Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lutsen, MN Redux

Last week I headed back on down Highway 61 for another trip to the tower site near Lutsen, MN. This time I was up to take pictures for photosimulations, basically engineered photographs to estimate the viewshed of the tower. This is a county requirement that is used for the zoning approvals. I had to swing past another site southeast of Superior, WI on Monday. I had a leisurely drive up to Lutsen, so I decided to enjoy my drive. Most of the time I'm rushing from one site to another and I barely have time to enjoy the sights. Not so on this trip. On my way up I stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park and spent an hour seeing the sights. Here's a picture of the falls.
I stayed at the same hotel as last time, right on Lake Superior. It wasn't as pretty as the last time, but I'm not complaining. I did try to email back the photographs that I took in Wisconsin to the office, so that the drafters could start on the photosims. However, the photos were high resolution and came in around 3 MB. The WiFi at the hotel could barely process them, and it took me about four hours to send four photos. I still had three left, which meant I had to get back to the office Tuesday night to ensure we made the Thursday deadline.

The next morning I awoke around 5:45, before dawn broke. I took a shower and got ready for the day, and when I came out of the bathroom I looked outside. Fog, and lots of it. This was very bad. As you can imagine, photosimulations in these conditions were impossible. I hung around the hotel for a couple of hours, hoping the fog would lift. No such luck. Finally, around 10:30 I had to check out. Here's a picture from the hotel balcony. Compare this with my photo from my first visit, and you'll see just how socked in I was.
I kept driving around hoping that I would be able to salvage the trip. I finally resorted to going up to a nearby hiking trail, about a mile from the tower site. Even though the weather wasn't cooperating, I hiked about two miles down the trail, taking pictures to demonstrate that the tower wouldn't be visible due to the topography and the tree cover. This was the Superior Hiking Trail, which is used as part of the North County National Scenic Trail. We try to keep towers at least a mile away from the trail, but in this case it was unavoidable, since the trail in this section is close to Hwy 61 and Lake Superior. I put up a photo from the trail this morning, on the previous post.

Finally, at 12:45 I called it quits. I had an eight hour drive back to Wisconsin, and as I said, I needed to get the rest of the photos from the other site back to the office. I was "wet and defeated" as one of my officemates put it. I was mainly upset about the fact that I would have to come up yet again just to get these pictures. However, this won't be the case. I learned on Tuesday that the site has gone down the tubes. The neighbor won't agree to a setback easement and there's just no way to fit the tower on the property while maintaining a 1,000 foot setback to the neighbor, a 200 foot setback to the property lines, and a 300 foot setback to a nearby creek. Oh, and there's a 1,000 foot setback from Highway 61. Put all that together, and the result is no tower.

So, I will be returning to the area sometime in the future, but this trip will be for a new tower site on a different property. Here's to hoping for better weather.


Blogger PrincessGreen17 said...

What an ordeal!

7:59 AM  

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