UP 200

11/25/2013

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Musher at the UP 200 Photo taken by The Peninsulas at the start of the February 2010 UP 200

UP 200

The UP 200 is a 240 mile dog sled race from Marquette to Grand Marais and back to Marquette. The race started in 1990 and occurs each year in February. Forty sled teams, which consist of 12 dogs on each team, take off from downtown Marquette. The trail consists of "stretches of near-wilderness, creek crossings, hills and valleys, and heavily forested land" (up200.org). Mushers come from all over Canada and the U.S., including Marquette county. This event is a unique because it a qualifying event for the Iditarod, the most famous dog sled race in Alaska. 

During my time as a teacher in the U.P., I decided to share local events with my students through classroom themes. In March 2010, our theme was dog sled racing. We read leveled books about Alaskan sled dogs, researched the Iditarod, and completed a read aloud of "Stone Fox," while we worked on comprehension strategies. A local musher brought in his gear and shared about life as a musher. I encouraged my students to attend the UP 200 and attended the event myself to gather pictures and information to share with my students. This unit was the most fun we had as class and the most fun I have had as teacher, even to the this day. We worked on improving our reading, writing, and math skills while learning about the local community. 



Information and quote from UP200.org gathered on November 23, 2013.

 

Allow me to introduce myself: the name is Beth Graham and I am lucky to call our intelligent and beautiful blogger, Melissa, my BFF. I also got to share a room with her while she was teaching in Ishpeming (I'm an SLP...look it up). But my bio isn't why we're here. We're here because it's deer season.

A year ago, on Thanksgiving Eve, I was exactly where all hunters want to be; sitting in my deer blind watching the does. I was a little edgy because I knew, in all likelihood, this would be my last hunt of the year. There was a lot of family coming to town for the holiday. This was my 6th year hunting and I still fell under the category of, "Buckless Yooper" (insert intense music here). Around 3:30 pm a decent sized spike horn started making appearances. But he was chasing one of my does and I never had a clear shot at him. My adrenaline was sure pumping though. Around 4:30 my girls started to meander on their way. Then HE came in. A beautiful 5 pointer. I set up my shot, clicked off the safety, and...

BANG!

As I shot, the buck stood up on his hind legs to rub his antlers in a branch. Shit! Did I miss because of it? I knew it was a good shot but couldn't account for his movement. He bolted. That's when I got the adrenaline shakes. A hundred things were buzzing in my head, but I managed to get a text to my husband, Justin, who was sitting at our camp. "That was me! Five pointer at least. It ran. Oh shit." Justin isn't the most technologically advanced guy and I'm only allowed to text him during deer season. When he hadn't responded in 30 seconds I sent out eight more rapid-fire texts. He finally responded, "ok." I guess my adrenaline rush hadn't reached him. I promised myself I'd wait 15 minutes before going to collect Justin and start tracking my deer (you don't want to come up on a deer that's laying down and dying and push it further away). I'd like to say it was the longest 15 minutes of my life, but I only made it 10 minutes before I hightailed it back to camp. I know I was talking 100 miles an hour when I came through the door and found Justin reading. READING?!?!? He apparently didn't realize I'd just shot a BUCK! At this point, my version of the story and Justin's differ. But I'm writing this so you'll hear it how I remember:) He made me drink a beer to use up more time. He might as well have poked a hole in the bottom and had me shotgun it. Knowing I should wait and actually waiting are two horribly different things. Finally he started getting his outdoor clothes on. Finally we headed out.

First stop, the scene of the shot. Blood! And lung tissue!! We were on the trail. The blood trail was far apart and there was little snow. But I'm an excellent tracker and was literally running from one blood spot to the next. And then the trail ran cold.

My heart dropped.

My stomach dropped.

We backtracked.

We split up and went down different paths. And then I saw it, blood! I called for Justin and he started to laugh as I was hunting for more blood to follow. "Turn around," he told me. And there he was, my first buck.

The rest of the night was a blur. Family and friends flocked to our camp and celebrated with me. And, of course, there was the traditional shot of blackberry brandy for the successful hunt to go with all the beer.

