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North Shore Weekend

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  • Saturday 7-10am
Genre: 
Variety
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

 


What's On:

Magnetic North - June 20, 2018

Magnetic North 6/11/18
Barking dog navigation; Isle Royale Part 1
 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where visitors now stream up the narrow highway from Duluth, braving detours and cavalcades of RVs, rubbernecking drivers, and excruciating miles in-between rest stops to get to Cook County. Once here, they crowd the restaurants and shops, take pictures of the Beaver House walleye and soak up the history and beauty of our little piece of heaven. 
 
But there is another breed of visitor whose primary reasons for coming to the county, specifically the town of Grand Marais, revolve around three fairly mundane pursuits: finding ice, a laundromat, and groceries and pumping out the effluent they carry onboard. These seekers come - and go -by water. And having spent a fortune on their mode of travel are less interested in land than in riding the waves of the big lake and taking home tales of having “cheated death again,” to their friends and families. 
 
I know this because I was such a one in the late 1970’s. For seven years I sailed the waters of Superior and for most of those years only spied the town where I live now. When I crossed the big lake from the Apostle Islands off Bayfield, Wisconsin, the homeport of my sailboat, Amazing Grace.
 
Looking back I realize now that, just as I had longed to be on the shore instead of slogging through the BWCAW years earlier, I was just as hungry to stay ashore whenever I tied Grace up at Grand Marais. Not because I dislike sailing - although there are about a hundred things I’d rather do -but because my inner compass always pulled me to the land where I live now. And, like many who have sailed in the troughs of high waves on Superior, I have seen her teeth close-up and respect them and her enough to keep my distance.
 
It was July of1976, our bicentennial year, when first I crouched on the bow of our sailboat as my then-husband, Jack pointed her towards land; at least the map and compass said there was land off our bow. Fog completely shrouded the harbor of Grand Marais. Nothing, not a building or tree or light could be seen.
But we were in luck. Friends who made the harbor before the fog moved in were on the break wall with an air horn, providing audible navigation in lieu of the usual sighting of lights at the harbor entrance or the radio tower on the hill above town. Sailors call this “barking dog navigation.” As in, you know you are about to go aground if you can hear a dog bark. Although, usually it was hearing waves lapping on rocks.
 
That foggy day we couldn’t have been more than 20 yards off the breakwall, following the compass and the blaring of the air horn, when we could actually see the wall, then the town... As usual, but not always, fog meant no wind, so we entered the harbor “flying the Atomic four,” the name of our diesel engine, -then tied up alongside the Coast Guard building at the foot of Artist’s Point.
 
As with my previous visits to Grand Marais, two arduous backpacking trips to the BWCAW, I longed to explore the town, to just lallygag on the shore and stare out at the lake for no good reason. And who knows, maybe even find a cove where the water temperature didn’t make my bones ache before I’d even dived in all the way.
 
But again, this was not to be. This was a quest, just as the backpacking trips were forced marches. The object of our adventure was Isle Royale. Washington Harbor, to be exact; the famed graveyard of sailing vessels like the America off Rock of Ages lighthouse.  Sure, why not go there on vacation? 
 
We divvied up tasks with our friends - they got the blocks of ice for our perishable food lockers and we got the grub. We didn’t need a laundromat or pompous yet. 
 
Our crew numbered three and a half, not counting the dog. A young intern who worked with Jack was along for the ride. She was tall, strong, brilliant and keen to experience sailing. Good, I thought. More naps and fewer dishes to wash for me! Our daughter Gretchen, just seven years old, had our Pug, Spanky, to entertain her, plus she was learning to knit. Jack, of course, was captain and I was navigator/cook/and chief complainer.
 
I think we saw only one square block of the town. So different then, except for the Blue Water Cafe and Ben Franklin. Mostly, we stayed aboard our boats - our friends had a 33 footer and we had a Pearson 30. - cozy spots on a chilly July night in fog. I remember that we sat up comparing notes on the crossing from the Apostle Islands; coming way too close to an ore boat, and hearing their chugga-chugga engines as we prayed that they were watching their radar. 
 
Little did we know that the day ahead would be the real test of our mettle. That the sunny day’s wind would whip up twenty-foot troughs between waves and threaten to send one or both of our boats to rest beside the America at the hungry mouth of Washington Harbor.
But I’ll save that tale for next time.
 
For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North
 

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Olive-sided Flycatcher (Eric Gropp/Flickr)

North Woods Naturalist: Olive-sided Flycatchers

They’ve been dubbed the “peregrine of flycatchers.” WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about olive-sided flycatchers.
 

