Monday, July 24, 2017

Day one done!

Today marked the first day of early fall trail clearing.   1st thing was to mark the location of a culvert we'll be installing at Tomasi RD that goes to Pebbles gravel pit.  This is an important event for our trails to move towards improving water control, plus help us to open trails earlier in the fall and reduce problems during melts over the winter months.
Not pictured was Mark R who also helped here.

Yes, the whole area was cleared for this job. This is on the old
trail to Churning Rapids which is trail 8. Tomasi road is seen
in the background.

Josh marked the culvert ends with these stakes.

Feel free to get out there and see this location/

That's where it will go!

After the ditch and culvert instillation work area was cleared,
we went down towards the creek and began whacking weeds there.

This is just uphill from the New River Trail extension.
This is at the "rock wall" where the River Trail Extension
merges onto the old trail.   The rock seen at the bottom/center
of this photo marks a wasp nest, who didn't appreciate our
whacking.  We did not have any wasp spray with us so we
marked it with the rock.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Official starting of fall clearing

On Monday, we are officially starting fall trail work.   Could it really be fall!!??   Maybe not, but the grass won't grow much more and the weather looks perfect for doing that.  We plan to start whacking out the New River Trail and the extension of it, we cut this spring, so as to get that finished,
If you can help, please get in touch at 370-2911 or

Monday, July 17, 2017

Canal run

On Saturday KNSC helped with Hancock's Canal Run which has been going since 1975.   We did a water spot 2 miles from the starting line.   It was fun!
We had about 6 people helping at this location.

And here they come!

We handed out water and gator-aid.

Everyone had a wonderful time.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

KNSC Nature Journal Club - July

NCJ - July: Discussing Birds, Seeing Wildflowers

Our Nature Journal Club today led us into discussion of birds. If you compare learning about birds to learning how to read, my family and I are still practicing the alphabet. We are learning to identify birds, but have yet to scratch the surface of studying the habits of our winged friends. 

Unfortunately today we did not get a chance to delve deeper into our understanding of ornithology, as it was the wildflowers who stole the show. Heading out from the chalet towards the Grill House Trail, many wildflowers grabbed our attention. 
A myriad of sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) can be seen, in both pink and white. This luscious flower is climbing its way through the grasslands of the Dog Walk Loop. 

 The next flower to show its beautiful self was the familiar, but charming, black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia triloba). Fun fact for you, this flower can be found in all 48 of the contiguous United States as well as all 10 Canadian Provinces. Well worth being able to identify!

And finally, this beauty, which has yet to be identified. I'm sure there are many, more knowledgeable than I, that can help me out. (Let's just say that my zoology skills, abilities, and understandings are about on par with my ornithological skills).  So leave a friend a note in the comments below; help me complete my nature journal for the day by getting down a name for this mystery.

Come and join us for our next Nature Journal Club on August 20th. We will be discussing insects, but who knows what treasures will steal the show. Click here for details.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Great Day for a Ride

"Tut tut, it looks like rain."

We knew we would head out on the trails today, but hiking or biking, we weren't sure until we reached the trail head and put our amateur weather watching skills to the test. 

The clouds seemed to part as a woodpecker tapping on the trees welcomed us today at the Tomasi trail head. When is the last time you have been out to this trail head? For us, it has been a while, and boy, the woods is a luscious green, sweetened with the scent of leaves, ferns, and wildflowers.

My younger son was quite taken by the daisies and devil's paintbrush (at least, that is what I've heard some refer to it as; perhaps orange hawkweed?) scattered throughout the River Trail, while my older son just wanted to race to the creek to throw rocks and dip his toes into the water. 

We saw some fellow bikers out today enjoying the trails, as well as two slugs, three butterflies, and the aforementioned wood pecker.

It was a great day for a ride, and bonus, we didn't get wet (at least not from the rain, from the creek, however, is a different story).


Monday, July 3, 2017

Just a little trail improvements and general update to report today.
Keweenaw Nordic purchased a large metal storage cabinet.

It was assembled yesterday and immediately filled with items that were previously
stored everywhere!

The new green storage shed is nearly done and finally got some dressing up.
Of course there is minor work remaining that will get done this summer.

Next the trail head at Tomasi was whacked and brushed back.  Cleaned up in general.

This is to make it look better and more usable over the summer.

Then the trail head at Hancock's sledding hill was cleaned up.

This is located near but just beyond, Hancock beach.

Hope your 4th of July Holiday is the very best!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wildflowers in Bloom

Yesterday morning the kiddos and I trekked up to Christensen Road to hike the trails. Yes, it was raining, but yes, it was worth it. Our loop consisted of the Lake Annie Trail and Finney Creek Trail before heading back to the car (those little legs are starting to stretch out some longer distances). 

The rolling meadows and narrow ravines captured the attention of my little guys, but it was the wildflowers that took top prize. If daisies are a favorite of yours they will be found in abundance right now.  

