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Blue Lake Ice Out 2014

9 May

It’s been a long… long… long… time, folks.  And a long… long… winter.  It’s fitting then, that this post be momentous.  So hear ye, hear ye… grab your swim trunks, snorkels and skis because Blue Lake has melted!! MK reports that the ice went out on ol’ blue on Wednesday, May 7th, inching up on last year’s record May 8th ice out by a mere day.

For some awesome pictures (per the request of JA) on the de-icing, and the launch of the loon platform, check out this slideshow from The Blue Lake Preservation Association!

Ray Dietrich Has Passed Away

8 Dec

Sad news as beloved Blue Lake maestro Ray Dietrich has passed away. Mr. Dietrich was loved around the lake for his friendly spirit, musical flair and great smile.

From JS Online:

Dietrich, Raymond H. Friday, December 6, 2013, age 91 years. Beloved husband and best friend of Ellie (nee Zilisch) for 65 years. Loving Father of Joan (Joel) Lueneburg, Ann (Dick) Cotter, and John Dietrich. Brother of Janis (Willard) Reck and the late Audrey (the late Rudolph) Hoppe. Loving grandfather to Tim (Jordyn), Chris, and Amanda Cotter and Justin, Allyson, and Elise Lueneburg. Also survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Raymond was deeply devoted to his family, his church, and his community. His love of music as an educator and church musician in the Milwaukee community spans 67 years. A graduate of Bay View High School, he attended UWM where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in 1948. The following year, he earned his Master’s of Music degree from the University of Michigan. He then returned to his alma mater, Bay View High School, where he was Chairman of the Music Department, Director of Choral Activities for 35 years, and responsible for the highly noteworthy Spring musicals, until he retired in 1984. From 1951 to 1997, Dietrich also served as Director of Music at Ascension Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, and after retiring continued as the Director Emeritus of Choirs. He proudly served his country with the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII as a corporal in the squadron 331st Bombardment Group and was recognized for his service in 2011 as a member of the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight to Washington DC. Urged on by former Bay View High School choir members, Dietrich recently came out of retirement to organize and conduct an Alumni Choir of 70 voices. In 2009 he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Milwaukee Civic Music Association. In May 2011, Bay View High School’s auditorium was renamed the Raymond Dietrich Auditorium. Ray Dietrich inspired generations of Milwaukeeans through his profound dedication and passion for music the arts. One of Raymond’s greatest loves, which generated wonderful memories and great times with family and friends, is the Dietrich Family lake home on beautiful Blue Lake, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Visitation MONDAY, December 9, 2013, 4:00 PM – 6:45 PM at ASCENSION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 1236 So. Layton Blvd. Funeral Services at 7:00 PM. Private interment Arlington Park Cemetery. In memorial, gifts and contributions are welcome and appreciated for either The Raymond Dietrich Music Scholarship: a scholarship to be set up for a graduating student of music from Bay View High School, or for Ascension Lutheran Church. A special thank you to Wheaton Franciscan Home Health and Hospice Services and our very special team of nurses, Caitlin, Terri, and granddaughter Amanda.

Summer Has Arrived!

1 Jul

Quick, before you miss it, it’s SUMMER in Northern Wisconsin. After weeks upon weeks of cold and rainy weather (which I suppose qualifies as “spring” around these parts), impeccably sunshine has finally arrived for July.   Camp Agawak is in full-swing now with sounds of lively campers and the hustle and bustle of adolescence  resounding from northern Blue Lake.  Plenty of folks have their pontoons afloat and the season of sunset cruises has begun.  Despite ice-cold waters (a neighbor claims the lake is 72 degrees but I am doubtful), waterskiers and tubers have wasted no time in making the most out of Blue Lake’s unfrozen glory.

Beautiful Blue Lake (07/01/13)

Beautiful Blue Lake (looking east, 07/01/13)

Lovely evening on Blue Lake (06/30/13)

Lovely evening on Blue Lake (looking at Agawak, 06/30/13)

 Water Flowing Through Outlet

 And while summer is here (hopefully to stay), lake residents will notice some interesting effects of a very wet spring.  For the first time in about a decade, water is now flowing out of Blue Lake’s outlet.  Water began trickling out of the outlet in early June, and now there is a veritable creek carrying Blue Lake’s overflow to swampy pastures, just like the good ol’ days.

Water flowing through Blue Lake outlet

Water flowing through Blue Lake outlet

Water flowing out of Blue Lake

Water flowing out of Blue Lake

 An extended winter and super-short spring has also created a puzzle of what berries are going to be ready when. Northwoods locals are reporting blueberry bushes lacking flowers (a bad sign for a delicious crop, or any crop at all) and strawberries just coming into season (a few weeks later than normal). No word yet on raspberries or my favorite fruit, blackberries. I am inclined to think that a cooler season will make apples extra-delicious this fall.

Unstoppable Wildlife

Despite a topsy-turvy season, wildlife has flocked back to Blue Lake.  Eagles have once again returned to the aerie above the red boathouse and a new generation of eaglets are a’squawk in the nest.  Back in Blue Lake’s waters, a loon has been cruising around the lake carefully carrying its new baby on its back.  Check the southern lake shores around dusk to see an otter swimming to and fro.

 Lightning Strikes Again

Blue lake’s outlet isn’t the only outlet that’s seen action this past month.  A bolt of lightning from a powerful thunderstorm hit a tree on northwest Blue Lake, decimated a power box from a nearby house, blew out all the house’s outlets and singed the house’s curtains.  Amazingly, the house still stands, unburned.  In another storm in June, lightning hit close to Blue Lake Pines and wreaked havoc on their internet connection.  These two lightning strikes are part of at least four (two on Hacker Drive, one on Blue Lake Pines Road, and one on Blue Lake Point Road) that have electrified Blue Lake over the last three years.

