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      Too Cold for Sleeping: June 13, 1859

      Here's an artist rendering of Baraga relatively early in his Lake Superior ministry.

      You often hear during the summer how itâ??s â??good sleeping weatherâ?? when the nights are cool. Thatâ??s true in our modern world when you can open the windows and cool off your house after a string of warm days. However, back in the pioneer days, chilly weather could lead to a miserable sleeping night when you had to spend it outside.

      On June 13, 1859, Bishop Baraga was on the return leg of a mission trip down along Lake Michigan. He complained in his diary that many nights during the late spring were â??very cold.â?? As late as June 13, Baraga complained of the cold: â??On the return trip, in the night, which was stormy and cold, we had to disembark and spend the night on the shore.â?? He related how he was forced to curl up on the cold sand, shivering all night. The following morning he â??could barely speak and also could scarcely get up.â?? He came down with a bad cold but joyfully arrived back home at the Sault on June 17.

      Baraga tramped through the woods in summer and across the snow-covered trails in winter for parts of four decades. When he made this late spring trip, he was already 62 years old. The years of hiking and then camping through all sorts of conditions took its toll (Images 1 & 2 above). Late in life he wrote, â??I was told long ago that I would feel the hardships of my mission journeys in my old age, at that time I didnâ??t believe it. But now I believe it because I feel it.â??

      This morning would have been fairly comfortable for sleeping outdoors. Lows were generally in the 40s to near 50 with no wind. Some of the colder spots did briefly dip to near 40. For instance, it reached 42 in western Marquette County at Champion, 41 at Stambaugh in Iron County and 40 at Amasa. While it was warmer in the eastern U.P. it was damp. Rather thick fog developed from near Newberry to the east. However, it dissipated quickly after the sun rose. It does look like weâ??ll cool back quite a bit Thursday into Thursday night. Strong high pressure will build southeastward from near Hudson Bay toward the Upper Great Lakes. Brisk northerly winds will lower high temperatures 10 degrees or more over most of the U.P. Then on Thursday night, some of the traditional cold spots will get close to the freezing mark.