Tag Archives: Baraga County

Photos of wild animals in our woods

Bobcat approaches

Bobcat approaches

Here in the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula we share the trees, the lakes, the snow, the paths, the rivers, the flora, the passing seasons with the wild ones, the wild creatures who roam the forests.

Sometimes days and weeks can go by without a glimpse of wild animals.  You know they’re out there, you know they’re all around, but you perhaps only see deer munching by the roadside, squirrels or chipmunks scampering up the poplar, a lone eagle or hawk soaring overhead.

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Wolf. Sideways blowing snow. Chicken enchiladas with spicy mole sauce.

Monday.  Brown-furred wolf runs south to north in front of my car.  His legs pump, his haunches strain.  Masterful, he sprints, his legs sure, not slipping and skidding like those long skinny-legged deer who sometimes fall and splay all four legs as they attempt to gain traction on ice.  Solid, purposeful, the wolf crosses snow-covered asphalt, his eyes staring straight ahead, almost oblivious to the barreling car.  He darts into the woods, immediately  in a grove of evergreens, concealed in plain sight.

Snowy spruce

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Black pearl of an evening…

Black Pearl band performs at the L'Anse Waterfront

They even have vendors--Nancy and Patty were selling driftwood guys. Isn't this one adorable?

Folks seemed to like the band. Soft rock, variety. Sweet music over the Keweenaw Bay.

Soft ambiance

Bike action


These kids were having so much fun. Can you feel their joy?


More fun on the beach


Little kid. Big stone.


Quiet beauty




Let's not forget the band is still playing...music everywhere in the park...harmonies across the waters...


Ahhh...late July perfection...

Stay tuned! 195 Baraga Pow Wow photos…

Innocent joy! (Still deciding whether I should go back again and take more photos...?) Don't worry, I'll probably only be able to show you a couple handful of them!

Whole lotta fiddlin’ and guitar and hammer dulcimer and accordion goin’ on

Welcome to the 35th Annual Aura Jamboree

People play outside under large tents or participate in workshops (this lady is playing the hammer dulcimer)

Or perform inside the Aura Hall. Each group of musicians plays for fifteen minutes. The music reverberates from Friday evening through midnight Saturday night.

There are more fiddlers than you can shake a stick at. (Ha ha, pun intended!)

Musicians admiring other musicians

Folks stretched out on the grass

Barefoot, even

Playin' it good now...

Kids playin' too

Or standing in line to buy snacks

Play your hearts out

And come back again next year, won't you?

An after-supper drive through Aura

Whitetail deer and fawn

Tonight, after supper, I took a drive through Aura. 

We kinda live in Aura.  It’s debatable.  Some folks would say we live on Huron Bay.  Others say Aura.  Aura “Proper” where the old post office used to be is maybe three miles away.  To make things more complicated, our mailing address is L’Anse.

“Aura” is the Finnish word for “plow”.  Want to guess who settled in this area in the early 1900′s? Yep, the Finns.  (Anyone wanting to learn more about Aura can click here.)

Running deer...

I actually drove down Saari Road and took pictures of the lake, but thought you might enjoy these first.

Web in the woods

It was a soft quiet warm evening.

Thimbleberry leaves

I meandered part-way in a cedar swamp during the night’s travels, but didn’t go far.  Mosquitoes threatened to eat the photographer alive.

Long fingers of cedar roots

The woods are beautiful at this time of year.

Green moss on stones

The long grasses wave in the breeze.

Waving fields of grasses

There are always treasures to be found–like interesting looking sticks. 

Stick in the sky

Let’s not scare any more deer on the drive home.  How about we roll down the window and let the air blow through the car? 

Ahhh…summer.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

P.S.  I am having fun and trying an experiment in WordPress.  Thanks to Robin over there at Life in the Bogs (on Day 285 of her year-long outdoor commitment!) who informs us it’s possible to write a blog and then schedule to publish it later–when you’re not even at the computer!  I’ll be at work when this publishes, if this works.  8 a.m. on the dot.  Isn’t technology a kick?

Small-town America 4th of July Parade complete with cotton candy, dogs & babies

Queen Candidates, Baraga Lumberjack Parade

Barry has to cover the Baraga Lumberjack Parade every year for his job as editor of the L’Anse Sentinel.

Almost every year I tag along.  It’s our date, you know.

Little guy. His dad went overseas to Afghanistan in June.

The last two–or three–years I have eagerly brought camera and taken pictures for the blog. 

This year I said, “Awww, Barry, I dunno.  I just might tag along and not take pics this year.”

Dog, Dad, Baby

“That’s OK,” said Barry.

“OK, maybe I’ll just bring the camera–just in case something seems to stand out,” I agreed.

Oh no! Those fire engines are SO loud!

So off we went.  We stopped first, briefly, for an iced coffee from Java By the Bay, our new coffee shop in L’Anse owned by my friend, Nikki and her husband, Bob.  Mmm, iced coffee with a dash of hazelnut.  Heaven!

