Black's Cliff Resort's Birch Bark Blog

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

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Peeks of color are popping up around the resort.  Colors will be exploding in another week

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We had some big rain come through.  Troy had had enough of bailing all the boats and we started taking out some of our extra boats.  

Key here is not letting Steve take out to many.  He starts towing them to Hilltop to take out and always seems to grab an extra or two more than we thought to take out.


We had an injured Oven Bird around the resort hopping around.  We caught it and took it up to the Wildlife Center.  Troy had never seen an Oven Bird before.  They get the name from the nests that look like ovens on the ground.  


Mack has been enjoying all the fall visitors.  He has many favorite guests he recognizes year to year that he drops by to see.  Gayle and Linda are on that list 


Cooler days and fires in the fireplace are a perfect way to enjoy fall.   We still have some fall openings.  Restawhile just opened Sept 25 to the 29th for 4 nights.  Grab it before it is gone!


The tale of bluegill fishing.   You always hear the story about the big one that was hooked while bluegill fishing but got away. Always a big tale and do you believe it when they say it was a big fish…..  

People ask me where are the muskies.  My response is always look for the bluegills and the muskies are not far behind

Mike Grady was fishing for bluegills with his son and grandson.  This is a wire hook that is easily bent meant for the little bluegills to bit a worm on

Mike hooked a fish and it felt like he was hooked on a log.  Gently pulling he saw the fins and the tail swish and knew it was bigger than a bluegill and told his son to hold on get a net

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For a half and hour Mike and the muskie did a dance.  He was using a 4lb test line with an ultra light pole.  Mike had caught many a fish but never a big muskie fisherman he had not caught a big one.  He let the fish drag out and slowly wheeled it closer and then let it drag out again repeated for over a half an hour.  Slowly the fish got tired and they got it near the boat and in the net.  Mike never thought the hook or the line would hold but it did very carefully

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Here is the small tackle he was using

Usually this tale ends with the muskie snapping the line and swimming off laughing.  Usually with a bluegill in its mouth

Mike said the fish even flipped out of the water a couple of times

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He hooked it in a good spot

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Happily this Tigger Muskie is back in the lake hunting more bluegills and getting bigger

Mike has a story to tell for the next 20 years.  Great job Mike!


Around the resort we know it is the end of summer because the tether ball rope wore out.  It is always good for one summer then it breaks in fall or early winter


It is colder and Grant made an order for mom to make him homemade pasties.  They are the best college warm up food.  They do not take too long to make.  Only rule is they must have rutabaga in them.  Can’t have a pastie with out rutabaga 

You can buy these meat pies around town.  They were miners food back in the day going down into the mines.  We eat ours with gravy over it.   We make the classic ones with sausage, potatoes, onion and rutabaga along with spices


Grant sent me his new route 51 stickers to sell in the shop.


The bowling game has been acting up this summer.   Finally roped Steve into playing with the cellinoids and it is working on all cylinders once again

It sat during COVID and needed a little TLC


Beach is getting easier to keep up with less people at it every day

We have 80’s projected for the weekend.  I just posted a special for our last cabin open Red Pine for the weekend on our availability page


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With kids back in school the beach got a lot quieter.  I found one person enjoying the beautiful afternoon on the dock.  So different than a month ago.  Gotta enjoy moments like this

I just opened up our summer 2022 calendar through August 27th.  We are currently booked starting June 11 until August 19th.  Check out our availability page for details.  Nothing will change until January when summer deposits are due from returning guests.  I will update the chart and Facebook when I hear anything canceling.  

We have openings starting this Sunday Sept 5th for anyone how needs moments like this as we turn into the fall season.  I have put some specials up through mid September as well

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Biggest excitement of the week is Andy Krammers fishing adventures on the lake

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With the quiet comes the guys making plans for projects.   First up is building a room in our shed for cleaning supplies so they can leave the old sauna area.  The old sauna we have not decided yet if it will be open this winter.  We have ordered a new barrel sauna and are anxiously awaiting word on its delivery.   When we no longer need the old sauna we are expanding our office/sock shop into it

Thats just a couple of things we have in the works


Conner drove his cousin Grant back for his final year at Saint Norbert.  How the time has flown that we have just one in college in his final year.  

Conner, Katie’s son is headed to his junior year at UW Madison next week


Back to enjoying moments at the lake while the warm weather holds



Troy and I had to pick up Grant in California to get him back to school.  We debated all summer how to get him back.  We finally decided to just do it and leave for 6 days to drive to California and back.  We had coverage for the resort with Jake and Steve, packed up the car and off we went.  We never vacation in the summer and had a lot of places that we have not visited.  First stop was South Dakota and a great time at the 1880 town you see advertised along the way.  We had been to the badlands so we swapped out a stop here for the Badlands drive so we could stretch our legs.  We loved it


Had to stop at the saloon


This was our favorite building


All the buildings have authentic furnishings.  This one was awesome. Loved the old stage


And of course the red rooms up stairs.

