Nature and History
Favorite thing: You must visit the Quincy Mining Company across the bridge in Hancock, take the drive to Copper Harbor, and visit Calumet. Pick up information on the many things to do and see at the Chamber of Commerce located at 902 College Avenue in Houghton. For additional information on the Keweenaw Peninsula see www.kewtrav.com
TIP: To prevent or reduce itching from those pesky mosquitoes and black flies, grind one regular aspirin into a powder, dampen your finger, and apply a small paste of aspirin powder to the bite. Although I was skeptical when told about this, I have tried it. For me, at least, it not only eliminates the itch, but also reduces the swelling.
Fondest memory: Feeding the ducks, geese, and chipmunks. Watching a bald eagle catch a fish from Portage Lake, swimming in the lake on hot summer days, sailing, and hanging out with friends. Viewing the borealis (Northern Lights) that can be sometimes seen late at night.
To see some of the malard ducks that we feed in the summer, watch my video, Feeding Ducks At the Cabin.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The Portage Lift Bridge
Favorite thing: The Portage Lift Bridge is the only bridge that crosses the Keweenaw Waterway, which splits the Upper Peninsula in half. This lift bridge is located between Houghton and Hancock. The first bridge built in this location was built in 1875, and was constructed of wood. A steel bridge later replaced the wooden bridge. The bridge that you see today was built in 1959, and is the heaviest aerial lift bridge in the world. As the name states, this bridge is operated in such a way that the middle section can be raised and lowered. It ranges in height from 4 foot to 100 ft over the water. This bridge is a double deck bridge. At one time the upper level was for vehicles, and trains used the lower level. Since trains no longer travel this route, the tracks have been removed, and it is now a road. In the winter the bridge is lowered, as there are no boats transversing the waterway, and the lower section is then used by snowmobiles, while cars use the upper level. In the summer the bridge is usually left in an up position, which allows automobile and foot traffic to move back and fourth across the waterway, and boats up to 35 feet in height to freely pass under. If a boat is taller than this, then one must call the bridge master and ask that he raise the bridge. When this happens, all traffic must stop until the boat has passed under and the bridge is again lowered to street level.
Fondest memory: My favorite thing is visiting the waterway at night, when it is lit up, casting its reflection onto the Keweenaw Waterway. My photo shows this nighttime view. Photo two is daytime view, and photo three shows the bridge lifted to allow the Ranger to pass under on its way to Isle Royal.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Since Houghton lies along a waterway, bird watchers will enjoy a number of different water birds. One day I was out snorkeling, and when I was about to get out of the water, I saw a family of Mergansers on our beach. Mergansers, are smaller than mallard ducks, and tend to have big families. I counted at least 15 babies in this family. When the babies are just fuzz balls and you see them swimming along they are usually in a straight line, and there are often one or two riding on mom's back. When they are fishing they swim with their faces in the water like snorkelers, then dive when they see something. They are shy birds, and when they come down the shoreline if they see us out, they normally turn and swim way out. We have NEVER seen them sitting on our beach before. So, when I finished my swim, I didn't want them to see me. I carefully stayed in the water and moved down to the end of our property, where I tried to sneak out and up to the cabin and get my camera. Surprisingly I was successful, and was able to take a few pictures from our deck. They stayed on our beach for quite a while, until some mallards moved in right next to them. More and more mallards kept arriving, until the Mergansers decided there was too much of a crowd and left.
Fondest memory: To my big surprise, one year I saw two beautiful, graceful white swans swimming past our cabin. I had never seen this before, nor have I seen it since, but I will never forget the thrill of seeing these unexpected, beautiful birds on our lake.
The most exciting time to be...
Favorite thing: The most exciting time to be in Houghton is the first week in February during the Winter Carnival. The student organizations from the Michigan Tech campus build gigantic ice sculptures and host a variety of events lasting the entire week.
You must visit Michigan...
Favorite thing: You must visit Michigan Tech... they have a great engineering school and had a really hip radio station when my friend Aaron was a DJ there! Other things that I did - I swam in Lake Superior... it wasn't unbearably cold. I also went cliff diving while I was up there. My friend Aaron got attacked by leaches when he decided to sit around in quiescent pool.
Fondest memory: My 20th birthday. I played on Chutes and Ladders and then had ice cream with my co workers.
visit during Winter Carnival. ...
Favorite thing: visit during Winter Carnival. Winter Carnival is a 2 week event Michigan Tech puts on every year starting the last week of January. The size of the town triples during this time, so make reservations early. There are 4 story snow sculptures, human ice bowling, hockey games, winter carnival queen competition, and human dog sled races. It is definately the highlight of the year.
Fondest memory: Working on the skits and statue for Winter Carnival. It was alot of work, but worth it after celebrating when finished.
The Portage Lake Lift Bridge
Favorite thing: Houghton's most distinguished structure, IMHO, is the Lift Bridge that connects it with the town of Hancock and the Keweenaw Peninsula to the north.
According to a highly reliable source (okay, it's Wikipedia), this is the heaviest and widest vertical lift bridge IN THE WORLD. How about them apples?
There is a pedestrian path that allows for people to walk - or bicycle - across. And in the wintertime, the lower level of the bridge is open for snowmobile traffic. Don't you love the U.P.?
- Road Trip