It’s ‘shine on Harvest Moon’ time in the wilderness. This weekend marks the full lunar experience for the month of falling leaves.
If it’s clear as it was a week in advance, the forest will really be lit up during the wee hours of tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The Smiths were traveling home after dark last Saturday under a sparkling clear sky and watched as a half moon came up over many Trail side lakes along our Gunflint path.
The fluorescent cast on rippling evening waters was something to behold against a deep, blue-black forest curtain. Glowing waters and a sprinkling from starry heavens bestowed a remarkable romantic landscape for us as we trekked homeward. It’s the nighttime scenery from which woodsy love stories must be contrived.
Anyway, it was most soothing as we rambled along the bituminous path into what often seemed like a black hole, only to come upon one majestic shimmering creation after another. Pretty darn neat!
The territory is entering a fourth consecutive week with barely a sprinkle of rain recorded. If one travels in the back country, your vehicle is stirring up a spiraling dust bowl the likes of which are just choking.
If the continuing atmospheric conditions are any indication, prognosticator predictions of a snowy winter ahead for this part of the world might be in need of serious adjusting. Guess we’ll just keep on, keepin’ on, in hope of a precipitous turnaround.
Although the dry spell persists, our warmth of the first weeks in month 10 has mellowed into more normal temperature readings around Wildersmith. And, if you add in some occasional gusty northwest currents, an accent of windchill has added to the mix. Guess one feels it more since we have been so spoiled with the abnormal extension of late August.
The yearly re-carpeting of the forest floor is receiving a final touch while heading into the last stanza of October. Tamarack needles are gently floating down to complete the process. So all about the woods is in readiness whenever the Mom in Charge decides to mount a winter offensive.
I’ve observed a couple wilderness critters that indicate there might be a colder time ahead. Both a snowshoe hare and an ermine have crossed my path recently. Each was still sporting a brown-tone upper body, and milky white feet, legs and belly. If something white doesn’t happen soon these characters have been duped completely, and will be as conspicuous as a proverbial sore thumb.
The usual winter welcome wagon gang may be fooled too. Our snow bunting northwoods greeters have been gathering along the byway. A trip home from end of the Trail last Sunday found several throngs swooping out in front of the vehicle. One thought in their favor however: With no snow cover, seed gathering along the roadbed will be easy pickings.
The museum season at Chik-Wauk closed last Sunday. An overwhelmingly successful first year has ended with slightly over 10,900 visitors.
The joyous sounds of people connected to the Gunflint were splendid. Now it’s a time of whispering spirits in the wind over big Lake Saganaga until spring, when folks will gather again, sharing and listening to saga of Gunflint days gone by.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the peace and quiet of fall in the wilderness!
Airdate: October 22, 2010