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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: August 8

wildersmith_20140808.mp34.95 MB

The second weekend of this new month found our part of the world leaning toward the dry side of the weather ledger. Since our last WTIP gathering, rain droppings have withered to barely half an inch in our neighborhood.
Meanwhile upper Gunflint temperatures have been about as near perfect as one could expect for midsummer. It just doesn’t get any better for warm season comfort than high temps in the 70-degree range and nighttime lows around 50.
Lake water temps have shown a moderate rise to the low 70s at the Wildersmith dock. I would assume other sky blue waters around the area reflect about the same character.
Right in sequence with the berry season, this weekend we celebrate the “blueberry moon” as it’s dubbed in Ojibwe lore. Although there’ll be no “blue moon” in the skies this month, pickers are finding plenty of blues right here on earth. It should be a lunar fantastic as it’s the closest moon of the year (I mean big). And the moonrise will coincide with sunset for a celestial extravaganza.
I’ve heard some say the blue-black harvest is fantastic once again and others have indicated the crop is leaner than the past couple years. Whatever the scenario, the Smiths are grateful for a blessing from the blueberry lady down the road. Last Sunday she dropped off a fine container of the blue jewels, saving yours truly a trip into bug land for a harvest of my own. What a friend!
Recently I received a report of an attempted unauthorized entry into a home at the end of County Road 20. Turns out a bear tore into a household screen door but did not gain access through the inside closure.
Apparently unsatisfied, this Bruno found another outbuilding providing a tempting aroma from within. Much to its pleasure, the grumpy one found the door latch was no challenge. Once inside, the garbage receptacle was easy pickins’. In no time at all, the feast was on, and the ill-mannered critter left the place a stinky mess. So I guess that not all bears are out in the blueberry patches.
Not long ago I heard of a loon having landed on the water of the Cross River gravel pit. The landing did not come into question, until observers found the tiny body of water did not provide enough surface length to enable a subsequent take-off. I remember reading somewhere that a quarter mile or more can be necessary for a loon lift-off.
I’m told the frustrated bird was on the liquid enclosure for a few days. While the Forest Service and DNR were notified of the plight, one Good Samaritan even tried a darkness rescue attempt from a kayak with a dip net, but was unsuccessful in corralling the frightened being. I’m told the handsome avian is now gone, but the mystery of where it went or how it escaped this dilemma is unsolved.
We are well into this warm season, but until last Sunday, there had been no flotations of waterfowl going by our dock. Although the number of quackers has been dwindling over the years, we have always experienced at least a few families cruising along the shorelines. A mom merganser and her raft of 13 paddled by, ending our duck-less streak, and perhaps giving hope that there might be more on another day.
However, the big question remains, what is going on with the duck population out this way. Are they going the way of the moose?
A friend tells of hooking two monster northern pike recently down on North Lake, one of which was caught on a small mouth bass hooked earlier in the sequence. A difficult battle ensued before the big fellow let go of the bass right beside the boat. The squirming smallie was then released and as it swam away was nabbed once more by the big pike. Guess it just wasn’t this little guy’s day!
Keep on hangin’ on and savor Gunflint Life at its best!

(Photo by Brian Hoffman on Flickr)