I am not sure what it is, exactly, that makes wildflowers so appealing. Perhaps it is the beauty that they display, without toil or spin. The encounter reminded me of a poem by Wendell Berry, "I Dream of a Quiet Man."

I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends
nothing, but only knows
where the rarest wildflowers
are blooming, and who goes,
and finds that he is smiling
not by his own will.

The wildflowers are in bloom out in the Churning Rapids, and likely if you park down Christensen Road you the have the serene sounds of nature all to yourself, unless of course, you see us there. Then you will hear two little boys calling out, "Daisies mom, daisies! Pretty! Do you see?"


Sunday, June 18, 2017

KNSC Nature Journal Club - June

Today was the inaugural KNSC Nature Journal Club, and like true Scandinavians, we didn't let the rainy day drive us from the abundance of life on the trails. Surely you have heard the saying,
“There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” Every 3rd Sunday of the month we are going to be testing the limits of that saying, taking in what the outdoors has to offer, even in the unique and unpredictable weather conditions.

Today, quite noticeable, were a bounty of slugs. Slugs were crawling across the trail, creeping along logs, wriggling along the Swedetown Creek, and a cornucopia (what you call a group of slugs) was found ploding up Sisu Hill. What they liked about the Sisu Hill remains to be discovered. Any experts out there? What do slugs like about that sandy spot? 

Many other treasures were discovered on the trail today as well. Of note were the ferns, horsetails, and wildflowers. Common enough, maybe, but if you look hard enough, you may discover things you've never noticed about these plants before. As E.E. Cummings said, "Now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened."

Join us, won't you, for our next KNSC Nature Journal Club. It is July 16th from 3-5pm. More details found here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

KNSC Rumbles Through Houghton For The Bridgefest Parade

The KNSC contingent was awesome during Friday night's Bridgefest Parade. The Can Am Defender ruled the streets of Houghton as some of our snow bikers patrolled from curb to curb while three skate skiers showed off how skiing doesn't have to end in April. They skied rings around our banner.

All the while the Durocher clan insured full employment for our dentists blasting out candy to the Copper Country children lining the street like throwing fish to barking seals.  While Grommit was off on vacation in the wilds of the Cowboy State, Julie Meyers strutted the avenue with Red and Blue to remind the crowd of Maasto's canine friendly trails. 

Thanks to our marching crew including Colin Pekkala, John Pekkala, Mark Roberts, John Diebel, Keith Meyers, Julie Meyers, Bridgett Durocher, John Durocher, Dave McCloud, Kate McCloud, Scott Lindenberg, Richelle Winkler and young 'un's too numerous to mention.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday clean up?

With rain predicted here in the afternoon, this morning we headed back out for more cleaning up of the River Trail extension.   This time we started on the creek side.  
This bunch of branches were growing over the trail.
Some were 30ft from the trunk so the trusty
ol pole saw went to work again

We want the corridor to remain open under heavy
snow loads. This branch is one that would
 come down when we want to focus
on grooming, not tree trimming.
Gone! Preventative maintenance AND makes it look like a real trail.

Since inquiring minds want to know...we put up a new sign to tell them.
No fawns seen today but we did have a stow-away when driving back out. 
Maybe he came in to get out of the rain?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

River Trail extension cleanup.

With warm temps forecasted here, our gang gathered at 8am and headed out to do more clearing of the River Trail extension. Now, about half of the trail is "done". We'll keep picking away at the rest as the temps and weather allows, on Tuesdays or weekends.
Thanks today to Carolyn and Heliena for lopping, John for stump-sawing, and the Aronson crew for general clean-up.
Not seen here is John D, who was out trimming stumps.

Thanks to all who came out today.

Wild life seen on or near the trail today.  Oven bird nest!

We hear these in the woods all the time.  This is the 1st time we've found a nest, or seen one.

Arly towed brush within 4ft of this little fellow.  He didn't move!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Saturday's help?

On Saturday at 8am, we'll be out to clean up the river trail extension of brush, shoots, stumps and leaning trees that got left during its original clearing.    We'll start from the top and work our way towards the creek.   We are starting earlier than normal because of the predicted heat that day and only work until it gets too warm out.   Can you help?? or 370-2911

Hope to see you on the trails with us!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Rhubarb, trees and trail work.

Today we made it out to the New River Trail and got some work done on it. We'll be out again to do more here on Tuesday and could use some help.  Please let us know if you can.
On the way out, we moved a trail 6 sign to a better location.

We also picked up some trees to plant on the top side of the New River Trail extension.

One's going here!
All done! This will help direct trail users the right way, without blocking the old trail.
Next, we headed down the River Trail extension to cut stumps, plus move
debris further away from the trail and less visible for trail users.
BONUS: We have an over abundance of Rhubarb.  Would you like some??