Spring has really sprung in the upper Gunflint territory! Since we last met over the waves of space, many more wilderness characters have popped out.
There are so many shades of green throughout the land that they are countless. A panoramic scan over the rolling granite landscape portrays mosaic tints ranging from pale sage to lime, to moss, to deep-sea aquamarine. They are just spectacular!
Closer up at ground level, we are celebrating more vernal rites. While domestic daffodils have been on the scene for some time, they are now being joined by a number of their wild cousins. The buttery faces of marsh marigolds are lining streams and swampy ditch banks. They are matched by their higher ground golden “dandy” lions and, over the past day or so, the forget-me-nots have once again forgotten us not.
Meanwhile the coniferous partners of the wilderness flora are sprouting buds into candles to become the next generation limbs, and those wondrous tamarack have bloomed their 2012 silky replacement needles in just a few short days.
Things are just a buzzin’ too! The annual fishing opener has brought out the drone of watercraft up and down area lakes with anglers seeking those first walleye sensations.
Added to this human hubbub is the hum of a zillion flying insects. Last weekend saw the area engulfed once more with the beginning of the two-week terrorist training for bitin’ bugs. Yes, the black flies have emerged from whence they come and seem infuriated for no apparent reason. It would seem simple that they might just go on about their blueberry pollinating business and leave us alone, but such is not the case.
The other nippers are here too, also seeming not in the best mood. The sad part of this whole gnawing scenario is that the skeeters will be in our midst for many weeks to come.
There’s no beating them, so it’s cover-up time. Bring on the Deet and netting apparel as we re-examine our torture tolerance level. Yours truly is already in the mood for a good freeze, sorry gardeners!
The reference to blueberries a few sentences back brings to mind that several folks have already been out exploring their favorite picking patches. The early canvas tells of what looks to be another great crop, based on the bloom. All we need is rain at the right time and plenty of sunshine.
It would appear, however, that rain will once again be an issue. The past week has passed with little to no moisture in the upper Gunflint reaches. As would be expected, the area is again in high wildfire danger mode with warm temps, drying winds and no ban on wilderness campfires!
It would be well for all wildfire sprinkler systems to be put into the stand-by mode. Further, running the system to dampen things down every few days would make good sense.
Let’s hope that common sense usage will prevail in regard to visitors needing a campfire when coming into the wilderness, and that lightning is a minimal factor when accompanied by substantial rain.
A few reports of black bruin activity are trickling in, but with no apparent tales of confrontation or amazement. One bruno is said to have learned how to open the topper door on a neighbor’s pick-up truck, climb in for a little grub exploration and vacate with no harm. Now if it could only learn to shut the door behind itself.
There has also been an observation of the first moose calf of the season. This sighting was down in the Greenwood Lake vicinity. Let’s hope this is the first of many!
While the south side of Chicago has its White Sox, the south shore of Gunflint Lake is not to be outdone. We have our own rendition of what I’ll call the Minnesota White Sox.
Those snowshoe hares are now clad in full summer camouflage except for their pure paws. And they are daredevils of the woods, paying almost no attention when crossing vehicular paths, often hopping within inches of becoming rabbit burger.
On a final note, there’s a lot of squawking going on out this way, nothing political mind you. A pair of crows have set up nesting about 10 white pines to the west of Wildersmith.
Their housekeeping chores now seem to include rearing youngsters, as the uproarious clamor is pandemonium pretty much from daybreak to sundown. I’ve even reached a point where I often catch myself yakking back at them. Ohhh, the babbles of new forest arrivals!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the sights and sounds of the season.
Airdate: May 18, 2012
Photo courtesy of Ian Britton via Flickr.