"The second week of deer camp, is the greatest time of year!" ~Da Yoopers, "Second Week of Deer Camp," 1987

 
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Sugarloaf Mountain, May 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas

Sugarloaf Mountain

       
The start of the 2010 summer would be the last of my living in the U.P., so I decided to make the best of it and do some hiking. Sugarloaf Mountain was the first place I checked out. Sugarloaf Mountain is located just outside of Marquette on County Road 550 and overlooks Lake Superior. Sugarloaf Mountain consists of a 3,200 foot trail and stair system up to the top of the mountain. There are two different routes available for people to reach the top. There is the "Difficult" route for the more adventurous of hikers and the "Moderate" trail for those less adventurous. It takes about 20 minutes to travel up to the top of the mountain which is 470' above Lake Superior. No matter which trail you take to the top, it's worth the hike up to experience the breathtaking views of Lake Superior and Marquette County. Sugarloaf Mountain is a MUST do adventure when you are in the Marquette area. 


Info gathered from 
http://www.co.marquette.mi.us/departments/planning/sugarloaf_mountain.htm and 

http://www.travelmarquettemichigan.com/information/places-of-interest/ on November 23, 2013. 

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View of Marquette County from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, May 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas
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View of Lake Superior from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, Summer 2010 Photo taken by The Peninsulas
 
Edgar B. Speer

Meet the Edgar B. Speer. She is another beauty of the Great Lakes. She was built in Ohio and launched in 1980. She is another one of the Great Lakes' 1,000 footers. She belongs to United States Steel Co. out of Duluth, MN. She can carry 73,700 tons of cargo during her mid-summer draft. She is equipped with a unique self-unloading system and can only be serviced in Gary, IN and Conneaut, OH. These are the only two ports that can accommodate her unloading system. 

-Picture and information gathered from http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/speer.htm on November 20, 2013. 
 
Welcome to Ishpeming!

Back in the summer of 2009, I was fresh out of college and looking to land my dream job of becoming a teacher. Well, it didn't take long and I landed that dream job in a little town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was it, the beginning of my new life as a college grad, a teacher, and now as a yooper. I knew I was starting an adventure of a lifetime. I didn't know a soul in the U.P., but that would soon change. 

Ishpeming is located just west of Marquette along US 41 and it is a different world that what I was accustomed to living in downstate. The culture was different, the people talked differently, and it was a whole different landscape. However, it would be home for the next 9 months. 

During those 9 months, I met some of the best people in the world who later I would consider my yooper family. They took me in as one of their own and became family. My real family was over 8 hours away, downstate, so I know I couldn't have survived without them. My next few blogs are going to be about my life as a yooper and my crazy yooper adventures. I am excited to share these adventures with you and I hope you find enjoyment in learning about the U.P. as much as I do.



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These pictures were taken on my very first trip to Ishpeming in August 2009.
 
Stewart J. Cort

Stewart J. Cort is a Great Lake Freighter and was constructed in 1970. She was the first 1,000 footer freighter built. An interesting fact is she was built in Mississippi. She was cut apart and then brought to Pennsylvania where her two sides were reconnected. She was named after Stewart J. Cort, who was a vice-president of Bethlehem Steel. 

Cort is the only freighter who has her pilot house in the front of the ship. She is a self-unloading ship, but uses a unique unloading system. This, however, means she can only visit certain ports that can accommodate her unique unloading system. 

-Info and picture taken from http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/cort.htm on November 21, 2013. 
 
MV Paul R. Tregurtha

Meet the MV Paul R. Tregurtha. She is another one of the Great Lake bulk freighters. She was designed by the American Ship Building Company to carry iron ore from the many Lake Superior ports to Republic Steel Mill at Indiana Harbor. She was also designed to carry passengers. So not only was she was equipped to carry cargo, but she was also one of the first freighters to carry passengers which meant elevators, air conditioning, and fancy decor. 


Paul R. Tregurtha was launched in February 4, 1981 as the William J. De Lancey and took her first voyage in May 1981. Her name was changed to the Paul R. Tregurtha in May 1990 after the Republic Steel contract was terminated. She is still sailing the Great Lakes today and is known as the "Queen of the Lakes" because she is the largest operating ship on the Great Lakes currently. She was last of the 1,000 footers (13 ships total) created by the American Ship Building Company as well as was their last and final ship ever built. 


Today she carries iron ore and coal throughout the Great Lakes region. She currently holds the record for the most cargo tonnage to pass through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, MI with 3,004,957 net tons set back in 2001. The Soo Locks are channels that help ships change depths in order to sail from the St. Mary's River to Lake Superior or from Lake Superior to the St. Mary's River. 



