Trail Clearing October 24th, 20th Annual Snowflea coming soon!

 

 

 

October 8th, 2015the overlook, Goulais River

 

Dearest ___________,
I regret to say I have not dropped by this blog in a while.

Time not only slips – He stomps! …and all those quick links, like Facebook and tweets and Messenger are sad but useful substitutes still able to keep up to those seven-league boots that Time stomps around in.

So “here’s to” this obsolete yet good ol’ Lodge Blog. Please pretend it’s an honest to goodness letter, one with a stamp and a faint scent of the northern woods hovering about it. The mysterious stain at one end of the envelope is from being dropped in a puddle en route to the mail ladies’ van. You can even see where I started to write “CAN” instead of “USA” under your street address. That was your first clue that within lies a chain letter, mimeographed with a space left blank where I have written your name in by hand. That personal touch, you know! 😉

However, even while aware that others are reading these same words, you are pleased to belong to an appreciated and important group of people who are friends of this little piece of paradise, home of Bellevue Valley Lodge. And Enn and I hope you are still interested in hearing our news; we relish yours, even if the postcards are few, and far between arrivals!

There is a cold wind in the air today – and rain, beautiful rain. The grey skies and mist are enhancing the palette of crimsons and flame orange of the forest, at peak colour right now. Our fall season is a month late, and I apologize for blithely telling people who inquired in the summer that the best colour to view this wonder is in September. I’m so sorry, but for thirty years it WAS! As well as slow in changing, this season has been gentle, no storms or wind to tear the trees apart, or make log-jams of the trails.

We have been taking advantage of these halcyon days, and working on many repairs and upgrades to the buildings and immediate yard. We are replacing the upper deck on the main house, and have installed a full cooking range in the chalet. Good news for the squirrels and the chefs! ….new front stairs, and a more gradual approach to the pond will make the sauna crowd happy, and new cupboards, counter and sink in the main kitchen make me a happier breakfast host! We’ve built a bonfire and seating area where Clancy used to hang out. Some other 21st century improvements include a better HearthStone wood stove in the chalet, and the ability to take payments by credit card or debit, instead of those paper things that came in a book… what was that called, anyways?
I still have to repair this website, but being outside is more enticing. We are excited to be going into the winter months mostly prepared and rested, anticipating our snow friends, old and new, and continuing to add to the ranks of the Telemark Tribe! Even Searchmont has caught the Tele-ski virus, the new management has great plans unfolding for the mountain, and is creating off-piste glades for the powder-lovers.

And appropriately, here at Bellevue Valley Lodge, the 20th Annual Snowflea Telefest is planned for February 20th, 2016. (…synchronistic or WHAT? 😉
Reserve early, it’s a milestone for sure. It has been 20 years, and we are still counting …!
Coming up even sooner – at this time of year we go tromping the woods, clearing downfalls, branches and other snaggy things to make this incredible trail network for backwoods skiing one of a kind.
Please join us if you can in two weeks time – Saturday October 24th for our Lopp-It-Good weekend! Wield a saw, axe or armload, and we’ll provide the bed and board in return.

…and if you want a real life report – call or email ….we would love to hear your news in real time too! Until then, thanks for reading!
Have fun, keep well, and prepare for the snow flies,
Yours,
Robin and Enn (with Suvi and Heikki)Enn steps into spacerobin and suvi

Annual Fall “Lopp-It-Good” – happening November 8th 2014

Hi folks,

A lovely little nip is in the air today – you can smell snowflakes in the stratosphere. Yes, you can! 😉

All the maple and poplar leaves have been set free, swirling in huge drifts over the yard. Raking has been a chore with these huge northeasterly blows happening all week. Only the rubrous oak and citrine tamarack are stubbornly holding on to perk up the hillside views.

Enn is walking the mountain this weekend, making note of large windfalls and areas that need some saw work to keep the turns safe this winter.

mike marie conner loppet

We’ve planned the big trail clearing on November 8th and 9th … if you can join us, we would love to have you!

And ……..Snowflea Telefest is planned for February 20th – 22nd 2015.

This will be our 19th Annual! I hate to admit how many more years we have been tromping these woods, clearing deadfall and limbs to make this incredible trail network for backwoods skiing one of a kind.  Lopp it Good weekend asks for your participation in exchange for room and board … it’s a great way to get a deer’s eye view of our ski area, and become a part of the tribe, whether you love to make Telemark turns or prefer to snowshoe! Give us a call or send us an email for more information, or to reserve a bed – hope to see you soon.

Fall is Featured!

