The Full Wolf/Great Spirit moon was a howling celebrity over the Gunflint Territory as it approached fullness last weekend. The snow clouds parted Saturday evening to allow a mosaic luminescence of winter-blue patches throughout the forest landscape.
The splendid mosaic patchwork of the old man in the moon couldn’t have been more up north, as it beamed down on glistening cold crystal. By setting time in the wee hours Sunday, the temperature at Wildersmith plunged to minus 28, our coldest of the season so far.
The weekend got off to a great atmospheric start with snowfalls on both Thursday and Friday that added another seven inches to the already mounting snow pack. With old man winter pulling the plug on Saturday, he came back with added white late Sunday and on into Monday, counting another four inches or so.
I can’t say how much is on the ground right now, but suffice to say, it is plenty deep out in the woods. The snow accumulation tally in our neighborhood from our first dose in late October, through last Monday is 60 inches. This is approaching twice last year’s puny effort.
Although the current on-the-ground snow depth does not match our season’s total measurements, I’m finding that it is nevertheless becoming troublesome for white tail navigation once they get off their well-trodden paths.
I came upon a doe and her fawn as they meandered down Gunflint Lake Road a few days ago. It was very apparent that the mom was frustrated as she pranced along the road in front of my slow-moving vehicle trying to find a place to exit. After maybe a quarter mile of leading me along, she finally made a leap into the forest. Not only did she sink to more than belly deep, but her young one was almost totally submerged in the deep fluff.
Despite the bitter cold of last Sunday morning, the trip to Grand Marais for church services was simply enchanting. As a result of some north woods air brushing by Mr. Jack Frost, every deciduous branch and coniferous needle was coated in diamonds, for miles and miles. Coupled with evergreens draped in huge marshmallow mounds, ever growing roadside windrows and the shiny iced blacktop, our trek was pretty much a white blur.
At column deadline, I’ve only talked with one ice angler about his fishing luck, and the reaction to trout catching was mixed. Opening day was worthy of mention, but as low barometric pressure gave way to high overnight and bitter cold, little action was recorded on day two. So what else is new? It’s the nature of nature, one day is for catching, while others are not, but fishing, no matter what the result, is always good!
Planning is well underway for the annual “pink” dog sledding spectacular. This year’s event is scheduled for the weekend of March 11 and 12. Mush for a Cure number five, the north woods fundraiser to support breast cancer research, has many exciting events on the docket in addition to the festive recreational K-9 run from the frozen waterfront at Gunflint Pines Resort to Trail Center. Check out the website (mushforacure.com) for more details about all the events, volunteer assistance opportunities and team support pledging. The hot pink weekend, produced for an acutely special cause, will be great fun, mark your calendars.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the woods in formal white attire.
Airdate: January 21, 2011