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They also have all the movie props from Dances With Wolves on display. It was a wonderful stop that took us back in time


I forgot to put the Corn Palace as our first spot we stopped before 1880 town.  We also loved it very interesting art work.  A local told me they call it the bird feeder because all the birds in the area take a snack out of it


I had no idea it was also a basketball venue outside of the summer months


Every morning over the 5 days out to California we tried to find a diner to have breakfast at.  Seeing old guys at the counter was our sign of a good diner


Next stop was Devils Tower.  I had not been here since I was a kid.  We had light rain coming down but again a great stop


It was 51 degrees and we were cold but happy to be out of the car


Our first mule deer we saw.  Not pictured were all the prong horn, 2 loose cows on the highway in Wyoming and a lone porcupine in Wyoming who looked very out of place

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Off to Utah for of course a stop at the Great Salt Lake


We prefer Lake Superior but it was nice to see although a bit stinky


We picked up a tumble weed in Nevada that joined us for about 2,000 miles getting smaller and smaller until we finally lost it on our return trip somewhere with the cows in Wyoming

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Finally made it to Western  California  to the Sierras where we had to be careful to pick a route that was not on fire.  Our original Hwy 50 by Lake Tahoe was being bulldozed as a fire break between the Dixie and Calder fires.  We came in on Hwy 20 and could see the smoke.  It was like being in the middle of campfire smoke.  It was scary but we were pretty sure the route was fire free


We wound our way through Napa Valley to arrive at Santa Rosa to meet up with Grant and Bex.  They took us up one of their favorite trails to see the  redwoods.  We only had 20 hours to be there before we had to turn around for home but we throughly enjoyed the hike


Napa Valley in back of us.  The end of the line for us

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While we were hiking our motel room was broken in to.  It was time to go home.  I look calm in this picture but 10 min before was not

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The sierras were even worse on the way home down Hwy 80 this was just east of Reno

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Penny slots in Nevada


We loved the trip but are thankful for our small quiet area of the world and happy to be home

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Sunday mornings in the summer are always full of happy faces ready for a fun week with the family.  Lots of happy smiles with grandma!


Brian and his son Asher talking about all the wildlife they might see on vacation.  Shortly after this picture little Asher showed up with a small grass snake he had found in the woods.  Nothing like time at the lake with dad discussing big plans for the week

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Asher’s grandparents Gavin and Tina were searching for a little shade to watch him explore the lake and woods.  Tina worked at the resort years ago and is now enjoying bringing her family back to the resort 

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In other news we gathered together the pop tabs left at the resort this summer.   Big thanks for Leo Hodes and his students and John Thompson who were a big part of this pile of tabs.  They are headed with another one of our guests who is the director of the Ronald McDonald House in Madison.   Tab collection for their house equals usually about 10,000 dollars.  If you have a drawer or cup full of them bring them along on vacation and drop at the office.  I will get them to the Ronald McDonald House.  Ronald McDonald will forever be in our hearts after having to use it once.  It is a great organization   Thanks to everyone who contributed to this pile.  I collect them year round not just in the summer, so bring them along on vacation much appreciated


Our resort is also a sponsor of a program at the Northwoods Wildlife Center where kids can try out being a wildlife rehabber.  Check out the Northwoods Wildlife Center if you have little ones to try out this fun program

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Back to enjoying summer!


My kids grew up fishing with Troy’s dad so I can appreciate a grandpa on the dock with 2 kids casting, and taking off worms and fish off hooks.  Grandpa Walsh with a smile on his face every year creating memories with the grandkids is what it is all about.  Hopefully with no hooks in anyones head or fingers and fish to fry.  Frying fish in my kitchen was the only cooking I ever saw my father inlaw do but think fondly back on the mess he made in my kitchen 


Appreciating the beauty of old cement steps with moss growing here and there is also part of resort life


Now it is working on projects with dad, uncle and nephew.  Steve and Jake continue their fix it projects.  Today was a new triangle for the blue dock


Not sure what is next on their list


Lots of boat bailing this week with rain every day or so


Katie Flower stopped over to be the first to get one of Grant and Bex’s new lake stickers


They added in the Hwy 51 and lake sticker to their inventory.  They are easy to mail if anyone needs a gift or one for themselves to put on a water bottle or other item

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Summer is humming along and September right around the corner with our fist openings starting Sept 4th

I also had Birchwood open Sept 8th to the 15th if anyone needs an escape.  Birchwood does not open often in the fall 

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Time to kick off your shoes and jump in the lake

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Lots of that going on, on the water tramp this week


The raft is a little quieter but lots of jumping there too


Definitely a pier week.  Lots of sunning and chatting


Steve and Jake are working on a few projects around the resort.  First up was this step that has been on Steve’s list for a little while.  