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Superior National Forest logo

Superior National Forest Update - June 15, 2018

National Forest Update – June 15, 2018.

Hi.  I’m Jon Benson, Assistant Ranger for Recreation and Wilderness on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update.

On June 28th, the Gunflint Ranger Station will be hosting an open forum from 4:00 to 6:00 pm to solicit feedback on our upcoming Kimball Vegetation Management Project.  The intent of these meetings is to gather information on areas of importance to local residents and other users of this area.  We will also be sharing information related to reducing hazardous fuels, treating areas to encourage younger age classes of vegetation, and enhancing wildlife habitat within the Kimball Project Area.  Please join us as we welcome the opportunity to hear from you.  Your comments will help us shape our proposed action.

Summer has finally arrived on the North Shore and with it comes additional visitors.  That means there will be more people in the Boundary Waters and the campgrounds and trails will be popular places to be.  I’d like to take a minute to encourage recreationists to take the time to plan ahead and prepare for their trips onto the National Forest.  Planning ahead will reduce the likelihood of any potential issues that might detract from your recreation experience.  I’d also like to ask folks to think about the safety implications of the choices you are making, make sure that you are recreating within your skill and experience level to avoid any mishaps that might ruin your experience.  If you are planning any time on the water, make sure you are wearing a life jacket and you have left an itinerary with a responsible person who knows where you are going and when you expect to return.

In addition to camping and trails based recreation opportunities, our Naturalist Programs begin at area resorts, campgrounds, and the Hedstrom Mill on June 19th.  We are grateful for our partnership with Visit Cook County and the host locations throughout Cook County who continue to support this wonderful program.  If you would like more information on the dates, times, and topics of these programs you can seek that information on the Visit Cook County events webpage or at the Tofte or Gunflint Ranger District Offices.

In terms of timber harvesting activity, things are similar to last week.  Logging trucks are using the Trappers Lake Road, the Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Old Greenwood Road (Forest Road 144).  Keep an eye out for rough roadways, some grading work is starting to take place on Forest Service Roads.

Listeners may also be curious about current fire situation around the area.  Even with the rain, we have received in the past couple of weeks, we are still below normal with regard to precipitation this spring.  That means that the woods are still dry enough to carry a fire on a dry, windy day.  Please use caution with campfires and make sure that any fires are dead out before leaving them.  As far as prescribed burning operations go, we have completed the bulk of our spring burns with the exception of a couple of burns on the Tofte District.  One of these burns is planned for June and the other is planned for July as the prescription for these burns calls for them to be completed after green up has occurred.

Until next week, this has been Jon Benson with the National Forest Update, reminding you to be safe, have fun, and enjoy your National Forest.
 

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Summer

North Woods Naturalist: Early Summer

Summer is in full swing and the natural world is buzzing with activity. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about early summer.
 

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Photo credit vitalishe

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 8, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     June 8, 2018    

Our stickiness of May’s last days is a distant memory. Conditions along the Trail have dropped back into the “cool” of the north beginning with this weeks’ scoop. Thank goodness as a little of the hot and humid gets old pretty quick!                                                                                     
Residents and businesses out this way are thankful for the more tolerable temps but even more, so because our arid ways have been squelched with several droppings from the heavens. In fact, our first weekend of the new month was quite soggy. Most likely the weather was not the best for early season vacationers, paddlers or anglers, but for those of us on edge due to wildfire danger, we’re smiling in spite of cold, dreary conditions.                                                                                                                                                             
The thirsty earth has been gobbling up every raindrop. All of this recent fountain of life will be put to good use as the deciduous forest finishes leafing out, and coniferous cousins are sending this seasons’ shoots skyward. The last of our “green-up” extravaganza is observed in sugar maples. “Mother Natures” exercise in shading the wilderness landscape is now complete, and the natural world is on to weeks of a summer fling.                                                                                                              

Whereas busy lives don’t often allow for contemplation of many simple, natural things going on about us, I spent some quiet time recently, watching our leafy tokens react in a blustery morning wind. While you might think I don’t have enough to do, I find many interesting goings-on in the forest by just letting my senses respond to creations’ stimuli.                                              

In that regard, speaking of our newborn foliage, not only is every leaf species unique in shade, shape, and texture, each seems to have its own character when the wind sets it in motion. To mention a few, I noted some greenery shimmers/quakes; some spin; some turn their bottom sides up; some plane themselves out sunny side up; some flop from side to side and many others just bop around. All the while, they’re swishing some in-audible resonance and hanging on for dear life. It’s a summertime ode.                                                                                                                              

New colors are falling in line for the warm season parade. As the early yellows are fading, other tints of the spectrum have perked up. Right on schedule for the first of June, the pink of wild roses, baby-blue of forget-me-nots and muted red of columbine have spruced up the yard around Wildersmith. Meanwhile, I’m also seeing uncountable tiny white blossoms of wild strawberries. This is a really sweet time of the year.                                                                                           

The return to cool, and some moments downright cold has surely energized the fleet of hummingbirds in this neighborhood. I suppose they must be on the move to tank up as much as possible to stay warm. They are so excited I can barely hang out a fresh jar of sweetness without being swarmed. The other day while hanging the unit up, one of the brilliant ruby throats hovered within inches of my nose, certainly encouraging me to get out of the way.                   

