With this week’s Radio Waves commentary, I begin year 14 of scribing the Gunflint scoop. It hardly seems possible I have been doing this since 2002. For those of you not familiar, the first six were for the Cook County News Herald, while the anniversary of my time with this great radio station will head off into year eight come December. What a great run it has been thanks to all the news makers and everyone who listens!
Labor Day weekend seems to be all about endings and beginnings. So many observe the holiday as the end of summer; it’s hoped this area follows suit with an end to the miserable heat and humidity which has hung over us for week one of month nine. I can’t think of one person I’ve encountered over the past seven who hasn’t had a not too pleasant comment about the continuing jungle-like conditions. Although autumn officially remains several days away by the calendar, it’s just time for a real beginning to the cooler season with all the happenings tied to the start of another academic year for the young people in our midst.
Moisture additions were minimal in these parts over the past week until this Saturday night into Sunday when a swell rain doused the territory. Most rain gauges topped out at about an inch. Fortunately, the heavens opened up with not too much an uproar around Wildersmith, just a good soaker.
Speaking more of endings, I continue to be captured by the intensity and mystique of daytime closings. If the days-end phenomena isn’t played-out on land or in the sky, it’s in-between on one of the beautiful border country lakes. Such was the case recently when the Smith’s day closed down in a boat on the lake. Conditions were such with warm steamy temps hovering over cool water of Gunflint Lake. The results found blankets of gauzy fog forming incongruous lake level layers as we skimmed the quiet ripples. The early evening magic was breaking through these ghostly clumps where one could see little, then opening into bright sun-setting brilliance. My mind suddenly reminisced to an old CD, entitled “Breaking through the Mist.” The serenity of this time on the lake aptly matched the tranquility of the melodious CD qualities as I remember them. In the cool of the evening, how sweet it was!
Another end of the day episode was brought to mind at sunset from our dock just days later. The display of “Sol” unfolded with another of those red-hot iron beams screaming down the lake from the northwestern horizon. While at the opposite end of the sky, lingering thin cumulonimbus puffs scooped up these blazing neon reflections as pink cotton candy. Meanwhile, dimming light in the east had the lake surface darkening. In concert with the molten iron look from the western heavens and pink vapor above the eastern skyline, the quaking waters did their thing by lathering on soothing, lavender tones. Although the light show interlude was short lived, it was truly one to behold. You just had to be here to totally appreciate.
At our hummer feeding station, we have but one of the elegant critters still hanging out. The rest of the flock has vanished. Guess they have taken off for points south. Another winged group we have been watching is the loons. They are noticeably gathering as they do prior to taking off. We had four circling in the waters off our dock one night last week, showing off their ritualistic diving skills. This exercise was led by one with others following suit, then dispersal and quiet conversation. Another fellow down the lake reports a gathering of six one night in front of his place, doing much the same. So it’s for sure, departure and flight plans are being made.
Regardless of recent temps not reflecting a change of seasons, more color is evolving in our deciduous parts of the forest. We have a striking red maple tree along the Mile O Pine declaring enough of summer. And several young birch trees, which turned golden early, have chimed in their support for a new season by casting away leaves. In a matter of days, this area might be at its peak. Come on out for a “look-see!”
Area residents, visitors and members of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society are reminded of the September Society meeting this coming Monday, the 14th. The site will once again be the Schaap (Mid Trail) Community Center. Beginning at 1:30 pm, the usual business meeting will be followed by a Trail Historical program. This month’s topic will be remembrances and stories of Irv and Tempest Benson. Scrumptious treats from our Trail baking masters will also be on hand. Y’all come!
This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith! Peace and quiet along the Trail, is golden as the hillsides.
(Photo by Travis Novitsky)