This year’s winter in the Keweenaw was abnormal to say the least, and it seems as if the dreary season has finally given way to spring. Rain has replaced snow and grass is turning green. Mud fills our lawns and puddles fill our streets. The sun and blue skies have returned, and now that the weather is finally getting nice, we are left wondering what to do. After all, we are technically still in a pandemic and not everyone has yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, so spring vacation trips aren’t as frequent as in years past. We still can’t gather in large groups, and social distancing is still the norm. After a long winter, the last thing people want to do is stay inside their house, especially when it’s 60 degrees outside (shorts weather). So, what is there to do? To help you enjoy the season of spring while also sucking up that nice Vitamin D (thank you, sunlight!), I’ve compiled a list of five ways you can enjoy spring in the Copper Country.
Plant a garden
Gardening has loads of benefits, from providing you with physical exercise and healthy, fresh foods to elevating your mood and giving you an excuse to get outside. As the soil thaws, take the time to dedicate a portion of your yard to a garden. Figure out what plants grow best in your climate, and which ones you would most like to eat, and get planning! If you don’t have a yard, you can also do indoor gardening, just get creative! My housemates and I, due to our lack of a backyard, have a windowsill herb garden. The possibilities are endless!
Enjoy an outdoor game
I’m far from athletic, but even I see the fun of getting outside for an afternoon and partaking in a leisurely sporting activity. Grab your roommates and a frisbee, head to a local park (we’re lucky enough to have many in walking distance in the Houghton/Hancock area) and game on! Other easy outdoor games, like Spikeball, cornhole (or beanbag toss, if you’re fancy) and ladder golf are all great ways to get outside and have some fun with those in your COVID bubble.
A hammock is practically an essential in a college town — we’ve all seen the hammock towers in the trees outside of Walker. Hammocking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the spring sun while also enjoying other hobbies. You can chat with friends, read a book, enjoy a handicraft or get some homework done. A change in scenery from your workspace can always be appreciated. Grab a portable bluetooth speaker, a blanket, and get cozy in your hammock. Is it even officially spring if you don’t break out your hammock? Hammocks are fairly cheap to buy from websites like Amazon, Dunham’s or REI, but they are also available from a variety of local stores, such as Down Wind Sports.
Walk a dog
Most dogs love the chance to get outside as much as they can, so now that the weather is nice, why not take your furry friend for a walk? This is great exercise for both your pet and you! Take them for a walk along the portage or through campus — MTU students are always happy to see a friendly face in the terms of your pup. If you’re a cat person, cats also love to go outside! Buy a cat harness and a leash and see if your feline friend has an explorative side. If you don’t have a pet, the Copper Country Humane Society is often looking for volunteers to walk their adoptable pets. Read their latest dog walking update here, or contact them by email: email@example.com or by phone: 906-487-9560 for more information.
Go rock hunting
As the ice melts along Lake Superior, unique natural treasures pop their heads up on its rocky and sandy shores. A variety of gems are available for the picking! Yooperlites, glowing rocks spotted in the dark with the aid of a UV light, are one possible treasure. Many searchers find that after a storm or in the spring are the best times to find these wonders. The Lake Superior agate is another popular item for treasure seekers, with its magnificent colors and many stripes. Sea glass is another popular item found in both the Great Lakes and oceans alike. Rounded from years in the sand at the bottom of tumultuous waters, these pieces of broken glass (from glassware long lost to Lake Superior’s dark waters) commonly make their way back to the shore.Greenstone, found mostly on Isle Royale, is also an option, though it’s extremely rare. If you are going out in search of any of these items, please remember to stay safe, as Lake Superior is extremely unpredictable. Also, be careful not to trespass, and only go to locations that you have permission to be at.