Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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The trail was calling out name on a warm fall day.  This is the paved bike trail that runs through the Raven Trail in Woodruff.  The trail starts at Indian Mounds in Tomahawk and runs through this beautiful part of the Raven Trail through old growth forests.  My sister is not a fan of the destruction to parts of the Raven Trail to make this paved trail…. but Troy and I sure enjoyed biking down it.  You can’t beat the scenery.  The Raven Trail portion is hilly but it flows nicely with down hills before uphills most of the time.  We biked 2 miles both ways  and it flew by


The colors were amazing on the trail


There was this blurry guy behind me chasing me down the trail LOL


We parked the bikes at the Clear Lake Boat landing


Clear Lake


Can’t beat the colors!

I just added some specials through the end of October if you check out the availability chart at



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The woods are slowly getting more colorful.  Next week the colors should really get going


Warmer temps and lots of late night campfires around the resort.  Ted and Jackie enjoying great times around the fire with Dan and Steph Christian.  Nothing like wine and a good fire and friends to get through this crazy year


Other folks find pumpkin carving a great release too.  Julie Richards decorated Birchwood with this great pumpkin


I was enjoying and relaxing with one of those great warm fall afternoons on the deck.  Nothing like the clickty clack of the sock machine and a good old dog.  The red squirrels were the only distraction this afternoon.  Their chatter from the trees


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It is that time of the fall when you see little glimmers of color that hint at what is coming soon


Looking out off Bear Den’s dock.  That shoreline will be a beautiful yellow in 2 weeks



Lots of rain coming in 2 days ago.  Troy and I pulled out the paddle boats so we would not have to bail them.  Bailing paddle boats on cold September mornings is not my idea of fun.  Much nicer this way


We have sent many guests to enjoy our little oasis in Minocqua.  Dorwin Park is a hidden gem along side the Minocqua Museum.  It is off the main strip and hidden on a side street.  We have gotten together outside many times here this summer enjoying coffee and sandwiches with family and friends.  We will miss Dorwin Park when it gets colder out.  We grab our goodies from Great Northern Coffee Traders and head straight to our spot for a safe outdoor spot to enjoy a few laughs and good times.

October, November and December reservations are in full swing.  We may be full in September but we do have some October spots open.  Don’t wait long as the phone has been ringing.  

I do have one spot left in September into October.  Kaubashine Sept 28th to leaving on October 2nd

Starting November 1 we are putting in place the 24 hour hold between reservations that we are guaranteeing.  This we hope continues to keep our cleaning crew and guests safer when we have the furnaces on and windows closed.  November 1, we will also be extending out check out from 9 am to 11 am since we are not cleaning cabins the day you are leaving.  All sauna lovers in the winter we will sadly have it closed this winter until COVID is under wraps.  


Cool September weather has hit.  The lake fog is back



Color peaking through the greenIMG_3892

We had lots of groups out enjoying a fire


Nothing says Labor Day like good food around a weber grill


Troy is still getting our TV system to come back after the lightening strike a couple of weeks ago.  We called in Joe the TV dude to help.  Joe found a few more places the lightening stuck, including some connections in our basement.  We have gotten the local channels out to the cabins.  Our satellite is still not broadcasting to the cabins.  The lightening shattered the COAX output from our satellite receiver to the cabins.  The HDMI output still works but the output to the cabins is still COAX cable.  Right now the cabins get the 12 or so local channels and we are working on trying to figure out the satellite


Troy has put up a few TV antennae receivers around the resort to get better reception.  Eagles Nest and Holiday got them on their roofs.  Eagles Nest cable we figure is fried from the lightening.  We had splitters and amplifiers under Shamrock blown apart from the strike that took the signal to Eagles Nest


Part of our cleaning crew celebrated with margaritas after Labor Day cleaning.  We made it so far through COVID19 in one piece and smelling like bleach


Mack just takes it all in stride.  He has partially torn ACL and is on partial bed rest for a few more weeks.  

On to fall!.  You will notice we are almost 100 percent booked in September and October is filling up fast.  If you are looking for some time away in a sparkling clean cabin give a call.  The COVID busters are on the prowl keeping the cabins clean and as COVID free as we can make them



We took a little trip away from the resort to Firefly campground with Mack by Boulder Junction.  Mack enjoyed looking out at Firefly


Close to Firefly is Fallison Nature Trail.  We send lots of guests each year to hike Fallison.  The wonderful thing about Fallison is most of the time you are hiking with lake views around the lake


You can’t beat views like this 


Or views like this 


Mixed up with amazing red pines


Lots of steps 


Throw in talking to a loon.  Fallison is the perfect long lake for loons to take off and nest on



We took a few minutes to find a Geocache we found 10 years ago in the same spot


Back to Firefly Lake for a beautiful sunset

Troy and I enjoyed this quick get away.  September just hit 90 percent full in the cabins so we are recharged and ready to clean cabins for the next 2 months.  We have throughly enjoyed so far 7 little trips this summer in our RV to little get aways like this.  Don’t be surprised if once in awhile when you are here you see the boys watching the resort or Steve’s number on the door while we take off for a little R and R

If you want a nice hike Fallison Nature Trail is a must do when you are in the area


Mornings like this on Lower Kaubashine are the best.  Crystal clear and calm 

Gavin was out floating in his boat enjoying some quiet moments at the lake


I found out it was swim across the lake morning for his wife Tina and daughter inlaw.  Absolutely beautiful morning for a swim.  

