Family Journal: Hike to Timber Lake


Yesterday I took the boys on a hike to Timber Lake. The lake is located about 10 miles west of Iron River, just off of US 2. I really like Timber Lake because there is no public access to the lake for boats. There are also no cottages on the lake. The only way to get to the lake is to take the 1 mile+ hike in from the trail head.

We spent a wonderful afternoon on the shores of the lake. We were sitting around the house and my brother was watching television in the lazyboy. I don’t like the kids to watch too much television so I put them in the car and headed west. They enjoy hiking, as they pick up sticks and pretend they are weapons. We went for a swim and drank pop and I read from the “Choose Your Adventure” series. Owen had a leech on his sandal and we tried to identify it. We also saw a squirrel, woodpecker, and a slug. The highlight was when we were packing up. We had talked about all of the animals that could possibly kill you in the northwoods, such as a pack of wolves, bear, cougar, etc. All of a sudden a German Shepard dog came running up to us. It was a friendly dog and just wanted to play. It had a big red collar on it. But it terrified Oliver as he was caught on the shore of the lake and the dog between him and us. All of our talk on how we would defend ourselves against a hungry pack of wolves didn’t help him as he just paniked. I quickly intervened and put him on my shoulders. The dog was owned by a woman who was also coming to the lake.

We had the lake to ourselves for 4 hours. We also heard the call of the loon. A great day together and introducing the boys to the rejuvenating effects of wilderness. I wish Iron County had more lakes like Timber. Most lakes have cottages on them or one can hear the drone of motor boats. That is what makes Timber Lake special.

Can Anyone Identify This Species of Freshwater Leech
Can Anyone Identify This Species of Freshwater Leech

Family Journal: July 5, 2009


Wild Men, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Yesterday we drove up to Marquette, Michigan to go shopping at the Target Store located there. We wanted to buy a duna for Ocean, shoes for the kids, as well as get a new set of pillows and towels for my Dad. Without my mother, he lacks that woman’s touch around the house.

After Target, we hit the beach as you can see. Marquette is my favorite town in the UP. It is the largest at around 20,000, and has a university (Northern Michigan University). It is located on Lake Superior and receives 144 inches of snow per year. It is one of the few places I would come back to live in the USA if I could find a good job there.


Lake Superior is a huge freshwater inland sea. It is the largest of the Great Lakes and always pretty cold. We all got in yesterday, but not for that long. The kids really enjoyed the sandy beach, making sand castles, playing football, skipping rocks, and burying each other.

In the morning we watched the Federer versus Roddick final.

Silver Lake – Srebrno jezero

Ocean at the Dock of the Silver Lake Resort
Ocean at the Dock of the Silver Lake Resort

While visiting the Golubac Castle, we stayed at the Silver Lake Hotel. The “Lake” is actually an extension of the Danube, or an “oxbow” in technical terms. Silver Lake is cut off from the Danube by a dam and the place is a popular holiday destination for Serbs. The hotel has seen better days and was probably built in the 1980’s during the communist era of Serbia. The staff was extremely friendly and despite the uncomfortable beds and foul-smelling tap water in the hotel, we really enjoyed our stay. The most important thing was the kids had a blast and that was the whole point of going.

We swam both Friday night and Saturday afternoon in the lake. We had a scare on Saturday morning. Nadia was applying sunscreen to Oliver and I was trying to catch a frog for Owen. Ocean happened to go into the water and slipped and went under the surface. Owen yelled immediately, warning me, and a I quickly pulled her out. It was a good lesson for us on taking three children to a body of water. An accident can happen so quickly and we need to be extra vigilant. Ocean was a bit scared, but quickly lived up to her name and went back into the water. It was extremely hot and the cool water of the Danube made it a pleasant day. I am always amazed at the fascination kids have with the water’s edge. They could have played there the entire day.

A resort is being developed there. It is like a gated community, with I assume most of the vacation cottages being built by Belgraders wanting a vacation home. There are several restaurants as well as a marina, tennis club, stores, etc. I read of plans to build newer hotels, which would be nice. There were many ads offering rooms and apartments for rent also.

