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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: December 13

forest in snowtime
forest in snowtime

Wildersmith_20131213_finalcut.mp38.28 MB

            Regardless of how each one of us is taken with desire to be independent of interference in our daily activities, we usually find ourselves considerably dependent upon the conveniences of life and each other regardless of our denial.
 When hands get tied by glitches and bumps in the road, we come to see just how many times we take things for granted, and our dependency on the scientific advances of mankind and fellow human beings sure come oozing to the surface. “People really do need people.”
Such is the case with my non-deliverance of last week’s Gunflint scoop. A virus sickened the Smith computer, and my hands were tied, unable to produce. Thus “Ms. Dependability,” “Nosy Rosey,” the news-snooping pooch from over on Hungry Jack Lake, and her dad, came to my rescue. And, once again, my gratitude is ongoing.
Back in the saddle again, I bring you news of great joy! Folks throughout the territory are happy as frolicking otters due to the atmospheric happenings of this past week.
The upper Gunflint was rocked with a fine snow happening and the first real cold snap of the late fall/early winter. Yes we got white and plenty of it.  Although these parts didn’t receive as much as some areas in the snow belt, ours was real hard-earned crystal. While along the upper elevations of the North Shore, much of that snow was artificial stuff bloomed over the big lake. But I guess snow is snow!
To make sure our pre-holiday flocking isn’t going away any time soon, the great northern express ushered in some Arctic air. The frigid blast has had the Wildersmith thermometer stuck below the zero mark for several days.
One would think residing on the shores of Gunflint, we would’ve had a frozen lake surface days ago with these frigid temps. However, except for the far west end, the relentless wind prevented necessary still waters until this past Saturday night into Sunday morning.
The old gal finally slipped into her seasonal gear with an official “ice on” for 2013, Dec. 8. I’m assuming that both Loon and Saganaga lakes succumbed at about the same time. This date is one of the earlier frozen happenings on Gunflint Lake over the past several years. The earliest freeze up (in data recorded since the early 1980s) for Gunflint is Nov. 26, 1995.
On a related note, the Gunflint Gal no sooner had her winter coat in place than she ripped a deep gash in the new hard water apparel. With a screeching wail, she split about a hundred feet from shore for a long distance in both directions from my Wildersmith venue.  So the times of “talking water” begins, although they may not be in the happiest of tones.
The days of wind prior to Gunflint Lake solidarity enabled Mr. Jack Frost to visit our south shore. From the boiling caldron over near-freezing waters, with brush in hand he sculpted his way into oblivion, leaving delicate cut glass shards on every bit of our wilderness canvas. He has seemed to have outdone his usual Hallmark elegance, but I guess I say that every year at this time.
Not only are Gunflinters overjoyed with our winter beauty, the business of recreating in the snow is hurriedly getting under way.  Groomers of the cross-country ski trail system are hard at work, as are those who maintain the power sledding pathways.
And, with the deep fluff, those who traverse in the snow now have substantial reason to wear snowshoes. Meanwhile fishers of hard waters are anxiously testing the safety of ice depths since heavy snow cover has added some unwanted warming insulation to their support system.
As winter has socked us in, the little critters frequenting our deckside feeding quarters have stepped up their daily stops. Further, it’s a marvel how the larger animal folk (white tail deer) have begun to matriculate back into our neighborhood since the big shooting season ended. It seems most are previous visitors since they seem to know their way around, and the best windows in which to stare back at us.
 I guess the moccasin telegraph humming throughout our woods continues unabated in comparison with the oft-interrupted cyber technologies experienced by us humans. We at Wildersmith seem to have a real “animal magnetism” in regard to providing quality shelter and fast food opportunities.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the romance of our extraordinary wonderland winter!

{photo by Kevin Fillips via Wikimedia Commons}