Recently passed writer, Jim Harrison, often based his novels here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. His characters, rich in Yooper culture, were portrayed in both humor and an intensity of fortitude. This is not an easy place to live, and those that spent their lives here have weathered to endure. Seven months of winter, and enough black flies and mosquitoes in the spring and summer to carry away a Lake Superior ore boat. One learns to love or hate it here, sometimes in less than a year. I have witnessed many folks that move up from a warmer and more temperate climate, due to a nostalgic or romantic idea of living in the Northwoods, only to leave shortly thereafter (“Where’s the Mall?). For those of us who stay, you learn that needing something from a larger store, or even a specialty medical appointment, requires a two hour drive. When I lived in lower Michigan, a two hour drive would get you most of the way across the width of the state. Our Ottawa National Forest in the Western U.P. takes up nearly a million acres. No malls and few conveniences. Our own natural protections from too many people moving up (Trolls, as they are referred to my Yoopers, as they come from below the Mackinaw Bridge, which connects the UP with the Lower Peninsula.