The fox mentioned a few weeks ago, has apparently adopted the Smith’s. It’s not here every day but shows up frequently knowing I’ll throw it a scrap. It also has found enjoyment in the pursuit of squirrels hanging out around my wood shop door. The foxy guy has already caught one, and the other day I saw a red/orange blur go by my window as the fox flashed by chasing one of the rodents around the house. This time the squirrel made it up a tree in the nick of time.                                                                                                                                                                             
The Trail event calendar intensifies this weekend with the Boundary Waters Expo starting Saturday morning over on East Bearskin Lake. Then on Sunday the Gunflint Trail Historical Society holds its annual shrimp boil and bake sale fundraiser.                                                                                     

This happening takes place at the Seagull Lake Community Center beginning at 4:00 pm through 6 pm. John Schloot and his crew will be at the boiling pot as usual for this scrumptious touch of southern cuisine up north.                                                                                                                                  

A donation of $15 per plate is suggested, and you’ll need a few extra bucks to take home some of the baked goodies from the north woods kitchens. Don’t miss it!                                                                                                                                                                          

On a closing note, The GTHS will be having its first membership meeting of the summer on Monday, the 11th. The gathering will include the annual business meeting beginning at 1:30 pm in the Seagull Lake Community Center. After the business of recognizing Board of Trustees with expiring terms of service, there will be an election of new Board members.                              

The days’ program speaker will be Wayne Anderson, who will be “Taking A Walk Down Memory Lane” with reflections on iconic names and places during his many years of life along this scenic treasure. This will be more Gunflint Trail History in the making. Following Wayne’s presentation, treats will be served.                                                                                                                                                                                     

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and some are even better!
 

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Superior National Forest Update - June 8, 2018

National Forest Update – June 7, 2018.
 
Hi.  I’m Paulette Anholm, front desk staff, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. For the week of June 8th, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

We are starting to see some real summer now, not only with temperatures, but with black flies, mosquitos, and ticks.  All of these lovely blood suckers are happy to have so many people returning to the outdoors.  Black flies and mosquitos around here are mostly just annoying.  They can be annoying enough to truly ruin a camping trip, but still, they are just annoying.  Ticks, however, are a different story.  Ticks can carry many diseases among them Babeosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted-Fever, and Lyme Disease.  Here in Minnesota, we’ve now seen incidences of all three of these diseases.  Lyme Disease cases are occurring in larger amounts than before, leading some people to tie the increase in disease to an increase in ticks possibly due to climate change.  Regardless of the cause, it is a disease to treat seriously and take steps to prevent tick bites, and to know what to do when you find an attached tick.  Prevention is the best idea – wear long pants, and as silly as you may feel, tuck them into your socks.  This won’t keep the ticks off, but it will make them stay on the outside of your pants where you can spot them.  Use insect repellents on your clothing to keep the ticks away as well.  If you find an embedded tick, use tweezers to remove it without pinching the body.  The idea is to prevent injecting the contents of the tick into you by squeezing the tick.  Inspect yourself often for ticks – if removed early, there isn’t time for the disease-causing organisms to go from the tick into you.  Luckily, by taking measures to prevent tick bites and prompt removal of attached ticks, we can still enjoy our trips into the forest.  Except for those pesty black flies and mosquitos!

You won’t have to worry about much logging traffic though.  Things are similar to last week.  Logging trucks are using the Trappers Lake Road, the Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Old Greenwood Road (Forest Road 144).  Do still watch out for rough roadways, though some grading is starting to take place.

The other thing to watch for on roadways are fawns and moose calves.  You should watch for the adults too, of course, but we’ve had a lot of people seeing the newborns out with their moms.  Remember, a moose with a calf is very protective, and you should not try to approach them for photos.  People have been charged by protective mama moose, and you really don’t want a moose mad at you.  Deer protect their fawns by hiding them while mom goes out grazing.  Fawns will lie perfectly still when you stumble across one.  Don’t try to pick it up, or try to help it – it is just fine.  Also, don’t stay near for too long, you’ll only stress the poor thing.  Just leave fawns alone and mom will come back and take care of it. 

