Lessons from February

7 Mar

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve been getting some blank contact response forms so if you haven’t heard anything from me, I’m not slighting you!  Please resubmit your forms again, if desired.  Thanks!)

Hello again!  I know it’s been a while since I posted anything on the Free Press and those who’ve been fortunate enough to mosey around Blue Lake in February can guess why… it’s just been so dang nice outside!  I spent the bulk of the month hiking / snowshoeing around the woods of Blue Lake, hot on the trail of a mysterious creature that’s for sure either a Yeti or Hodag, and generally enjoying sunny days and above-freezing temperatures.  Really, it still hasn’t gotten cold (and stayed cold) at all in northern Wisconsin.  With conditions around or above 32F, lake enjoyment has been, unfortunately, sketchy.  Slushiness has prevailed making the lake not too ideal for winter sports.  Every once in a while a snowmobile will zip by, on its way to an ice shack / fishing hole, and I hold my breath.  There is still inches of ice on the lake but… still.  By mid-February many locals had been reporting seeing robins already fluttering about the area.

Here’s a picture that sums up most of February:

Empty Branches against Blue Sky

Yup, it’s been un-snowy with beautiful blue days and a feeling of spring everywhere!  Now many veterans know that spring can be very hard on the emotions up here in the Northwoods because just as you’re getting used to bursts of warmth that you’re convinced are going to last forever, the cold hand of the Norse gods swoop in and deliver arctic blizzards.  But with such freakish weather patterns, perhaps we’re going to get a respite this year.  Ha ha HA!

A few “big ones” were predicted to hit Minocqua throughout the last part of February but nothing materialized.  Then came February 28th.  A huge storm was anticipated for the evening so I was just a bit concerned when I looked out the window that morning and snow was steadily falling.  Perhaps the storm had arrived early, I mused.  Night fell and, around midnight, I wandered into the kitchen for a midnight snack.  As I was rifling through a box of graham crackers, I wondered if I had left a porch light on outside because everything looked so… not dark.  I flipped the wall switch, the light came on, and three letters popped into my head: O-M-G.  Huge snowflakes swirled everywhere, like Blue Lake was inside of a snow globe being furiously shaken by a toddler.  Visibility was about zero and it was hard to tell up from down.  I climbed into bed and fell asleep, trying to remember where I had stashed the snow shovel.

The next morning, in a Leap Day wallop, what appeared to be huge snow drifts stacked one on top of the other in the front yard.  It was hard to tell their dimensions because I gave up on shoveling a front entry path in early-January, so there was already some residual snow on the ground.  But the porch, itself, had about a foot of snow on it.  I opened the door, took two steps into yard and ended up in about knee-deep in snow.  I decided I’d better just call it a snow day.  After all, area schools had been preemptively cancelled the day before (a rarity).  Incidentally, the power was out at the house which turned out to not be such a big deal when one has a mom that fortifies against such things with lots of pre-bottled water and a nifty gas stove.  Besides, the outside temperature was above freezing so not having heat for a little while wasn’t too bad.  (I later found out that the house was one of only 22 in Minocqua without power.)

A lot of snow!

When the power came back on a few hours later, I turned on the television, which along with the radio, got amazing reception in the super dense wet snow covering the area.  I watched reports on all the northern Wisconsin highways and roads that had been shut down and was grateful that, as fate would have it, I had the foresight to go grocery shopping the day before.  I had exactly enough supplies to make 132 cups of coffee so I wasn’t too worried about being snowed in for the day.

It was a good thing I had all that coffee because it took a *while* for the snow ploy guy to come.  I didn’t even attempt to shovel anything because the meteorologists were calling this “heart attack snow” and the news stations were broadcasting from inside ERs where snow shovelers were being admitted by the droves for thrown out backs and other maladies.  When the plow guy eventually came, apologetic and harried-sounding, I understood the delay.  It took the poor thing AT LEAST an hour to clear the driveway.

Snow Stacks Made by Snowplow

Between the Banks

The interesting thing about this snow situation is that it still is not that cold out!  So, while mini-bobcats are moving snow from sidewalks in downtown Minocqua, the overall downfall has been quickly melting into enormous puddles of slush.  The roads are clear and the non-paved areas slick with a muddy slurry.  The storm dumped about 18 inches of good snowman-making snow over the BLMA.  (Some areas of Rhinelander report 30 inches of snow on the ground with previous snowfall.)  Hurry on up if you want to catch a glimpse ’cause today, it was raining!

Piled Up!

Piled Up!

Mostly Clear BLMA Roads


One Response to “Lessons from February”

  1. geetar mama March 9, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I can’t believe that I missed another big one. It seems that no matter where I decide to go, the snow happens someplace else!

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