Tag Archives: mining

The UP + my mining ramblings

It was a chilly Friday morning when I pried my eyes open and packed my suitcase. Brian started the coffee brewing and I threw some clothes in my luggage. Traveling with running gear means I have gotten very efficient with my packing, since I need, at the minimum, an extra pair of shoes, extra clothes, and an extra jacket.

We hit the road early enough, around 7, and the views were beautiful. 

Before I knew it, I found myself with no service. That’s the sign of a good adventure. 


We stopped for gas and I picked up a delicious dark chocolate bar…


We were up in Marquette, Michigan, which is about as far north as you can get without being in Canada. 🙂 Our friends, the Almond Tree, needed some help on a busy weekend, so we ran their booth at the UP Builders show.

 We set up the booth and worked on Friday afternoon, then slept soundly in the hotel, and I woke up early on Saturday to go for a run along the big lake.




   It was a cold, windy run along the water, but Marquette is a beautiful place. Even though I was tired, and it was cold, I’m glad I woke up early for this run. I always am, but it doesn’t make it any easier to get out of my nice cozy bed. I hit up Marquette’s co-op for breakfast (and coffee!), then we worked at the booth all day Saturday. A couple years ago, on a trip to Marquette, we found this fabulous Cajun restaurant, so we couldn’t wait to go there for a late dinner. It’s hard to find, since their main door is tucked in an alley, but it is worth the chase.




Another sound night with full bellies, and Sunday morning came awfully early. We don’t always go to Marquette, but when we do, it’s on a time change weekend. With the end of daylight savings, and the time zone change, I felt two hours off my normal schedule. I still rallied for another run in the snow, knowing I had hot coffee waiting for me when I got back to the hotel.





Towns like Marquette really make me think about my life as an active conservationist. This area has literally been built around mining- the newspaper is even called the Mining Journal! I’ve never really considered myself an extremist, and I pride myself on trying to understand all sides of the issues before I take a solid stance. Sometimes, though… I find myself surrounded by people who feel the same way I do, and use the same arguments I do, and it’s really easy to find myself saying things like, “Mining is a terrible and destructive industry and I am opposed to it.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I’m not willing to give up copper and steel and gemstones and gravel and a million of the other things that are the spoils of mining. I do believe that there are environmentally destructive locations, methods, and times to mine, and I hope that we can find the least destructive way to take what we need, and no more… and that we find a way to restore the abandoned mines and reconnect our resources.

Whoa, rant over. Anyway… we had a good last day at the show, stopped for whitefish tacos and I drank this delicious beer…  …and we hit the road for the four hour snowy ride home.  

One more adventure under my belt. Up next? Flowers, Thai food, and running our mountain. Thanks for reading!

Miles this year: 156.35

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Ashland and the Penokee Hills

One of my favorite things about Trout Unlimited is that I get to travel all over our state to visit new places, learn about the local challenges to water quality, and even catch a few cuties (the fish, of course!).
Our fall meeting was up in Ashland, Wisconsin. It was a chilly weekend, and rained a bit on Saturday. It even snowed on the drive home!
We stayed at the Hotel Chequamegon, and it has a beautiful view! It’s too bad that I didn’t have time to hang out and enjoy that view… We had work to do!

The meeting was productive, as always, and it was so nice to see all my TU friends. 🙂


After the meeting, my friend Bill Heart took some of us on a tour of the Penokee Hills, near the mine site. The area is beautiful, and it breaks my heart to imagine those hills basically inverted for a taconite mine. There are beautiful streams running through there!





Bill also took us over to a Native American (Lac Courte Oreilles) camp that had been set up in the area- they used to call it Penokee Harvest camp, but now it is the HELP Project. HELP stands for Harvest Educational Learning Project. It was an amazing experience- we were welcomed right in and they showed us all around. Mel was a particularly helpful tribal member- he gave us the grand tour.





Wild rice!

Mel specifically pointed out this rock…

At first glance, it looks like any other kind of rock, but up close, you can see little spiderweb-like structures inside.

Do you know what that is? Asbestos. That might be exactly what environmentally-concerned citizens need to prevent this mine from going in- breaking up those rocks in the mining process would release asbestos into the air. It’s every bit as dangerous as it sounds, and it’s very difficult to mine in areas with asbestos without endangering the people who live there.
Thanks, Bill… You’ve opened my eyes once again. I love my TU friends.


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