People also like to “help” abandoned bunnies and chicks who “fell” out of the nest.  As nice as the thought is, bunnies and chicks usually don’t need help.  Snowshoe hare moms leave their young alone, just like fawns, and abandoned bunnies are not really abandoned at all.  The mom is usually very secretive, and you may never catch her coming back to nurse the young.  For baby birds that seem to have fallen, well, that’s part of learning to fly.  Chicks will fall, or fly, out of the nest and be not quite good enough to fly back up.  Mom will still feed them on the ground, just let them be.

I hope you make some time this week to get out in the woods and search out some of these young animals and their parents.  It looks like we could have some great weather, so get out there!

Until next week, this has been Paulette Anholm with the National Forest Update.
 

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June 2018

Northern Sky - June 9-22

Northern Sky  -  by Deane Morrison  June 9-22 2018

During the two weeks between June 9 and 22 the moon switches from the morning to the evening sky. It starts out as a waning crescent that drops diagonally toward the sun from morning to morning. On the 13th we get a new moon, at which point the moon crosses to the evening sky and begins waxing.
 
In the western evening sky, Venus continues to outshine everything else. Starting on the 9th, the Gemini twins, which have been dropping toward Venus, start to pass the planet on the right, or, its northern side. The Gemini twin stars are Castor and Pollux, Pollux being the one closer to Venus. On their way toward the horizon, the twins pass the young moon on its way up.  
 
We can see this after nightfall on Friday, the 15th. We’ll have a young crescent moon below Venus and the Gemini twins off to the side. When the sky has darkened on the 16th, grab your binoculars and look for the lovely but subtle Beehive star cluster midway between Venus and the moon. You’ll see two stars bracketing the Beehive to the upper left; these are the Aselli, or asses. In Latin the Beehive is called Praesepe, the manger, and the Aselli are two donkeys feeding at it. On the 19th, the Beehive will appear immediately southeast of Venus, that is, just to its lower left, but by then we’ll have a nearly first-quarter moon that might wash out the stars a bit.
 
Jupiter is up in the south after nightfall. To the west of Jupiter is the bright star Spica, in Virgo. Actually, it’s the only bright star in Virgo. Above these two objects is Arcturus, in Bootes, the herdsman, a kite-shaped constellation. Just east of the kite is Corona Borealis, the northern crown, which looks like a tiara hanging in the sky. Its brightest star is Alphecca, or Gemma, the jewel in the crown. Alphecca is a double star, a pair of stars, one significantly fainter than the other. It’s an example of what’s known as an eclipsing binary. Every 17.4 days, the fainter star passes in front of the brighter star as seen from Earth and causes a slight dip in Alphecca’s brightness. The most famous eclipsing binary is Algol, in the winter constellation Perseus. The variations in its brightness are easily seen. To the ancients it looked like a winking eye in the sky.
 
If you’re up late, camping or just outside with a southern exposure, you can watch the summer stars follow Jupiter into the sky from the southeast. First Scorpius and its gigantic red heart, Antares. Then the Teapot of Sagittarius, with Saturn shining above the lid of the Teapot, and finally Mars, which is brightening by the day. Everything rises earlier every night, but practically speaking, you won’t see Mars till after midnight.
 
The summer solstice happens at 5:07 a.m.—almost exactly sunrise in Grand Marais—on Thursday, the 21st. At that moment the sun reaches a point over the Tropic of Cancer and Earth will be lighted from the Antarctic Circle up to the North Pole and over to the Arctic Circle on the night side of the planet. You may have noticed that the sun is about as high as it gets for about a month before and after the summer solstice. And about as low as it gets for two months centered on the winter solstice. That’s because, of course, the sun moves northward and southward most slowly around the solstices, when it changes direction and appears to stop for a while. In fact, the word solstice is derived from the Latin for “sun standing still.”

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota.
She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this feature, she shares what there is to see in the night sky in our region.

"Minnesota Starwatch" can be found on the University of Minnesota website at 
astro.umn.edu.
 

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Magnetic North - June 6, 2018

Magnetic North 6/1/18

Love at First Sight
 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where the woods and lakes and portages draw folks of all ages and abilities, like me. Or, I should say, like me 48 years ago. 
 
Today, it would take Jaws of Life to get me out of a canoe and there isn’t money enough in this world to make me hike uphill in the dark, surrounded by a cloud of mosquitoes, to pee at 3 a.m.
 