The Boys Enjoying A Mid Summer Nights Swim
The Boys Enjoying A Mid Summer Night's Swim

The place reminded me of the lakes in Michigan as well as a bit of Ada Ciganlija, but without the crowds. I would go back, but perhaps renting a private apartment instead of going to the hotel. Some of the other highlights were catching frogs, a fantastic lunch at the Amici Restaurant, and the quiet escape from the city. Nadia went for a run and we discovered a bike trail that goes along the river and definitely worth coming back with bicycles on a weekend. The waiters at the restaurant loved our children and appreciated my learning of Serbian. I am actually starting to be able to communicate in Serbian!

Lake Superior Pilgrimage – Family Journal July 13-14, 2008


Ontanogan City Park, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Sunday we drove up to Ontonogan for our annual trip to one of the Great Lakes. My town of Caspian is located an hour from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and every summer we try to at least spend a day at the beach. We usually go with my brother’s family and our good friends the Bonettis. This year Jim couldn’t make it, but we went up with Mark, his wife Danell, and children Brandl and Lauren.

We wanted also to explore the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It was about 90 miles away from Caspian. We stayed at the Superior Shores Resort located on the Lake about 6 miles outside of the park. The annual trip is also a celebration of “Yooper Culture” and we try to stay in locally owned motels and eat in local restaraunts.

Lake Superior is one of my favorite places in the world. It has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world (82,178 km square). It’s average depth is 149 meters. It is the Lake that took down the ss Edmond Fitzgerald in 1975, memorilized in that famous song by Gordon Lightfoot. British poet Rupert Brooke had noted in 1913, “These monstrous lakes, which ape the oceans, are not proper to fresh water or salt. They have souls, and they are wicked ones.” It is also a very cold lake, with an average temperature of 40 degrees F. The lake is huge and cold and beautiful. (I like that Hemmingway-esque description)

The weather was cold on Sunday, we we loved it. After we settled in to the motel, we went for a hike at the Lake of the Clouds inside the park. We made it down to the lake in back. In the evening we went to the Kontecka Supper Club in near by White Pine. This is a dying little town near the park. There used to be a big copper mine, but when it shut down in the late 80’s, so did most of the town. The club feeds local wild bears and it was great the kids had a chance to watch the big black bears come in. I do not like this artificial feeding, but it has helped the club survive. Many tourists go there to watch the bears and have a bite to eat.

The next day we made a short stop at Bonanza Falls after lounging at the motel and a pancake breakfast at Syl’s Cafe in Ontonogan. There was a bad smell downtown Ontonogan from the big paper mill. The mill makes corrugated cardboard and employs around 300 people. We then drove just east of town and there is a nice public beach on the lake. It was a nice sunny day and we really enjoyed a day at the beach. I took the photo of Owen above.

We came home and then I took the kids up to the weight room as my brother needed to watch the football players. You can click on our flickr photos to see more photos from the trip. I would like to that Mark and Danell for being such wonderful company!

Fathers’ Day – June 15, 2008

Fathers & Sons, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

It was a wonderful Fathers’ Day holiday yesterday for us. The bright sunshine, cool breeze, and spending lots of time together made it wonderful. We started the day off with the traditional St. Cecilia’s Church Father & Son Breakfast. It was held in the basement of our family’s Catholic Church in Caspian. My parents are devout Catholics and I spent a lot of time there growing up. It was nice that all of my father’s sons and grandsons could be in attendance.

We then took the kids up to the Caspian Community Center playground. That is another place where I spent much of my youth. The center was built in the 1921 during the mining boom days and it is still open today. New playground equipment was donated by the De Paoli family for the children of Caspian. There are also tennis and basketball courts. Inside during the winter, it is open after school for kids. We used to play board games, play hoops in the gym downstairs, play pool, etc.

In the late afternoon Jim and I took Owen and Tony on a hike to Minnie Lake. We wanted to give a chance for Oliver and Beau to sleep. We parked the car just off of 424 and walked to the lake and around. I love the beautiful northwoods and the boys had a great time too. We then stopped in at Katy’s Bar to have a drink with my Dad before supper.

In the evening we all went to Nelson Field. Nadia ran several kilometers and the kids played and ran around. They were tired by the time we came home.