US. Senior Nationals is only 5 days away, and there are many questions people will ask themselves as they make their way up to Houghton.
“Where is this place?”
“Are you sure we aren’t going to run into Lake Superior?”
“Will my skis make it to the Hancock Airport the same time I do?”
“How many hours a year do people spend shoveling their driveways?”
“What am I going to do here for an entire week?!?”
Well my friends, as a 5th year student and Senior Staff at the Outdoor Adventure Program, it is my job (actually!) to let people know what kinds of activities a person can enjoy during their time in the Keweenaw. Most of these things include getting outside and exploring (ie. Mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, tree climbing, yeti hunting etc.). These activities are great for people who aren’t going to be racing four times in one week, so……..
I’ve adjusted my suggestions slightly and behold, a list of things to do while you’re in the Keweenaw.
1. Look up the ski trails in the area
We have a lot of ski trails in the area, on top of those on the Michigan Tech campus. Think about all of those 2.5k man-made loops you’ve skied. Wouldn’t it be great to do a 3 hour OD and not have to ski the same trail twice?
Also, Watch our super cool interactive trail map/course preview of the US nationals 5k loop!
Trail Genius Map
2. Go to Roy’s or Amy J’s and eat a Pasty
A staple to the mining community pasties are one of the best ways to satisfy the bottomless pit that takes over your stomach after a long workout (post 20k snack anyone?). Traditionally filled with potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, onion, beef and pork, all wrapped up in a neat eatable package, it’s not uncommon for people to dream of these after they leave the UP.
3. Go Bowling
A favorite activity of our head coach, bowling at the Mineshaft is exactly how you remember bowling from gym class in middle school. The family fun, low impact activity is sure to keep you busy for at least an hour.
4. Make friends with a Michigan Tech skier!
I promise we don’t bite.
5. Go to a movie
Yes, there is a movie theater in town. Yes it shows more than one movie at a time. The theater is located just south of Wal-Mart on US-41 in the Copper Country Mall. Or just watch one on the T.V. in your hotel room…. that works too
6. Have an ugly face making contest
7. Go on a campus tour
I’ve never gone on one of these… but I hear they’re good!
8. Make a video about your life
“What Wax Techs Do”
9. Enjoy Hot Cocoa or Cider at the Nara Chalet
On January 6th, there will be a moonlight/candlelight ski & snowshoe event at the Nara trails. Free cocoa and cider will be available to everyone who shows up. (Click on poster for more details.)
10. Go to the KBC
Order up a cold pop and converse with a local. Admire the Yooper Accent.
11. Go on the Quincy Mine Tour
I’ve actually gone on this tour, it’s not bad. The gift shop is pretty neat too. Although the tours don’t run regularly during the winter, it is still cool to walk around on the grounds and see how the mine used to work.
12. Make something that tastes good
Harder for some than for others, this always takes some time. Plus, when you’re done you have some awesome food to eat! (just don’t set off any smoke detectors)
13. Get a hair cut
Makes you feel like a new person and hey, that’s less weight to carry up every hill!
14. Go to Mt. Ripley and have a debate about why Nordic is the better type of Skiing
Because we all know it is.
15. Check out the historical sites in the Calumet area
The Italian Hall Memorial, Laurium Manor, Historic downtown, one of the first concrete roads in Michigan, and more! (Always read the plaque)
16. Go to Breakers and see how the ice sculptures are coming along
This is my personal favorite place to go in late January and February. It feels like you’ve landed on Hoth.
18. Ask any Michigan Tech student their feelings on either
a. The Husky Statue or
b. The computers in the library
If you’re lucky, this conversation will last a good while without too much participation on your behalf.
19. Drive around the Keweenaw (don’t miss the snow thermometer)
It’s a beautiful drive with lots of waterfalls along the way. The snow thermometer is located on US. 41 as you drive up to Copper Harbor. It shows how much snow we’ve gotten so far this year, along with how much we got last year (just about darn near broke the record!)
20. Thrift Stores
There’s one in Houghton, and one in Hancock. You never know what you might find.
21. Build a Snowman
Our students are known for making beautiful snow sculptures during Winter Carnival. Try your hand at it! There’s no lack of snow up here, so if you don’t like what you’ve started there’s always snow to try again.
22. Find the flushing toilet at the MTU Trailhead
(If you find it let me know, I’ve been looking for 5 years…)
23. Shop the little stores downtown (Houghton, Hancock, and Calumet)
I do not like shopping, and even I find that the little stores downtown have some cool things to look at.
24. Watch for the Northern Lights
It’s not uncommon for us to walk out of the labs late at night and see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. Even if the lights aren’t out, the amount of stars you can see from the stadium (our stadium, not the football one) is unbelievable.
25. Read a book
If anything, at least it will help you recover via putting you to sleep. The more I read the more I want to slip into the darkness of dreamworld.
27. Visit a Lighthouse
Being surrounded by Lake Superior, there are a bunch of Lighthouses in the area, all of them beautiful. While you work on completing number 19 (Drive around the Keweenaw) make sure to stop at one of these beautiful buildings.
28. Car Watching
This is like people watching, but instead of watching people do their thing, we set up lawn chairs at the top of a really steep road and watch the cars try to drive up it after a heavy snowfall.
29. Get Crafty
Last year we made a gingerbread house. I wonder what kind of crafts or tasty treats (number 12) we are going to make this year!
Last but not least….
30. Play in the Snow!
Let your inner child run wild and play in the fluffy white stuff. We are super lucky that the great snow machine hasn’t frozen over yet and that we keep getting new fluff every week. This really is a magical place and I hope you can find the same beauty in the Keweenaw that has drawn me back year after year.
Good Luck next week! See you on the trails.