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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Thursday, November 19, 2009



Yoopers are a proud people. We are proud to know we have the right stuff to live in “da U.P.” How many other people would be able to go ice fishing 9 months out of the year, or install snow chains in September? Men of the U.P. are excited by a woman who can field dress a deer. Sometimes the 4th of July picnic has to be moved indoors due to frost. Let’s face it; living in our neck of da woods is a different way of life (and lingo).

Yoopers would not really get too excited about a blizzard or a lake effect snowstorm that dropped 4’ of heavy, wet snow overnight. We’re prepared for that, right? That is something we assume is going to happen; it will drop from the sky and blow around a day or two before things settle down.

What Dan and I saw yesterday does not even begin to compare with some of the snowstorms that we have seen in our 17 years in da U.P. There is really no way I can describe it and I didn’t take my camera yesterday because of the work we were doing, and I didn’t think I would be seeing something like I’m about to TRY to describe to you.

All of us “broke for lunch” and headed off to Rodanthe for a bite to eat. The road was finally cleared off enough so more than just 4 WD vehicles could pass through, but it still was just one lane. The heavy equipment operators were still very busy trying to clear out what had to have been 5’depth of rain soaked sand. The sand had totally obliterated the road way and you know how wide a road is. It had covered the shoulders. Where there had been dunes between the beach houses and the ocean was now flat as a pancake. Even making a dent in this wall of sand was not something that happened overnight….and they still were not finished.

For a while the ferry services were running , at no charge, for the residents who were basically cut off from the “mainland”.

Our snow drops from the sky, the wind howls from the north and west (normally) and we know that our snow storms aren’t usually going to occur till November through April. For these people, sand is there all the time, as is the force of the ocean and the Nor’easters that push it inland. I can’t recall any time where the snow storms have changed the face of the earth, but these dunes are GONE. The landscape is flattened.

What I had referred to as “the remnants of Hurricane Ida” was totally wrong. This WAS a serious Nor’easter and meteorologists referred to it as “the perfect storm”.
The Pea Island office most likely will crumble into the ocean if another strong storm occurs. Between all of us working there the past two days, we managed to get out all the important items and info but there is not a lot of room to store all the things that were in that building. The office quarters for Cindy and Abbey are very cramped, but at least they can work. We moved all of the office equipment, etc into what is actually the interns housing and the interns will still be here till December. No one knows what will happen from here.

The force of Mother Nature still amazes both Dan and I and we are VERY glad that we had chosen to stay at the Alligator River refuge instead of Pea Island. While the ocean is very beautiful and I could sit and watch it for hours on end, we still prefer the ‘wilds’ of Nature, the quietness of early mornings and the smell of the pines.
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  1. Wow! Sometimes it is hard to understand mother nature and what she can do until you are there. Stay safe while you are there and hopefully bigger storms will skirt you next time.

  2. Thank goodness you are there to help them....they made the right decision to have you and Dan there to work because as you know, NO ONE has the work ethic of a YOOPER.
    But be careful of your back...that sand is SO heavy you could hurt yourselves badly.
    What an experience you have had though to have seen all of this in person! I wonder if the storm will affect the ecology enough that the birds and animals you would have seen will now be different?
    How will you be spending your Thanksgiving?

  3. Are you missing our MI weather? It has been relatively warm here which I am enjoying but has made for a quiet deer season. No deer taken up at our Camp Yellow Ring off Cty Rd 500. Tim didn't go up this year; a first since we bought that property in '97. Anyway my brother has been up there a couple with some of our friends. Not much deer to be seen.
    Has Dan thought about grooming any hiking trails yet? LOL! I can imagine the sand being so different to plow than our snow we get!
    Pretty amazing.
    So glad to read your updates and how you are both doing. How is the wind in that RV? Do you have that 5th wheel tied down securely?
    Take care!

  4. Ashely,where we are, about 26 miles inland, we were fine...just very wet for several days.

    Retired One..WE aren't moving sand, thank God! I can't even imagine trying to shovel that stuff off your side walk! And a snowblower wouldn't help!! And you are right about the work ethics of Yoopers. I wished I had thought to mention that as well as my "fun facts" about Yoopers.

    Amy, I will be sure to tell Dan that it appears he isn't missing much this deer season. I think the DNR needs to give the U.P. a rest as far as deer hunting goes. It's been bad for seveal years. Take care and tell Tim HI for us!

  5. sfeutz9:13 AM

    Thanks for your descriptive reporting on the weather conditions where you are. I always thought enduring the UP snowstorms had a lot of advantage over the floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other happenings that people in different parts of the US experience. Stay safe! and you and Dan have a great Thanksgiving..


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