Tina worked for us about 30 years ago helping out at the resort.  She has stayed in contact with us and has brought her family to the resort many times over the years.  Always nice to see her and her family.  


Swim Tina Swim!


We had a sad goodbye to John and Barb Ellis.  They have been staying in Birchwood since 2001 in August.  We are happy they have their own little cabin on a lake now but will miss them as guests.  I know Mack will miss Barb’s ear rubs and treats.  Good luck John and Barb!  Hope to see you in the offseason for skiing or hiking  Enjoy your new cabin


In other news we had a lightening strike in the resort Friday  It blew up this maple tree.  This is by the playground on the road to Eagles Nest.  Our cable lines from our satellite dishes pass by close to this area.  The lightning blew up those lines and entered our house and fried our TV system that sends out TV signal to the cabins.  Troy is doing his best to get things back on.  

We had the smell of burnt electronics in our house.  It blew apart all the TV splitters and amplifiers in the house.  Troy has had to dig a new cable line.  We are slowly getting things back to normal.  Our internet routers were also damaged to our house and at Eagles Nest.  We had folks through the resort that night see sparks in the air.  It was quite an event



If you can see in the picture the lightening blew out the roots of the tree.  Thankfully the tree was mostly dead anyway.  It was not a maple we tap for sap


At the sock shop I had a delivery of hand painted super wash merino yarns arrive.  They were hand dyed by my friend Hilly Jacklin in Missouri.  They are absolutely beautiful.  I will be posting pictures of what these make up on Jenny’s Sock Shop Instagram and Facebook pages.  Check them out to see what I make.  See a color you love and want to see it in a particular sock size or gloves let me know I am taking requests

Black’s Cliff is also on Instagram as well.  Keeping Facebook, Instagram and the blog up to date is a challenge.  

COVID Update:  We will be guaranteeing 24 hours sit time between reservations starting November 1 to May 15th.  We think this is a good safety measure for our guests as well as our cleaning crew (who is mainly our family).  We are doing everything we can to keep Black’s Cliff a safe place for people to come to during COVID and keep our family healthy


Beautiful late summer morning at the lake


Red squirrels have been starting to harvest their pinecones.  They are nasty little buggers.  This one was literally dropping pinecones all afternoon on our deck from above.  It was returning for the spoils.  It was aggressively chattering for Mack and I to get off the deck


It went out to the end of the table and chattered at Mack who promptly ignored it


Our great guard dog on duty.  Troy further pissed off the squirrel by picking up all the spoils off the deck and hiding them in the house


Big thank you to all the folks who dropped off pop tabs this summer.  Our usual family did not have room for them in their car to take to Minneapolis.  I have another guest who works at the Madison Ronald McDonald House.  That is where this years went.  Theresa told me that pop tabs for her Ronald McDonald house amount to about 10,000 a year and they really appreciate the donation.  


Keep bring them with you on vacation and dropping them off.  I will always make sure they make it to a deserving Ronald McDonald House.  You never know how great this place is till you need it.  We used one twice with our middle son years ago and have never forgotten how important they are for families who need them


In other news it was fun watching Troy and Jake move the raft around to its correct spot in a stiff wind.  There was some rearrangement happening but the raft got put back in its spot


This is one of my favorite pics this summer.  Father and son feeding bluegills worms.  These two were having quite a good time together playing with the bluegills.  This is what vacation is all about moments like this with your family.  


Anybody who likes Amy’s goat milk soaps in the cabins I have just added her soaps to  They can be ordered both regular and felted soaps.  She has over 20 scents listed on the site.  check them out.  I also have finally gotten half of my scarves up on the site.  Currently all the socks, gloves and half of the scarves are current on the site.  I have hats to do after I am done with scarves


Wiped out from squirrel defense


Troy and I got away for another adventure in our RV.  We headed to lake Superior and had a great couple of days along the lake and walking up a few streams and a few water falls.  We are happy too be enjoying some adventures in our travel trailer.  Jake and Sarah took the reins for us for a couple of days and we appreciate them for doing that


Back at the resort it was movie time.  This time a fun Disney movie for all the littles we have running around the resort this week


Lots of kids not much taller than the tether ball this week


Hard to play tetherball when the ball chases you around the pole


Big sisters watching from afar with lots of tetherball advice


Then off to the races on the horse swingings


A big thank you this summer to our movie gurus, Ben and Grant.   They had the idea of making a drive in on the playground.  They have hosted and got the movies going all summer with many technical difficulties that were beyond mom and dad.  Thanks Ben and Grant!  Grant is off to college for year 3 soon and Ben is still hoping for an accounting job.  Both are done with the Zipline for the summer which I am thankful for


Thanks to all who dropped off pop tops.  These are headed to the Ronald McDonald house soon.  I have a Ronald McDonald house person who works at one coming this week.  I will let you know which house she is taking them to.  Keep them coming!  Bring them along with you when you come and I will get them in the right direction.  You never know how special Ronald McDonald Houses are till you need one


Bellas Jump ropes she makes with Steve have found a display outside the office.  Stop and Check them out.  They are 10 dollars and the best jump ropes around


The sock machine has been humming along  Everyday I have been adding more stuff to the sock shop website. is the site.  I share pictures on the sock shop Facebook and Instagram pages of what is being added.  It is kinda fun to see if you are interested in the sock shop.  I also have put a video of the peddling machine working.  Right now I have all the socks and fingerless gloves on the site.  I will be adding more ankle socks, scarves and hats hopefully this week.  


