Mother Nature turned the lights out on Old Man Winter over the long Memorial Day weekend. Apparently with no regrets, the gal in charge of all things natural advanced the mercury so much as to make us north woods folks forget about spring while we bid farewell to a seemingly short May.
Suddenly we have moved right into summer with some 80-degree readings. The sticky circumstance surely must be silencing the whiners about our long cold season. For yours truly and probably the moose, about two or three days of this nasty heat is enough. Too much more of this heat and my ungulate friends and I will be calling for falling leaves.
Strange as that might seem, the area is barely into leaf out time. There are bulging buds and green tips enough to give the hillside horizons an emerald tinge, but it looks as though we’ll be a good ways into June before the “chlorophylling” process is complete.
Meanwhile, the upper Trail territory has dried out once more with no rain since the dousing of over a week ago. In spite of the snow which had us buried for months, and now is all but departed, the ground cover is bone dry. No, melted snow does not denote the area is safely damp. All we have to show for the meltdown is muck under foot.
The long weekend found the Gunflint a-buzz with pre-summer visitors. Vehicles galore were humming in both directions, most either toting or pulling some type of watercraft. Road traffic eventually terminated at some special water location where both canoeists and fisher people were romancing our crystal lakes.
I must say that it’s been quite a contrast from 10 days ago when we were listening to the crunching of ice shards to hearing the sloshing of foamy rollers against our granite shores. In either case, the scores were and are unmatched rustic orchestrations!
Another beautiful unlikeness was observed by yours truly an evening before our Gunflint Lake ice out. As old Sol was setting over the patchwork of open water and floating ice bergs, a unique mosaic of peach, orange, pink, crimson and purple reflections were cast off the irregular surface, in an awe-inspiring experience.
In comparison, my first observation on the newly opened liquid found Mr. Sunset casting an infrared light bar from horizon to my eye which was superimposed over a rippling royal purple overlay. Talk about natural beauty; the mystique of a border country lake at days’ end doesn’t get any better, regardless of the time of year.
The charm of our wild critters at this time of year is borne out in the new faces of the neighborhood. Such is the case with a momma bear that’s been observed in a number of Gunflint/Loon Lake locations. The big Momma is being accompanied by three wonderful little Teddies. I’m told the family is quite a sight. My suggestion is she and the hungry cubs not be tempted by human carelessness, as she’ll no doubt be very protective.
On another note from the wild, there’s been an invasion of north woods terrorists. First ones I’m noting are ticks. Guess they came through the bitterest winter in years with flying colors. Everyone had hoped there’d be a good freeze out of the creepy monsters, but apparently such is not the case, ick!
Then, along with our first real warmth, the mosquito reconnaissance squadron has invaded. These big guys are not real biters, but just “ GPSing” those of us with blood in our veins for the big onslaught from their hungry cousins.
And, if that isn’t enough, a short Memorial Day stroll along the Mile O Pine found a gang of those black flies lying in the weeds just waiting for this unsuspecting soul. So ‘tis the season, sweat and nets!
One has to wonder what the creator had in mind when these nasty critters were added to the universal listing of all things. I realize that each of these disgusting varmints must play some sort of role in the ecological plan, and skeeters and black flies are nutrition to something up the line. But come on, what being with any sense would eat a tick?
It looks to me that outside of the flies pollinating blueberries and bats eating mosquitos, there is little favorable that can be said for any of our wilderness pests.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a summer song!
(Photo by beingmyself on Flickr)