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Wildersmith April 8

Gunflint Trail
Gunflint Trail

FinalCut_Wildersmith_20110408.MP38.25 MB

Last Sunday evening, as I keyed this weeks’ news from the upper Gunflint, Old Man Winter was taking what may be one last swipe at the northland. He wasn’t fooling around either.
So, the first few of our April showers were of the white variety. Had it not been for the temperature hanging out just around the freezing mark, the snow accumulation might have been a doozy.

As it was, where there was old snow on the ground, the new white stuck, but where Old Sol had gnawed away the winter blanket to bare earth it was mushy muck. By Monday morning, however, another four to eight inches was added to the count along the south Gunflint Lake south shore. What this means now is that with the next really warm day, our “mud season” will be officially underway.

With month four already a week old, the recent conditions have been a far cry from reflecting Aprils’ full pink maple sugar moon and mingling thoughts of green sprouts and budding trees. But, that is certain to change as winter bound folks from these parts have high hopes for the first full month of spring.

Speaking of green, the territory is one month away from the fourth Gunflint Green-Up May 6 and 7. Web registrations are still being taken on the Gunflint Green-up website and volunteers are needed to assist in the Friday and Saturday night meal functions. If any local is interested in helping out in the food service line, contact Lee Zopff at

News came in from Bea Griffis on March 31 letting folks in border country know that her Ralph had fallen a couple Saturdays before. He broke the femur in his right leg and has been in considerable misery. His leg was cast in a metal contraption after surgery on March 26 and he remains hospitalized, according to her message. Ralph has been in rehab for two weeks learning to walk in his recovery equipment. He may be facing a period of time in a nursing home for additional therapy and convalescence before getting to go home.

For those readers not familiar with Ralph and Bea, they are the former long-time owners of the Chik-Wauk Resort (now the Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature center) at the end of the Trail. I’m sure that these wonderful former Gunflinters’ would appreciate hearing from their many friends both near and far. Their e-mail is

Beauty has always been in the eyes of the beholder. Although we are entering what many call an ugly stage of the year in the upper Trail, natural items of artistic appeal are happening with each passing day.

The magic of our snow season is in transformation now. Where the power of Sol has been peaking through the forest canopy, daily gnawing has created some splendid sculpturing in territorial snow banks. Often the most intriguing textures can be found in the plowed windrow mixture of snow, ice and north woods dirt along back country roads. But, one had better not blink because it is here one day and vastly different the next.

On another note, where those beaming rays find their way to ground level, the trickle of melting winter is picking up the pace. Everyone knows the damaging power that moving water possesses. To think that such destruction could happen from simple early spring ooze meandering its way down a wilderness road is almost incomprehensible.

These gurgling streams reflecting a winter gone by are as captivating as the anticipation of a first white cover in October. So, although yours truly can’t get enough of the cold time of year, I guess I’m really a person for all seasons (exception being July and August).

This is Fred Smith with Wildersmith on the Gunflint, and that’s all for now. Keep on hangin’ on and savor spring coming to the northland.

Airdate: April 8, 2011

Photo courtesy of Mykl Roventine via Flickr.