If she looks familiar, it's because she was showcased on the Discovery Channel's series "Mighty Ships". 

Information and Picture taken from wikipedia.org on November 16, 2013. 
 
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Picture courtesy of.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/jterry618/4790421240/
SS Arthur M. Anderson

Meet the SS Arthur M. Anderson. She is probably the second most famous of the Great Lake Freighters. What makes her famous you ask? Well, if you have ever heard the tales of the most famous Great Lake Freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, then you probably have heard about the Arthur M. Anderson. 

This beautiful ship was sailing near the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975 when the Edmund sank in Lake Superior. They were the last ship to have radio contact with the Edmund crew. The captain and crew sailed this very ship back out into danger to look for the Edmund and to look for any sailors who may have survived. Sadly, they didn't find any survivors. 

Today, the Arthur M. Anderson is still sailing the Great Lakes. She is an American ship owned and operated by Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. She was built by the American Ship Building Company and was launched into the Great Lakes in 1952. She is a Laker Cargo ship and can hold 25,300 tons. She is 767 ft. in length and weighs 26,525 gross tonnage. Her Beam is 70 ft and her draft is 36 ft. When she was built, she was the second of eight other AAA class of Lake Freighter. 

SS Arthur M. Anderson is a true Great Lake beauty. Next time you are around one the upper great lakes, keep an eye out for her. 

Information taken from wikipedia.org on November 16, 2013. 
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Picture taken from.... http://duluthshippingnews.com/2013/04/18/as-i-saw-the-port-on-april-13-2013/
 
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Freighters or ships of the Great Lakes are called "Lakers". This is a picture of the iconic ship "Edmund Fitzgerald" that sank back in 1975 on Lake Superior.
Lakers
Ships of the Great Lakes are also known as "Lakers". One of my favorite things to do when visiting the Great Lakes is to watch for freighters sailing the open water. Lakers are such a large part of our history and our culture here in Michigan. They help our economy keep moving and transport our natural resources to other places along the Great Lakes. After living in the U.P. in a mining community, it's hard not to develop a true understanding of what those freighters mean for the people of this Great State. 
  

Here is some more information on those marvelous freighters that we simply call "Lakers." 


Great Lake vessels carry bulk cargoes. These cargoes often include one of our many natural resources. This includes coal, limestone, iron ore, grain, or salt. They transport many of these goods from the mine to a mill where the goods are transformed into something useful for us. 


Lakers can vary in size. The largest of the fleets are 1,000 footers. Because of their size, they are confined to only traveling the upper Great Lakes; Superior, Erie, Michigan and Huron. They are too massive to fit through the St. Lawrence Sea Way. However, smaller freighters are able to make the voyage from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic along the St. Lawrence Seaway. 

The Great Lakes shipping season begins in March and ends in January. Ships are taken in for repairs while the crewman join land life once again. This is the time when the mariners get to spend time with their families and friends. 


Since Lakers are confined to only the Great Lakes and her fresh water, ships are able to remain in service much longer than Ocean ships. The salt water reeks havoc on the ships metals which in turn creates shorter life spans. 

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This is a picture of "Salties" or Ocean Vessels. If you look at this picture and the picture above, you can see dramatic differences between the "Salties" and the "Lakers". Both pictures were taken from Wikipedia.
Just a little info on the Ocean Vessels.... 


Salties 

Ocean vessels are known as "Salties" around the Great Lakes region. They earned this nickname because they come visiting the Great Lakes from the salt filled oceans. Only certain ships can make the travel from the Atlantic Ocean, along the St. Lawrence Seaway, and into the Great Lakes. Salties have different dimensions than many of the Great Lakes freighters. Larger Ocean vessels do not travel to the Great Lakes because of their additional beam, much like the larger Lakers do not travel to the Atlantic. A ships size determines whether or not they can make the voyage because of the size restrictions of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Salties often visit to pick up loads from Great Lakes ports to take out to Atlantic Ocean ports. However, they are only able to take a partial load while sailing through the Great Lakes because of their deeper draft and lower buoyancy in the Great Lakes fresh water. They will then fill up the rest of their load after departing the St. Lawrence Seaway


Information taken from Wikipedia.org on November 15th, 2013.
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Taken from Great-lakes.net.