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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: June 21

Lake Trout
Lake Trout

Wildersmith_20130621_finalcut.mp37.87 MB

The Gunflint Territory is in celebration mode this weekend.  The solstice of summer” marks the first happy event today (the 21st), and a full “strawberry moon” (Ode’imini Giizis in Ojibwe) closes down (Sunday the 23rd) what will surely be a festive few days in the north country.
Visitors galore are trekking up the Trail. Caravans of traffic, either toting or pulling some variety of watercraft, are pouring into the hundreds of favorite rest and relaxation venues. It’s tourist season and folks in those business ventures are going crazy with exuberance at their return.
Weather conditions over the past seven have been on the delightful side, pleasantly cool at night and tolerably warm during the daylight hours. The area around Wildersmith even got an unexpected half-inch snippet of rain last Sunday evening.  Thus, the crunchy dry forest floor has been temporarily relieved of fire danger, but more precipitation is welcome.
The Smiths’ neighborhood has remained void of visiting bears for another week. However, those buzzing carnivore visitors are making life in the forest pretty miserable.  One has to feel sympathetic for any being with blood in their veins as those biting/stinging varmints must number in the bazillions right now.
I watched recently as a cloud of bugs was tormenting a squirrel during its breakfast at our deck-side feeder. This feisty rodent seemed near the end of its wits while trying to eat just one seed and at the same time fend off the ravenous, unforgiving pests. It was sad, but also a bit humorous, as it swished its tail like a helicopter prop and occasionally jumped up in the air like a jack-in-the-box to clear the air around itself.

And if the airborne biters aren’t bad enough, those creepy ticks are so thick at ground level they can almost trip you. The insect critters are at us from all directions right now!

Speaking of yet another northern animal oddity, this one took place under water. A friend hooked onto a good-sized lake trout from his dock not long ago. The ensuing battle to land the big hog took some time, and just as it was in sight near his dock, an unknown being came streaking through the water in an apparent attack on his catch.

The attacker must have quickly assessed that the “attackee” was too big a bite to handle, and veered on by. Thinking it was maybe a huge northern pike, this fisherman was surprised when the sub-surface jet popped up out of the water a few feet away from his thrashing finny.  It turns out this was another well-meaning Gunflint fisherman: one of our local loons. By the way the trout measured in at some 34 inches, wow!
As thousands of visitors are coming up the byway to celebrate the wonders of our natural world, the Gunflint community gathered last week to honor some of its own. At the grand opening of the newly developed fire department facilities, nearly 250 friends and residents came together in recognition of the hard work of many dedicated people.
Folks were in awe of the new Schaap Mid-Trail Community Center and adjacent fire and rescue equipment storage facility. The viewing opportunity turned out to be a great social meeting as well. Friends both seasonal and year-round conversed about the past winters goings-on and were treated to some fine north woods dining under the big top.
A big thanks to the event organizers, provision donors and a great group of cooks and servers. And of course, congrats and thanks to the dedicated planners, design people, fund raisers, financial supporters and construction trades people that made this dream come alive!
A dismal past Monday morning blossomed into another sparkling midday up at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. The fifth annual fish fry fundraiser brought in over 100 folks for the big shore lunch event on the Sag Lake front bay.
A huge thanks to all the Gunflint Trail Historical Society Volunteers who pitched in for the site set-up and to prepare/serve the fixins’. Kudos also go to Gunflint Lodge Guide Dennis Todd for providing the fish, as well as the staff at the Lodge for providing the rest of the menu items. Listeners not in attendance missed out on a great day and scrumptious food!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor wonders in the land of sky blue waters!

{photo via wikimedia commons courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service}