But my attitude, and my body were far different in June of 1970. My husband at that time, Jack, and I had been white watering canoeing for a few years on the rivers of Ohio, where we lived before moving back to Minnesota. Jack loved canoeing and as much as he enjoyed rivers, he had his sights set on the Boundary Waters, and so insisted on getting a lake keel on our 18 foot Kevlar canoe.  Jack had been on a Boy Scout trip in the BW and remembered it in a dreamlike way, replete with aurora borealis, more stars than one had ever seen, glistening fresh water lakes and stunning forests. And, because he knew my weakness for animal life, he promised that if we went there I’d see eagles, moose and deer.
 
And thus we set off for the North Shore in June of ‘72, leaving baby Gretchen with my parents in the cities. All the way up to Duluth, Jack lectured me on the wonders ahead, never guessing that his wife was about to fall head over heels in love with.....a place she would one day live without him.
 
I remember still how my breath caught and stopped as our car rounded that curve above the Duluth harbor where first you spy Lake Superior. Not since leaving my home on the East Coast ten years before had I seen so much water. An inland sea. It was love at first sight. And so it went, all the way up the narrow highway to Grand Marais. I craned my neck to take in each glimpse of the lake as Jack lectured about the Precambrian shield on the high side of the road. So when we finally got to the Gunflint Trail and took that sharp left turn uphill, away from the lake, I protested. “Where are we going?”
 
“Round Lake,” he said. “That’s where we put in.” 
And we did, in a Biblical deluge, right behind a scout troop of about two dozen young boys, all with old aluminum canoes. I mention that only because the kids dropped the canoes so often, with the resounding clatter of a garbage can hitting a brick wall. Wet boy scouts, it seems, are tone deaf. 
 
Since this was our first backpacking venture into the BWCAW, we packed poorly and thus had to make two trips over each portage to get all of our gear to the next lake. But for that first day, just staying on our feet in the mud was the top priority. That, and beating the scouts to the choice camp site we wanted on the next lake. I still remember passing one poor boy, lying on his back off trail, pinned by his heavy pack, kicking his mud caked hiking boots in fury as he brayed for help.
 
The trip now is something of a blur in my mind. I don’t recall having seen any wildlife, perhaps a beaver swimming back and forth off Ellis lake, where we were camped for two days on a lovely little island. Not out of liking the location, but because Jack sprained his ankles trying to keep our canoe from blowing out into the lake. We never stayed that long anywhere else. It sticks in my mind as a “forced march,” indicative of the difference in temperaments between Jack and myself - a difference that would eventually pull us apart.
 
Each night, I would fold myself into the sleeping bag, listening to the drone of millions of mosquitoes, loon calls and the distant clanging of the boy scouts dropping or turning over their blasted aluminum canoes,  and replay that drive up the shore. The shore.  That is where my heart was, not in the woods. 
 
Still, upon our return, we immediately began planning our next trip in the “B-Dub” - this time smart packing, with a red hard sided pannier, ultra lite packs and tent, and a meticulously planned route with even more portages and lake and campsites than on our first outing. It would be in late August, a month with little rain, warmer lake water and, the gods willing, fewer scouts.
 
And so we returned in August of ’72 and this time we nailed it, at least on paper. The missing element, I now realize. was that we did not factor in the love of nature, only the conquering of it. Our success on the second trip was all about reaching goals, such as the number of portages and lakes tallied in ten days. Now that I think about it,  we were more like decathlon racers, than lovers of woods, trails, and waters. Smug hares zipping by the lumbering tortoises who had packed poorly, strapping toilet seats and other badges of shame to their bodies and packs. And the result was that our victory over nature did not bring us back to those trails and lakes. Ever again.
I say bring “us” back ever again because I did come back. This time with someone who, like me, relished being close to the big lake. So much so that Paul and I scoured the real estate ads for two years until we found a home we loved, loved probably as much as we loved each other. Our farm was homesteaded in 1913 by Scandinavian immigrants, probably much like both sets of Pauls grandparents. 
 
We had no plan, no goals to accomplish when we packed up and moved here. We just felt that it was where we belonged.
 
One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis goes something like this - that when the most important things in our lives are happening, we often have no idea what is going on. I think that is so true of how I came to be here, spinning tales for you some 48 years after I fell in love at first sight with Lake Superior and with the little town pinned to its shores. I had no idea what was going on. None at all. 
 
For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North
 
 

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Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus)

North Woods Naturalist: Avian Insectivores

There is a class of birds that almost completely feed on insects. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about avian insectivores.
 

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Wildwoods Wildlife Rehab Center - May 31, 2018

North Shore Morning host, Dennis Waldrop talks with Wildwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center's Tara Smith about the animals they are seeing at the center and volunteering opportunities.

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