida, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas


Heres to many more summers and many more reunions of the Berchtold Family

Every year they do a shirt theme and this year it was camo

They left this picture for their nightly activity organized by Grace.  Tonight it was egg toss races.  What will be tomorrow…

Happy Birthday Howard and a belated Happy 61st anniversary to both Howard and Jean



It was a cool morning.  While the rest of the country has baked in the heat this summer, we have had an enjoyable cooler summer.  We yet to hit 90 degrees

The heron this morning hanging out and fishing


When you are three years old and you have your PJ’s on in the morning why wait to swing.  Grab your older 5 year old cousin also in her PJ’s and go to the playground like Nyla and Bella


The best is when your cousin will give you a push


Or just swing next to you


Even better is being 5 and big enough to go on the tire swing like Bella


Now to wait for the sun to come out and the beach to warm up

Till then it is swinging in your PJ’s time at Black’s Cliff.  All are welcome


Update on the loon family.  They seem to be doing well on the lake.


Steve and Penny have been working once again on projects.  A new and improved woodbox for Norway Pines.


Steve is trying something new with this box.  He is putting feet and an air hole in it to keep wood drier and the box from rotting on the ground


Air hole.  He was very excited about this idea


The Frisch family shared with me their family fish fry pics.  All fish was caught by the family on Lower Kaubashine this week crappie and bluegill


That was a lot of fishing


Group effort to catch and group effort to eat


I had some new pull overs come in this week.  I have some more wilder colors and T shirts in this material coming in, in the next week.  Put on your sunglasses the colors are bright!


The sock maker meanwhile is cranking out more and more socks.  Getting ready for a big show in Mercer for Loon Days August 2nd


Warm balmy breezes perfect days to be on the lake


We had an interesting person stop by.  Stephen Streed who has not been to the resort since the 60’s stopped by to check out the place he remembers from his childhood.  His dad painted all the old signs in the resort.  The original Black’s Cliff gate sign was one of his dad’s signs. Whenever he came to the resort Maynard had a new sign to paint.  Stephen himself learned the trade from his Swedish Dad and is a sign painter himself to this day

1958 Streeds

Here is a pic of Stephen’s brother, sister and dad at the resort in the late 50’s.


Here are a few other signs of his dad’s that we had in the basement


Lots of work going on this week.  Grant and Jake on garbage duty their favorite thing to do on their day off from their jobs in town


Steve contemplating how to safely get this leaning birch down


It took a few choice words and a few tries but it finally came down


I caught the loon family.  The baby loon is slowly getting bigger


We had a big high score at the pinball game this year.  Phillip  was the big winner from his family getting 58,498 points beating out his brother and parents for crown of pinball champ.


When driving into the resort drive slow and watch out for sleeping dogs who think the middle of the driveway is the best place for an afternoon nap

The life of a resort dog is very stressful


While most people in the country were sweltering from heat into the 100’s we had a cool day of a high of 60.  Most folks enjoyed the cool temps for a day.  Gave many a reason to sit by the fire


Bob was inspired to give Troy a hand at the wood pile for awhile.  They made it through the pile of logs on the left

You are ever bored and want a work out the woodshed is the place to be


Others took a more relaxed approach to the day


Karey had the cool day relax and read a book down to a science


Sister Ann was cooking up a batch of hummingbird nectar for the resort.  Following in Char’s footsteps keeping the hummers humming


Then there were those headed off with dueling guitars to talk to the loons.


For me cool weather means make a sock

Warming back up into the 70’s and 80’s for the rest of the week.  The 60 degree day was a nice breather in the summer heat


Beautiful quiet morning at the lake today


Nice time to grab a cup of coffee and your sister and head to the lake


Or grab a pole like Rob and see what is biting


The answer came a minute later with a bass





4th of July week means one thing.  Time to pole dance with horseshoes and head to Hilltop for the annual tournament with everyone in the resort.

The brackets were made in the 2017 Roy Tungett Horseshoe Tournament.  Roy was smiling down watching it all take place and happy Tom made all the brackets balance out


Early warm ups for those who take it more serious than others


There are those who come for the game


There are those that come down for the entertainment with their own couch


There are those that come down to enjoy the good food that always follows the tournament or ordered from the bar at Hilltop from Mary Ellen


There are those who go for the joy of playing with their sister and getting a ringer


To help get a ringer and Kaubashine Cooler from Hilltop is a must


In the end our runners up were Carrie Vandersteeg and Phillip Cass.  Phillip was thrilled as his name was on the pony plaque for non winners and he knew he could finally take his name off the plaque


The big winners in the end were Molly who was playing in her first tournament and Eric Snodgrass who’s son Graham immediately stole his crown with a big smile and wore it all night


After the resort picnic Phillip got to remove his name and add his brother Tony in yellow behind him to the plaque


A toast was made to Roy as we rehung the plaque on the wall in the office till next year.

What a great thing you started so many years ago corralling everyone off the beach to head to Hilltop despite all the groans of the sunbathers.  Thanks to Roy


Another award was handed out by Katie and I.  Eleanor Tungett Vandeventer was inducted into he honarary movie club at the resort for all of her continued years at the resort.  You will have to ask Eleanor for the list of benefits this club brings with


Eleanor in awe of her new power as the president of the movie club at Black’s Cliff.  If you want membership see Eleanor.


Mine!  I can’t get enough of movies!   Coming soon, Eleanor’s top picks on a shelf all to herself

Good Times!

Thanks to all who participated in this fun night

See you in 2018 for horse shoes.  Back to practicing