Busy life at the resort we enjoy but moments like this are priceless.  That is Troy not working and enjoying sand between his toes

I forgot to mention the Resort also just got an instagram page along with the sock shop both are listed on Facebook and Instagram 


Cooler temps have made for some great campfire nights.  We got our budgie pie makers out with white bread and fruit pie filling, blueberry, apple and cherry.  Cherry is my favorite


Cooking my cherry pie with cinnamon and sugar topping


The Michael Family happy to all be together.  No corona cooties in this picture just happy grandkids thrilled to be with Grandma and Grandpa after everyone tested negative.  Lots of peace of mind in this picture and for now no need to social distance with the family!  


The Eberle and Rynearson crew enjoying their own fire


Everyone else in the resort was happy to grab their bubble of people and head to the playground for The Great Outdoors


The sock machine has been whirling.  


Grant and I have continued to be busy putting all the socks on to  

The Sock Shop and the resort both got an Instagram account this week.  If you are on Instagram or Facebook both of them are on.  Instagram is a new thing for us.  A pretty resort picture goes up each day and on the Sock Shop you can see what is made each day.  Things are always changing in the Sock Shop.  I have yet to add my hats and scarves but all the socks and almost all the fingerless gloves are on the site.  I have already shipped out a few orders.  You can choose local pick up too if you want me to save something for an upcoming visit to the resort


After all that a strawberry margarita outside at El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant was a great way to celebrate after lots of hard work was done online and off


A few year ago a guy and a gal met and had three girls.  Dan and Steph brought Jaimie, Melanie and Laurie to the resort since they were babies.  Dan’s whole family enjoyed summers at there resort even before the girls came along.  Dan’s parents, Wills and Lou Christian started the the tradition with their kids before these girls were even a glimmer in their dads eye

They have enjoyed their time at the resort every summer.  Through Cabbage Patch Doll days, teenage drama, marriages and now the next generation.  

During the year of COVID I think it is important to see families making the changes needed to enjoy time together.  Each week I see families quarantining or social distancing so they can enjoy time together either close or 6 feet apart


Melanie and Laurie loaded up with their girls with husbands and Luca in another car on their way to the resort!

They had quarantined the best they could to enjoy time with grandma and grandpa

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Jaimie and Nathan coming from their corner of the US also quarantining getting ready for vacation with their boys

Vacation would be different but everyone was coming together.  Maybe not hugging and maybe 6 feet apart but together none the less in their favorite spot that everyone learned to value just a little bit more with what they all went through this year


Grandma here we are!


All the sacrifice to stay cootie free to visit grandma and grandpa is worth it for this picture


Steph with happiness in her eyes enjoying her grandkids


Family pontoon boat ride was a high light


Auntie Jaimie with Nyla.  The smiles say it all.  Value this time 


Nathan giving directions to Holly to drive him.  This was a huge moment for Nathan to give up the drivers seat…


But worth it to get this picture of him and Brad cruising around the lake

There were many skiing firsts.  First salomns, first skis, and first times driving the boat.  All an important time in 2020 to make the rest of 2020 bearable


Time at the dock with coffee and the sunrise… with a sister or 2


The smile after conquering the fear of muskies to swim across the lake.  Way to go Melanie!   Just swim fast and the muskies won’t nibble on your toes


Go Melanie go!  Her first swim across the lake ever!  Never to late to do something you have wanted to do for years

Makes 2020 good memory!


Great rides in the red boat!  Beats rush hour around New Orleans any day!


Social distancing with others at the lake.  The Berchtold family stopping by to talk with everyone.  Boats were the perfect way to social distance with folks not in the family.  


Dogs just don’t get social distancing….


So congrats to the Christian family for finding their way through COVID 19 to still enjoy time together.  We have all learned times like these are to be valued and will help them get through teaching reading to a 1st grader, figuring out how to get a trumpet to not to exude respiratory droplets, what travel trailer to buy to visit family, how to get a college up and running in COVID, not to have nightmares of muskies chasing toes through the water, are among just a few things that will challenge this crew as soon as they leave to return in 2021

See you again in 2021 for another summer of memories.  May everyone’s trip around the sun till we meet easier after a week on Lower Kaubashine

This is just one families journey coming to the resort that I see every week.  Everyone has their own comfort level and bubble of people in their COVID circle.  I am sharing their journey but there are many more I could that are just as special.  Vacation is different in many ways but in many good ways just the same you just have to fill in the blanks safely