IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO be a yooper, if only for a day. Last Saturday, my wife and I decided it was our day to be yoopers.

Our original plan was to head for Black River Harbor in Michigan, hike to most or all of the beautiful waterfalls on the Black River in its final mile or so run to Lake Superior and then to lounge around at the lakeshore, where it is much cooler than inland on a hot summer day.

On the way to the waterfalls, however, I had a sudden brainstorm. Why don’t we stop at Copper Peak along the way and take the adventure ride to the top of the Copper Peak ski flying jump? “Great idea,” said my lovely wife. “You just do that.” My lovely wife does not like heights. A 4-foot ladder is about her limit.

Well, sudden determination welling up in me, we headed down the town road to the base of the ski jump. Once there, I plunked down my $20, got my ticket and headed for the chairlift which takes you up the first leg of the journey to the top of the jump, which is easily the highest ski jump in the western hemisphere.

Just a little bit about the history of Copper Peak before I tell you about my journey to the top. West of Ironwood, Mich., and north of Bessemer, Mich., Copper Peak was first explored in 1845, by miners who figured, perhaps logically, that if there were great copper deposits as near as White Pine, Mich., then certainly there had to be huge deposits of copper at Copper Peak. There was no copper. It was re-explored in 1900, with the same results.

In 1969, construction began at Copper Peak to build the western hemisphere’s first, and still only, ski flying hill. The first sanctioned international competition was held there in 1970. International Ski Federation-sanctioned jumps, including World Cup events, were held there off and on until 1994. The record long jump at Copper Peak was 518 feet, a record set in 1994.

Since then the jump has sat forlornly alone for most of the year, although a dedicated organization has long kept alive dreams of returning to the world competition scene while operating the chair lift and elevator during summer months to take visitors to the top of the jump.

Beginning last year, international competition returned to Copper Peak, although it didn’t involve ski jumping. Instead, the event brought world-class competitors to the jump to compete in the Red Bull 400, a 400-meter sprint up the hill and then, on up the jump all the way to the top. About 500 runners from around the world competed. This year’s race saw 1,000 runners competing. The Red Bull is part of a series of runs up ski flying jumps in Europe.

The Copper Peak organization continues to work hard at bringing ski flying back in the near future. Approval has been given by the International Ski Federation to move forward with reconstruction of the facility with an eye at possibly holding a competition in the fall of 2020, a competition that would serve as the finale of the Summer Grand Prix of Jumping.

I wish them luck. I also wish I were young enough to try the Red Bull 400 which, when I was 18 and after fortification from something a little stronger than Red Bull, I would have tried without hesitation.

As it is, very near my 70th birthday, it was enough for me to get to the top of Copper Peak via the chairlift and elevator, plus walking up the final eight stories on narrow, steep steps. It was worth all the trepidation about heights I have acquired in recent years.

A downhill skier since I was 7 and a prolific tree climber even before then, heights once held no meaning for me except that they were something I wished to scale. Again, at 18, slap a pair of skis on my feet and point me down Copper Peak, and I would have taken off in a heartbeat. Might not have had a heartbeat after a likely crash landing, but I would have had the old ticker pumping overtime in the air.

This time around, I even felt a little uneasiness as I climbed aboard the chairlift for the steep ride to the base of the jump. I did not look down and as I passed each lift tower on the way up I kept saying, only three to go, only two to go.

I took the sissy way up to the next landing in the elevator and darned glad I was that I did. Next was a climb of eight stories to reach a narrow platform at the top where you can, as the song says, see forever on a clear day.

There were people heading down as I arrived at the top and I had the next 10 minutes to myself as I looked out over 2,500 square miles of Lake Superior and yooper forestland. The Black River was a tiny ribbon far below. The slopes of the Indianhead, Powderhorn and Blackjack ski areas stood bright and green to the south. It was an amazing scene.

Standing there alone, the platform bouncing a lot more than I would have liked with each gust of wind, I thoroughly enjoyed myself before the arrival of the next group of sightseers.

On the way back, eschewing the elevator while climbing all the way down on steps paralleling the jump to where I would pick up the chairlift ride down, I never saw so many people in my life clinging with a death grip to handrails as I did then. It seemed like everyone enjoyed the experience, but like me, had to overcome a little or a lot of fear of heights.

I don’t know if it would qualify as a bucket list item, but the experience was a lot of fun and the view was worth every ounce of trepidation. I would do it again and I commend the hard-working folks aiming to restore Copper Peak to its former glory.

Oh, by the way, my wife and I, and our dogs did make it to Black River Harbor and along the way, we did hike into some of the falls which we enjoyed as much as we have every time we’ve seen them in the past.

Good country, good scenery, good times and good to be a yooper; if only for a day.