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...
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 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
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.
Yoopers and Trolls
Yoopers and Trolls... two very distinct Michigan terms for two very different groups of people. The only thing these two terms have in common is they both represent Michiganders and that's it!
Let's begin with the Trolls:
Now it's time to explain da Yoopers....
We could go on and on about the differences between Trolls and da Yoopers. We may all be from the great state of Michigan, but we are cearly two separate cultures and identities.
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.
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.
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.
Meet the Stormy Kromer! If you live in or frequent the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (known simply around Michigan as the U.P.), then you probably have heard about, seen, or even wear your very own Stormy Kromer on your head! Personally, I hadn't heard about the Stormy Kromers until I moved to Ishpeming (located in the U.P.) and many of my yooper friends wore these hats. It is the "in" thing around those parts.
After returning back downstate, I learned more about these very hats and quickly realized why these hats are the thing to wear in up north backwoods. The main reason why many yoopers sport these hats during the winter is because they are a product of the U.P. Stormy Kromer hats are made right in Ironwood, Michigan. The hats are also wildly popular because they are designed to help keep you warm when you are outside in the cold and if you know anything about Michigan's Upper Peninsula, then you know it can be QUITE cold around there. These hats are extremely popular with hunters and people who enjoy outdoor sports.
Stormy Kromer now has a full line of hats aimed at women. Not only can you get your hat in pastels and other more "feminine" colors, but you can also purchase them with accents such as flowers.
Don't forget your can of pop or beer...Stormy Kromer also markets can coozies!!
A little extra interesting information from wikipedia....
Stormy Kromer is named for George "Stormy" Kromer, a semi-professional baseball player who later worked as a railroad engineer. Kromer lost many hats to the wind while working on trains, and in 1903 he asked his wife Ida to make him a warm hat that would stay on more securely. She modified a baseball cap into what became the Stormy Kromer cap.
Due to popularity with other employees of the railroad, the Kromers formed the Kromer Cap Company in 1903 to produce the caps. In 1919, due to ever increasing demand, the Kromers opened a factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. George Kromer sold the company in 1965 to Richard Grossman. In 2001, the Kromer Cap Company planned to cease production of Stormy Kromer caps. The rights to the caps were purchased by Bob Jacquart, owner of Jacquart Fabric Products, and production moved to Ironwood, Michigan. Stormy Kromer Mercantile was formed, increasing production to over 50,000 caps annually from the previous 3000-6000 caps.
President Barack Obama was presented with several Stormy Kromer caps when he visited Marquette, Michigan, on February 10, 2011 to speak about wireless communication technologies. It has become a traditional garb in the Upper Peninsula.
A version that is a 'tip of the hat' to the chapeau's Wisconsin roots is available in Green Bay Packers green with the team logo and sold through Lambeau Field.
The hats are unusual in that they carry a lifetime warranty against defects, and a three year "insurance policy" for events such as loss, once the product is registered. Versions for women are available, and they are called the "Ida Kromer" or some variant of "Petal Pusher."