Gunflint’s August week three is complete. After a miserable few “dog days” in the second segment, our weather has reverted to more tolerable conditions.
How hot was it? It was so uncomfortable both I and my glass of lemonade were in a constant sweat. Meanwhile, moose, bears and the like throughout our animal kingdom had to be suffering, too, in the sudden tropics around 48 degrees north. This spell hung on for what seemed like an eternity until a cooling northwester broke the panting last Sunday. My moose friends and I are looking for a continuance of the fall journey as my scribing hits the air waves.
Our venture toward autumn is on the move in spite of the daily roasting experience. Colorful nuggets of the coming season are beginning to hang heavy on their branches. Highbush cranberries and mountain ash berry cronies are in rapid transition to harvest crimson. Further, those ruby jewels of the forest, wild rose hips, dangle brightly in their prickly thickets awaiting a finishing frost, adding yet another tint to our green landscape.
Speaking of the approaching harvest time, the ritual for avian migration southward is on the upswing. While some species might have already hit the flyway, uncountable male hummingbirds have been fueling up at our sweet juice station over the past ten days in prep for their trip. It’s amazing these mini-birds drink as much as they do. Over the past week, we have been making a one cup batch of nectar every other day. And the competition for drinking rights has been fierce.
In yet another pre-flight situation, loon pairs are gathering in their usual groupings making plans to head out soon. At the same time, their off-spring remain calm and collected while fattening up and exploring the innate GPS that will get them to the Gulf shores in a few weeks after mom and dad take off.
A chart topping angling experience was shared with me recently. It surely must be a fishing story surpassing any one's mind might conjure up. The scene was on the east Bay of Saganaga Lake near the Chik-Wauk Museum site. The subjects were absolute “master fishers,” ones who seldom are denied a catch, “real pros.”
On this particular day, a member of the resident loon pair was observed shortly after a successful dive. The big bird surfaced with a sizeable finny, and was struggling in the process of devouring such.
A competing fish lover must have been watching from afar and decided to take things into its own hands, or in this case, talons. Without warning, an eagle plunged toward the loon and snatched lunch from the startled bird. A flurry of confusion and loon hollering was to no avail as Mr. or Ms. America soared off into the heavens, lunch intact, not to be seen again. One has to assume, like most fisher men, after the “big one” got away, this neatly attired critter was back at it sooner, rather than later (after its heart settled down).
Speaking further of fishy things, the MNDNR has been doing some netting for walleyes, lake trout and herring here on Gunflint Lake. This is part of ongoing research conducted every three years. It will be nice to hear what their efforts produced upon completion.
What looked to be the largest turn-out ever showed up at the mid-Trail fund raising bash last week? As usual, the doings were smashing with a record total of some $12,000 being tallied for the Trail Volunteer Fire and Rescue folks.
On top of being a wonderful social event, attendees made the usual auction a rollicking good time trying to out-bid one another on dozens of donated, artisans’ items. In the final event of the afternoon, the uniquely crafted quilt by the mid-Trail quilters was raffled off. Out of over 850 chances sold, Ruth Westby, who lives on Clearwater road off the Trail, had her name drawn. Congrats to Ruth on her good fortune, and thanks to the dozens of mid-Trail folks joining hands to organize this special annual event.
In closing this week's Gunflint scoop, the centennial celebration at Clearwater last Saturday evening was hugely spectacular. With so many kin of pioneer founders Charlie and Petra Boostrom on hand and subsequent owners of the Lodge and outfitting business in attendance, perhaps a million memories were relived in the hallowed lodge and on the ever-popular front porch. With great food and conversation, nostalgia reigned supreme while the great North Shore Community Swing Band played away the sunset into darkness. What a sweet “Clearwater” revival.
This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith. The Gunflint is gunning for a summer ending and a fall beginning, don’t miss it!
(Photo by Jason Mrachina on Flickr)