Listen to those fire engines scream!

We parked ‘way down by the Armory where the Queen Candidates and firetrucks and floats waited for the parade to begin.  We walked nearly a half mile toward the American Legion.  We said hello to folks as we passed; “Hello, how ya doin’?  Sure is a nice day!  A little hot, though…”

The Pelkie Fire Dept. (Awww, cute! We used to live really near Pelkie a long time ago.)

We found a piece of shade to linger while waiting for the parade to start.  I started snappin’ pictures of little kids, babies, cotton candy, anything that looked interesting.

Some of the parade watchers.

And snapped more pictures.

Cotton candy, anyone?

And more pictures.

Baby sleeps...oblivious...

“What are you doing, taking pictures?” asked an acquaintance, who only knows me as wife-of-the-Sentinel-editor. “Just for fun?”

“Yes,” I said.  “Just for fun.”

(No inclination anymore to explain about blogging and what it is.)

Flag waver

So many people in the 4th of July spirit.  So many people having fun, enjoying the parade, talking with their friends and neighbors and petting stray dogs.

Another wee parade-goer

So many babies.  So many of their mamas and daddies the age of our kids…

Hey--there we are! Spotted as a reflection in the ambulance window.

It was a fun afternoon.  Even though I really didn’t want to go–sorry, to say–it was an afternoon of Americana and Norman Rockwell scenes which would touch the hardest of hearts.

Man, dog.

Human flag

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

We saw so many old friends and acquaintances.  So much local spirit.  So much pride in our country.

The mom of this baby was Kiah's best friend in 7th grade. Isn't she adorable?

And finally–as we were trekking back to the car–we saw Jen and Grandma Cindy and the babies.  Back when our daughter, Kiah, was in junior high, she and Jen were fast friends.  The best of buddies.  And now Jen has two small daughters of her own, and aren’t they adorable?

Hi Jen and Cindy and babies. It's so good to see you!

My heart felt full.  It was a good day.

Nap well, sleepy Kenzie. I hope you liked the parade!

Happy 4th of July to all! 

P.S.  125 pictures of the parade…yikes!…guess I got carried away…so much for not taking any pictures this year!  smile…

A lake full of stars, driftwood, sand and waves

Old piling near Baraga Marina; new plant

Please, join me on a drive home along Lake Superior.  OK, we’ll buy you an ice cream cone, too.  Let’s stop at least four times, shall we, and see how the lake is doing this 4th of July weekend?

Driftwood in lake near marina

Scary owl in sky. Meant to scare away seagulls. It's sideways in the sky.


How about a kayak paddle in the Keweenaw Bay?

A lake full of stars

Driftwood, waves

Daisy at First Sand Beach

Rose hip preparing to blossom beside Lake Superior

Sand, cold lake, Pequaming Point

Patterns of sand and wind

Tiny feather

Swirl of waves and sand

Footprints in the sand--from here to forever.

Thanks for coming along.  It was fun, wasn’t it?  Such a warm, delicious night.  Now–make a wish on one of the stars in the lake–and perhaps it will come true by morning or at least before the fireworks start.

Streams, Bluebird & Wood ticks

Peeking through the curtain of branches...there is a spring stream shimmering beyond

I had no intention of writing a blog today.  Other things to do, you know.  First, work at the school.  It’s a long story why I was working on Tuesday instead of Monday (my usual day) but I will not bore you with the lengthy details.  Suffice it to say, this morning meant work.

This afternoon involved a tour of the new hospital in L’Anse.  Very snazzy new facility.  I thought briefly of taking pictures and showing you, but decided against it.  You can imagine the new hospital.  First, imagine a hospital built in the 1950′s.  That is our old hospital.  Now imagine a new fancy high-tech state-of-the-art hospital.  That is where you, too, can have your gallbladder removed in Baraga County after June 10th.

Stream in the woods

I came home to a cryptic message from a blog-reader.  OK, not just any blog reader.  A family member blog-reader.

The email said, “Streams?  Where are my streams?”

You know you’ve landed in the technological era when your first thought is, “Was I suppose to send video streams?  Audio streams?  What the heck?”

Blue stream/maple buds

Then it slowly dawned on me.  Ahhh…streams.  I had promised said family member photos of spring streams.  You know, racing rain-drenched spring streams in the gulleys and ravines. 

Except, leave it to spontaneity, I had agreed to photograph the streams and then decided instead to go downstate to visit my parents and other extended family.  Spring streams were forgotten; cast aside!

Until today.  Even though there was no intention to write a blog (I am LOVING my resolution of writing when I feel like it, thank you) it appeared a blog must be written.  Before that, a photo shoot must happen.  All before dinner.

Thankfully, dinner was leftovers.  No cooking involved. I grabbed the trusty camera and dashed into the woods to look for streams.

