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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: August 30

Gunflint Trail lake
Gunflint Trail lake

It’s a jungle out here!  As I commence keying this weeks’ Gunflint news, our once cool summer paradise is in the midst of tropical sweltering.  And, the situation is not one bit acceptable with many of us folks who are into insulated boots and parkas.
How hot has it been? It’s so hot that I’m seeing very little of the critters in the “wild neighborhood. They are seemingly more adept at letting us know its’ too hot for much of any activity, than that contemporary media sensationalism called “heat index.”
It seems nonsensical that things have been dumbed down to the point that Americans have to be told it’s hot out. In my generation as a kid, we never had to be told it was dangerously hot, you just knew it! 
I know that this unbearable spell will pass, but our bragging about what a wonderful summer it has been is being stifled. One thing for sure is conditions as they have been recently, makes one have an even deeper appreciation for times when the breathe freezes right in front of your face. For yours truly, I can always get warmer but have trouble ever getting cool enough during these miserable times.
Our circumstance on much needed precipitation has not improved by even the slightest since we last met on the radio waves. Our parched forest floor remains bone dry.

Edginess is mounting throughout the Gunflint corridor with governing agencies reluctant to invoke critical burning bans. It seems like they should be in the active mode instead of waiting to react until after wildfire erupts from some careless human action.
Every rain forecast over the past two weeks has been ninety-nine and nine tenths percent wrong in these parts. The only moisture in the Wildersmith rain gauge since we last met, measured only .02 inches.

Weather forecasting is not a pure science, but the process looks to be much like playing major league baseball, one can perform at the ten to thirty percent level and still get paid. Most other professions would call that a failure and send you packing. Those prognosticators would perhaps come out right more often if they were forecasting an eighty percent chance of no moisture as opposed to their usual twenty percent chance of precipitation. An eighty percent chance at anything is always more exciting than twenty! Enough soap boxing!
The downward spiral of our lake level on the Gunflint Gal is ongoing. Our contributing watershed creeks and streams are bone dry.

Up the Trail near the Seagull Guard Station that splendid little waterfall feeding Larch Creek was spilling nary a drop as I drove past a while back. Pretty sad!
Meanwhile, as lake level surfaces evaporate into oblivion, the temperature of our waters has reversed its downward trend of a few weeks ago, spiking back up into the low seventies. In the absence of artificially conditioned air for most back country residences, folks have gone back into lake dipping for temporary relief along with those “whirly gig” things from yesteryear, called fans.

And if the sweating misery isn’t enough, the hot spell has raised the ire of a new generation of “skeeters.”  Any disturbance of earth around the yard has brought out several other obnoxious buzzing critters too. It seems like you just can’t win sometimes. Oh for a good freeze!

As summer gives us a harsh dose of reality, our last weekend of month eight and the vacation season is fading before our eyes. To celebrate our Labor Day holiday and kick-off a final family fling before the return to school, a cool treat can be found at the end of the Trail on Sunday.

The annual ice cream and pie social sponsored by the Gunflint Trail Historical Society takes place this Sunday, September 1st at the Chik-Wauk Museum site. Serving hours are from 11:00am to 4:00 pm.

The featured fare will be homemade pie, prepared and donated by area pastry artisans, and of course, a sweet scoop of north woods coolness. Everyone’s invited out to the “land of sky blue waters” for the launching of our fall season. I’ve already discovered some “gold in them thar hills!  So come on along!

Keep on hangin’ on and savor a “September Song.”