Fall maplesGosh, that summer just flew past – even though it was a difficult one to enjoy.
Global warning has made an impact on us here in the Great Lakes region, it was cool and wet, and not a warm summer season. However we did have enough rain for the gardens, and the ground water levels are high. And there is no denying that the higher water levels in Superior have made The Big Lake happier – no long walks necessary to get to a swim in the shallows of the sandy bays, and lots of great wave viewing opportunities from the rocky cliffs! No, it was the amount of biting insects that made this summer rather a hellish one.
We often host guests who cannot believe that we have so few people per square mile – and that prices for cottage land are relatively low. Those are the poor misguided souls who have never had to run screaming for their lives – from hordes of mosquitos! June and July are screen-porch months – and smoky fires during the day. The happiest way to enjoy a day out-of-doors in June is from the surface of a lake! Thank goodness for kayaks and canoes – offshore travel that keeps you out of the bug-lands.
…I have been thinking a lot this year about the effort it takes to live north of the 49th parallel – it can seem at times that the amount of effort, money and planning is not commiserate with the rewards of where we live. As I get older and become more discerning about what I put my energy towards, it becomes obvious that at least half of our resources and time goes towards staying alive in this aggressive climate! That extends not only to gathering fuel and food, but also to creating activities and arts in an underpopulated and remote region of the country, necessary to build and maintain culture and community – things that people in a more urban environment take for granted.
Missing out on the simple rewards of a good summer growing season, and weather suitable for basking in the sun can really make you feel overextended and bitter in the face of all that effort.
Viewing the sudden blaze of autumn somehow helps us reflect on our thoughts and centre our mood – akin to hearing a church organ swell with a huge note of praise, or being given a gift of worth no money could buy …. our spiritual reward for the “sow, toil and reap”  –  of collecting food, heat and habits to get us through those cold dark months. This land really comes into its own celebration in September and October – harvest season is always spectacular, with the maple forest ablaze in colour, and the clear clean air allowing for views that sparkle! Visiting a new farmers’ market venture, or taking part in organising a community festival makes you realise that the rewards are sometimes gained through the process, not the outcome.
So after a few trying months, we greet the blessing of Indian summer like an old friend – we have given up on tanning, and gardening, I hear Doris Day singing “what will be, will be”! – and we can open our hearts to the bittersweet few weeks of fall. One week of warmth and t-shirt weather in this season is worth two months of fickle summer – our northern afternoons are warm with possibilities, thick with golden light and rich in sensations. Crisp apples and carrots, the last monarchs and sandhills heading south, within the startling contrasts of the colour wheel. Nordic blue of sky and water, set against mustard yellow fields and vermillion woodlands becomes a therapy session for your soul. Driving into the Sault from Goulais River is a feast for the eyes, soothing and uplifting, a euphoric better than any mood enhancing drug. You forget all about the trials and tribulations of the summer season, and swear to one and all that you live in a paradise and feel sorry for anyone unable to share in this glory – and even wax poetic about the best yet to come, yes, SNOW! 😉
Cleaning the skis and planning some gatherings to enjoy your friends, old and new, helps out too!

Spring flings wings!

Sunday morning chorus … so many happy travelers have arrived back home this week! Flutebird (hermit thrush) got back late last night, his song overlapped with an early morning barred owl. Yesterday it was Wagtail (eastern phoebe) who stood out as newcomer. The Yakker family (northern flickers) were quiet for a few days, but are now making a huge fuss – perturbed that the rotten poplar where they have nested in for a few springs has fallen; checking out several other suitable spots. Mr. Cutthroat (rose breasted grosbeak) is high in the treetops, sounding like an oriole.

There are a pair of eastern bluebirds hanging out near the compost piles; we put up a nestbox but I think the hole is too big for their liking.

Robins, sand hill cranes, nuthatches, brown creeper, downy, hairy, and three-toed woodpeckers, a mourning dove, purple finch, chickadees, bluejay, redpolls, pine siskins, goldfinch, several wandering ducks, boat-tailed grackles, red-wing blackbirds, and a drumming partridge also featured solo in the choir this morning. Yesterday while raking the yard I was spy-hopped by a turkey vulture, kestrel, kingfisher, a marsh hawk, and my ever scrap-hopeful raven couple and their cousin, Jet the Crow. Jet doesn’t want the ravens around suddenly – his partner must be sitting on a nest somewhere close by “his” territory. The ravens nest a bit earlier, but I probably saw one of the nesting partners and a juvie “helper” …out cruising for a treat.

Have not yet heard the white-throated sparrow, brown thrasher, catbird, or vireo this spring- a few warblers in the woods but no sign of the black-throated blue, the olive, or the black and white, at least here near the house, where they like to pick bugs from the copse of hazel out in front.
Later on in May, just after the sand cherries bloom, I will watch for those far-ranging travelers – the scarlet tanager and indigo bunting. Always a relief when they make it back here from the tropical lands.

I’m sure that the hummingbirds must be back – anyone seen one yet?