Report:  Sorry, beloved Family Member.  The streams are mostly dried up now.  We missed their wild churning excitement.  You shall have to wait until Next Year.  (If I don’t decide to travel during spring run-off, that is.) 

Please enjoy the One Stream that I found. 

And the letter “A” discovered hanging in a tree way back in the woods.  What do you think it means?  A is for Arboreal Forest?  A is for Aura?  A is for Arvon Township?  A is for All the spring streams have dried up?

Who hung this felt letter "A" way back in the woods on a tree? And why?

The letter A does not signify “Bird”.  It definitely does not signify “Blue Bird”.  And yet that is what was spotted right near our house!  This is a rare sighting around our house, folks.  There are bluebirds in our county, but none linger too long around here. 

There is nothing like a bright blue bird brightening up one’s day!  Since there weren’t many blue streams, the blue bird will have to suffice.

A bluebird! Oh happy day!

P.S.  You have no idea how many wood ticks I have picked off since this little adventure in the woods.  At least a half dozen of the crawling little fellas.  It is very distracting.  Have completely changed clothes once, but am still suspicious.  Wood tick season is so entertaining… (she said with a sigh.)

Two moose sightings in one week

Lori has all the luck!  Not only did she and her husband, Bill, spot wolf pups along one of our Upper Peninsula roads last summer, last weekend they drove by a moose. 

And not only one drive-by sighting, mind you.  They spotted their first moose on Thursday night after the spring school program.  Lori is principal at our tiny two-room elementary school and our seven students performed wonderfully as they shared songs and skits about “Core Democratic Values”.  It was a great program!

To top it off, Lori and Bill saw the moose on their way home to L’Anse.

“But we didn’t have our camera,” she sighed to me on Friday at the school.

That figures, right?  How often are we driving down roads and there stands the moose we’ve been waiting for over twenty years, and where is the camera?  At home on some shelf.

We lamented together.  How sad.  How awful. 

Moose are icons here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Some of our biggest natural attractions.  Even though they existed here back in the late 1800′s, by the early twentieth century they had mostly disappeared.  In the 1930′s, an attempt was made to introduce the magnificent creatures to the UP (captured on Isle Royale and transported to the mainland) but the project failed.

In the late 1980′s Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources staged another attempt.  Fifty nine moose from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, were airlifted into Marquette County.  (My husband covered the historical event for the local newspaper and remembers how one moose was released from his air-lift harness and ran toward the crowd watching its release.  Luckily, no one was hurt and the moose eventually discovered a more expedient path to the woods.)

The goal of the program was 1,000 free-ranging moose by the year 2000.

Fast-forward to 2011.  How many moose roam in our Upper Peninsula?  Sen. Jason Allen has been quoted saying that there are as many as 1,200 moose in the Upper Peninsula.  But the scientists who count moose say the number is much closer to 500 and probably lower. The most recent count in 2009 indicated there were 420 moose in their core area of the western U.P., which includes southern Baraga, southwestern Marquette and northeastern Iron counties. Another 100 or fewer roam the eastern U.P.


So guess who glimpsed the second one of these 420-1,000 moose on Saturday?  You’ve got it.  Lori and Bill.  Somewhere around Tioga Creek, between the Baraga and Marquette County lines, this fella (gal?  You can’t really tell because the male moose don’t don their antlers until later) was happily munching swamp grass. 

This time Lori had her camera!  She got out of the car and began to snap photos.  (She’ll have a job with National Geographic soon and what will our school do??) 

I’ve seen exactly One moose in the Upper Peninsula in all these years.  It happened on a similar trip to Marquette with two small children in tow.  Let’s pretend it was 1991 or ’92 or ’93. 

I was driving home, kinda tired and bleary-eyed.  When suddenly–hark!–what goes there?  Ohmygoodness!  A strange hump-backed HORSE is running across the road!!!  A horse?  No, that’s not a horse.  It’s a–it’s a–(and here the mind tries desperately to figure out what the strange huge loping horse-like creature might be)–IT’S A MOOSE!!!

Wow!  What excitement!  This was in my pre-photography days.  I kept driving down the road.  Three cars following me pulled off the road with their passengers leaping out with cameras and diving into the ditch trying to photograph the fleeing moose.

“Look at the silly people,” I told the kids.

Fast-forward about twenty years.  If I was fortunate enough to have a camera AND see a moose, I’d be leaping out of the car, too.   (Except we are warned to admire moose from a distance with binoculars or long lens.  They have been known to be aggressive at times.)

Thanks, Lori, for your eagle eye.  Please don’t leave the school for National Geographic any time soon.

P.S.  Moose are actually having trouble thriving in the Upper Peninsula because temperatures are too warm.  They stress when the average temperature climbs above 60 degrees in the summer or 20 degrees in the winter.  Our warmer temperatures in recent years have been challenging for them.