So today was the first day of semester two, hence the “take two” title. It is also my 14th second semester start-up…wow, I’m getting old! That being said, as a teacher I always like the start of second semester, since it means that we are now on the downward slide toward summer. Before you know it the snow will be gone and the days will be long and warm. And then I’ll be on vacation for two months! There is however a lot that needs to happen before that point; five months of teaching, assessment for learning, Vimy Ridge trip, spring football camp…yikes. I’m sure though, when all is said and done, it will be one huge blur!
Speaking of football, yesterday was the Superbowl. There are no numbers yet, but I would assume that millions of people around the world watched the game. I host an annual party for my friends; the food and the company certainly make for a great time. Unfortunately, I was not particularly pleased with the result. I’m no New England lover, but as a long-time Cowboys fan, I could never bring myself to cheer for anyone in the NFC East; well, except if they were playing the Steelers. I HATE the Steelers…hate! So the only downside of a Giants win has been the ribbing I’ve been taking from my wife. Now, let me clarify that my wife hates football with a passion, but somehow she decided she should cheer for someone other than Dallas. So she picked New York, not because they are a division rival, but because they are Jon Bon’s team. So she has been taunting me that her “team” won despite the fact that she has never watched a game in her life! She claims that I’m just sour because she was right…why can’t I just pick random stuff and have it work out for me?
Now that the new semester has started and things will be fairly quiet for the next few weeks, I am hoping to get more work done on the article. I promised my writing partner Lee last week that I would get more words done, but as usual it didn’t work out that way. I did however find a bit of information that I needed for my portion of the article on top of the regular dosage of new research I accumulate on a weekly basis. I was able to track down that critical document from the library in Kansas City, though it was quite the ordeal getting it (probably the most expensive article I’ve ever paid for). I’ve also managed to get most of those stacks from my last post filed in their appropriate folders; I think I need a larger filing cabinet! I’ve almost filled an entire drawer and most of the folders are stretched to the max. At what point does a project become an obsession?
I guess with the thoughts of summer has come some thoughts about the forthcoming season of field work. I’ve always been a firm believer that a project like this cannot be accomplished at a desk alone; you need to get your hands dirty…literally. There is so much to be learned about the character of the railway from these hikes. Besides, it’s great exercise and I love the outdoors. The fieldwork also serves another purpose, which is to document what remains of the railway before some of these landmarks disappear completely. I hope to be on Gunflint at some point this summer in addition to the little day explorations that usually go on. I’ve also given some thought about getting back to the Paulson Mine area to probe the course of the railway near the second switchback (next year?). However, my most ambitious plan is to examine the planned railway route between Gunflint and Ely, MN. When the railway was completed in 1893 there remained approximately 45 miles between the two locations; the link was never completed due to the geography. I really want to see it first-hand so I have that information for my book. The Kekekabic Trail does parallel the route, but it is not the exact thing, so I’m not sure how to tackle it. I’ll have to stew on it a bit…much to ponder.
Until next week.