Monday March 25th, 2019

Greetings and welcome!

Spring is here. The snowmobiling is done for most of us and it is time to catch up over here on my summer blog.

We are in mud season where the snow is melting and the frost is coming out of the ground and making it soft mud. A lot of people like me have to park by the road and walk in and out while the ground dries out on the gravel driveway.

We are seeing days with high temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the upper 50s. A lot of nights do not go below freezing but some like last night and tonight get down into the teens.

We had one heck of a winter. We started with a rain and snow storm that gave us a big layer of ice. That was interesting to get around on but it made a great base for the snowmobile trails.

Later in winter the snow came. I don’t keep exact track of how much and what day, but it seemed like it snowed every other day or every third day for about 6 weeks straight. I know that we had over four feet of snow in February alone, and that Rhinelander broke the all time record of 110” and then some.

Just keeping the driveway plowed and a couple of paths open was a real challenge. After a while the truck couldn’t throw the snow over the 4’ snowbanks and I had to do a lot of the driveway with a snow blower that could.

At one point I measured over 3’ of snow down in the yard. When I buried the plow truck trying to push back the banks I was in almost 5’ of compact snow. The county roads had places with 6-10+ foot snowbanks, and they were running out of room for the snow too.

We really got a lot of snow this winter.

Late in the stormy period the storm changed to rain, and a lot of it. That made it really hard to manage. That snow had to be shoveled off of roofs or they would collapse. You can’t have 3+ feet of snow on the roof and a couple of inches of rain unless you place is really well built or has a steep metal roof.

There are probably people with remote camps that will find them leveled this year. I have seen garages, campers, metal sheds, big metal barns, mobile homes, wood framed cabins, and a lot of other stuff just crushed by the snow.

It was crazy how much snow that we had and how dense that it was. Maybe at that point it wasn’t surprising that it did so much damage.` It really weighed a lot.

I got up close and personal with it digging out two trucks, clearing off the work shed roof, the camper roof, and other snow chores. I would cut a big lane with the snow blower and then shovel foot square cubes of snow down into it to be launched farther by the snow blower. A lot of it was chest deep or more and very compact. The snow blower alone couldn’t do it.

After a while I was getting sick of the snow because I spent all of my time cleaning it up and no time riding my snowmobiles in it.

So all of that snow is going to cause flooding, right? This part caught me by surprise. Yes and no. It depends on the permeability of your soil.

Much to my surprise there was not much frost left in the ground when the big melt started. I expected the flood of floods in my work shed that was surrounded by 4’ snowbanks from the roof snow removal. It flooded a little, but less than usual, and it was done in a week even though the snow was still there melting. I have sandy soil and the water was soaking right in once the frost under the snow broke through.

Other areas that have more clay or more frost saw a lot of water in lowlands and swollen rivers. There is flooding on the Peshtigo down by Marinette and Porterfield.

This should make the whitewater rafting crazy this spring, right? Oh absolutely. They are in for an outstanding spring. Not only is there plenty of snow to run off and make the river big when it rains, a lot is soaking in. That goes into the aquifer and makes base flow, a more gradual but consistent release. That always there base flow makes it where the river will be at good levels no matter what well into May and beyond.

This all comes behind a wet fall. The river was big right into December. A lot of that water got trapped in the upstream wetlands when they froze and soaked in over the winter. That water went into the aquifer too. This year’s base flow will be a good one.

This will be a good whitewater season because you are almost guaranteed good water levels any weekend for at least a month or two. When it does rain the river will jump very nicely.

Call Kosir’s 715-757-3431. They start rafting Saturday April 6th, and Peshfest is April 27 & 28.

I will try to get on top of events this week. I believe that the High Falls area bars miniature golf is this coming weekend.

Welcome back and thank you for visiting!

RJB

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