Tree struck by lightning (northwest Blue Lake)

Tree struck by lightning (northwest Blue Lake, click on picture for larger view)

Another view of the tree struck by lightning (northwest Blue Lake)

Another view of the tree struck by lightning (northwest Blue Lake, click on picture for larger view)

Love is in the Air

 Fair weather or foul, Blue Lake has once again proven an excellent place to get hitched. Blue Lake Pines hosted a wedding a few weeks ago, which saw a lucky couple serendipitously take advantage of 12 hours of nice skies amongst days of dreariness for an outdoor wedding picnic catered by Charlie’s Cheese. Best wishes to the new couple!

Onward!

As summer slips on in dazzling greens and blues, keep these dates in mind:

  • July 4th – Pontoon Parade @ 11:00 AM (decorate your boat and meet up near the bridge for a parade around the lake.) Special request: Folks on the western part of Blue Lake are interested in seeing the parade too!  Don’t zoom by so fast this year so we can appreciate all the great decorations!
  • July 6th – BLPA Picnic @ Yawkey Park in Hazelhurst from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Greetings from Blue Lake

Greetings from Blue Lake

How The Ice Went Out

13 May

Ice out for most of Blue Lake happened late afternoon on May 8, 2013.  Here’s a pictorial timeline:

May 7, 2013 - Morning

May 7, 2013 – Morning

May 7, 2013 - Morning

May 7, 2013 – Morning

5-8 AM

May 8, 2013 – Morning

May 8, 2013 - Morning

May 8, 2013 – Morning

May 8, 2013 - Morning

May 8, 2013 – Morning

5-9 AM

May 9, 2013 – Morning (first full day of open water)

May 10, 2013 (sunny, like the lake should be)

May 10, 2013 (sunny, like the lake should be)

In case you’re wondering how ready the lake is for open-water activities, as of May 10th, barefoot waterskiiers, loons and kayakers have been spotted on the lake.  So if you’re not up here already, hurry on up before it freezes again!

May Report: Blue Ice

5 May
Blue Ice on Blue Lake - May 5, 2013

Blue Ice on Blue Lake – May 5, 2013

Here’s where we stand on Cinco de Mayo: Blue Lake is still very much frozen. The ice is getting darker, more blue-ish, which all signs point to a step in the right direction towards ice out. There appears to be a bit of open water near the weed bed / Seagull Island. Wildlife is acting all sorts of crazy with paddlings of ducks roaming the woods, seemingly confused about the lack of open water. Fishing opener was yesterday and tourism in Minocqua was at about 1/2 strength compared to last year. Everyone seems to be fleeing towards the flowing waters down south.

Take these variables into consideration:

  • Wausau lakes have been open for a week
  • Tomahawk lakes have opened up the last few days
  • The mini-pond by Save More has been open for about 3 days
  • Lake Minocqua is mostly frozen with a few open areas
  • The forecast: mostly sunny, high of 70, low of 40 the next 3 days
  • Past Blue Lake Ice Outs: April 18, 2010 / about April 1, 2011 / March 21, 2012

Two Months Worth of News

28 Apr

Cold and Snowy:

Snowy Driveway Conceals Directional Signs

Snowy Driveway Conceals Directional Signs, March 13, 2013

Still Snowy:

April 28 Blue Lake

Blue Lake (looking north) – April 28, 2013

Seriously, Guys, It’s Snowy:

Lake Minocqua - April 28, 2013 (70 degrees and frozen solid)

Lake Minocqua – April 28, 2013 (70 degrees and frozen solid)

Cautiously Hopeful:

Muddy Bearskin Trail Trailhead, Minocqua

Bearskin Trail Trailhead, Minocqua – Muddy but people are desperate to ride bikes!

Blue Lake’s Snowy Valentine

16 Feb

Big snow is still holding strong and measuring at least a foot deep in some spots on Blue Lake as a respectable early month snowfall continues to provide a nice bed for incoming fronts. Very dense and heavy snow fell on the BLMA early this week, coating every branch in the woods in beautiful white. Slick roads and big trucks proved a big jammer Wednesday, with folks attempting to travel down Agawak Road reporting a lumber-laden truck stuck perpendicular to the road and blocking both lanes of traffic. Snowmobiles, skiers and ice fisherman have been spotted around the lake, with one angler reporting that zero catches but a lot of bait steals. Relatively mild temperatures in the 20s and 30s for most of the week have meant lots of wildlife to see, with plenty of plump squirrels and rabbits creating prairie-dog like burrows in the snow.

Blue Lake Snowy Overhang

Blue Lake Road, East of Blue Lake Island Road, 02/11/13

Bobcat Lake Road

North of Blue Lake, Around Bobcat Lake Road, 02/11/13

Snowy Pines, Corner of Agawak Road and Blue Lake Road 02/11/13

Snowy Pines Looking Like Frosted Gingerbread Trees, Corner of Agawak Road and Blue Lake Road 02/11/13

Heading into the weekend, temperatures plummeted, into minus belows, with winds blowing strong out of the north.  People went cross-country skiing.  People cried.

Cross-Country Skiing to Frost Bite, Blue Lake Heading East 02/15/13

Cross-Country Skiing to Frost Bite, Blue Lake Heading East 02/15/13

On Blue Lake, Big Basin, Looking West 02/15/13

On Blue Lake, Big Basin, Looking West 02/15/13