No rot in that step at all…


All done  and bricked in.  Lots more brick projects on Steve’s list


Meanwhile others took a nap

Our first opening is now Sept 4th.  Fall is booking up fast don’t wait to book


We have had a lot to celebrate this last week or so.  Big event was Howard Berchtold’s 90th birthday at the resort. There was a lot of singing, toasts with matching cups, matching shirts, egg toss and a three legged race.  Howard was happier to celebrate also his 65 years with Jean and 45th summer up north.  He knows the date for sure when they started based on Steve being a baby when they arrived at the resort

Congrats to Howard and Jean on so many summers and years together 

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Summer fun at the lake with the warm temps.  Everyone was in the lake


Mack was even in the lake.  He needs help getting out of the lake and was very happy to just stand in the lake and look at me while he cooled off.   Getting him out involved both of us getting wet but it felt good


Always lots  of fishing going on.  Nice bass for Ed and Andi


Released back in the lake at Eagles Nest dock

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Meghan Timperly has a challenge to everyone.  This is the highest pinball score I have seen this summer.  Can anyone beat her?


A couple of good sized storms had us recruiting from the teens in the resort to get help bailing boats.  

Noah and Lindsy bailing while Charlie and Owen were picking up sticks.  Much appreciated help


Out at the wood shed there was a lot of blocking of wood


Followed by a lot of chopping.  Steve recruited help from Eric Berchtold.  Duel axes swinging

With being busier in the offseason over the pandemic we went through a lot more wood than expected so time to fill the shed again

We get our wood from local tree service.  They are always amazed how fast we split and stack each load they bring us


Always time for a few socks on the deck.  This is one of my older machines.  I use it for mens socks due to it having more needles and it making the socks wider

This is a different brand of sock machine.  Most of my machines are Gearharts and this is a Legare from the 1920’s.  Basically Ford vs. Chevy.  Some people love Gearhart machines and some love Legare just like trucks

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Few more summer weeks ahead with busy Saturdays flipping over the  cabins.  Steve has perfected his sheet delivering 


Beautiful warm days of summer at the resort.  Took the red boat out for a spin around the lake for fun


Our beach getting busy with everyone in their spots, warm temps and happy kids jumping in


David and Leanne getting their feet wet while Bryce was wasting no time in enjoying the water


Mark Tempel having fun enjoying the water no better place to be!


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I hear the fishing has been good this week.  Brian McCabe and his boys headed out to find the crappie on the first morning.  I hear they found the fish because the fish house has been busy with a few groups.  I think it is safe to bet that their will be a fish fry at the Frisch cabins this week 

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Besides fish there are also berries a plenty.  Troy and I went to a local strawberry farm last week.  This week we snuck out with a friend on a local golf course to get raspberries.  A wild ride with questionable brakes across the rolling hills with a Great Dane and Golden Doodle was a story for another day.  Many raspberries were found!  Blueberries at a local farm yet this week followed by blackberries in a couple of weeks will fill out freezer

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We did sneak away for a couple of days to an undisclosed Lake Superior beach with Mack for a few days.  It was delightful.  Make sure to take a visit to Lake Superior when you are at the resort.  Parts of it are just over an hour away from the resort.  

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Lots of good times at the beach this week.  I think many would say this is their favorite view


Tom Hixson directed us through our annual Roy Tungett Memorial Horseshoe Tournament at Hilltop.  After over 20 years of doing this I can honestly say the competition has slowly gotten better.  Most of us can hit the pit most of the time and the sound of shoes hitting the stake has increased.  We even saw a few 6 packs on each side of the pits womens and mens.  A 6 pack is one person getting both shoes to ring the stake.  Mr Tungett did not know what he started so many years ago that we continue in his honor gathering friends and families at one of his favorite games


This year the finals were Troy 

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vs Dan Heinz a newcomer in the last 3 years.  Dan did a great showing for the Heinz family!

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Heather was Troys partner and got a 6 pack around the stake in the final round!  Awesome Heather!


Grace demonstrated great form and got her own points


In the end Troy and Heather pulled it out thanks to Heather’s awesome 6 pack.  

Horseshoe playing cards and vinyl stickers were the prizes

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The best part comes later in the day after everyone cooled off in the lake, a picnic for 4 potluck the we did this year at Muskie Inn cause all the tables were there from the Low Country Boil the week before.  Good Times!


This weeks movie was the classic The Great Outdoors requested by Amanda Moran.  Next year we have promised Meatballs

Classic picture of “Suck My Wake” skimming across the lake in the movie


Other big news is we had 7 loons on the lake.   We do not have a breeding pair on  the lake this summer sadly.  Instead we have the juvenile loons stopping in and checking out the lake.  They are teenagers checking out the area and they travel in packs usually harassing pairs on lakes looking for they future spot.   Lets hope one of these young loons decided we are pretty nice place to take up residence

There was a report of the loons fishing and an eagle swooping in on them and stealing their fish they had just brought to the surface.  Eagles are opportunists and loons supply them with fish once in awhile


Grant and Bex’s stickers have been a hit and heading off the shelves.  They are sending me more stickers this week from California where they are for 2 months.  Enjoying the sights and working but missing the calmer midwest once in awhile and afternoons skiing on Lower Kaubashine


Cool sun halo or rainbow around the sun

We do have a cancelation in Red Pine August 13 – 20th give a call if interested