Beaver Island High!
The last six weeks I have been on a Beaver Island High! No, I'm not talking about drugs here, or sniffing glue, or chewing on psychedelic mushroomsI'm talking about SUNSHINE. Remember John Denver and how he sang about sunshine on his shoulder making him happy and how high he got just being in the Rocky Mountains? Well I too get high from sunshine!
January was an amazing example of how to survive in northern Michigan without snow. For most of the month you could hike any trail over nothing more than fallen leaves. The Keubler was clear and unobstructed as were many of the upland trails in the Port St. James. If you ignored the fact that it was cold you couldn't ignore the sunshine. The coldest my wireless weather station recorded was 0.2 on January 22. The warmest day was January 8th at 40 degrees. I recorded sunshine for 21 days in January. To qualify, the sun had to be apparent for several hours. I also recorded peek-a-boo sun and that occurred on 4 additional days. That adds up to 25 days when we saw rays of sun. The morning sky over the harbor would light the clouds and treetops, making them appear golden. The northern sky would glow soft pinks and mauve. Evening skies were equally impressive as afterglows from the setting sun lit the horizon and any clouds that were present. Finally on January 31 we had heavy snow making cross-country skiing possible.
February, so far, has produced another set of weather phenomenaincredible sunshine and unbelievable cold and lots of snow. I have recorded 15 days of sunshine and one day of peek-a-boo sun in the first 17 days. My wireless weather station recorded 6.7 degrees on the 17th.
There were three days when the temperature got as high as 15 degrees (a heat wave, no doubt.) It has been a challenge to walk and snowshoe. Multiple layers have been necessary to protect from the bitter cold. But the winterscapes have been incredible. Out on the north shore there is a "mountain range" of peaks left by breaking waves before the lake froze over. Every morning these mountains are lit from the east; every evening they're lit from the west. The nighttime skies have been a marvel. I swear, the stars look like diamond studs in black velvet until the moon appears. The moon's light lasts until shortly after 7 a.m. when it sets over Lake Michigan just like the sun in July and August. The woods are breathtakingly beautiful. The snow sparkles and squeaks and covers the spruce and pine trees like meringue on cake.
Yes it's cold. But I wouldn't trade one ray of sunshine to live any other place but Beaver Island in the winter. So bundle up, button down, walk out, and get high!
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