Wildersmith August 20

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Mn_autumn.jpg

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Hot and sticky was the character of the Trail last week, as the territory was again dealt little more than a few sprinkles. Wildfire danger has ascended into the “high” category by the judging agency, so residents are edgy in regard to the crunchy conditions throughout the forest. Strangely, I hear no scuttle about campfire/burning bans as rain predictions continue to be a nonsensical fraud around here.

During this keyboard exercise, some partial climatic relief is headed in by way of Canada. Northwest winds are howling down region lakes with the promise of cooler area-wide temps.

The roaring winds in the darkness of last Sunday night and Monday morning had a familiar sound of January coming through the pines, and the prognosticators even mentioned that contemporary scare word ”windchill” for pre-dawn hours in early week data. How about that for a turn-around?

Coupled with dwindling of day light minutes and powder dry soil conditions there is a growing explosion of gold in scattered patches of birch and aspen. A few maples along the Mile O’ Pine have tinges of scarlet, but I’m afraid they might wilt into winter without achieving their full flair, even though it has been humid. I remain amazed that the forest is as lush as it is in this persevering boundary country drought.

The waters of the “Gunflint Gal” keep on tricking away down the Granite River. Add in daytime evaporation and I’ve been measuring the decline at about a tenth of a foot per week on the DNR lake level gauge. It’s going to take months, if not years, to fill ‘er back up.

A happy Trail note was struck last Saturday afternoon as the Mid-Trail gang put on their 2010 flea market, gift boutique, auction and quilt raffle. A big crowd filled fire hall #1 for the fun and refreshments, in addition to taking home some great deals.

When the dust had settled, the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department came up the biggest winner. Some $5500.00 was generated for their coffers from some very generous participants. By the way, the annual Mid-Trail quilters’ work of art was won by Ray Ahrens who has a cabin on Hungry Jack Lake. Great organization made the afternoon fly by. Thanks go out to everyone that lent a hand in making it happen.

The August meeting of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society is little more than a week away. Members and wannabes should mark their calendars for Monday the 30th. This month’s meeting site will be at the new Hungry Jack Lodge beginning at 1:30 pm. Aside from the usual business, there will be a review of the initial weeks of Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center operations. Treats will be served once again.

It seems hard to believe that the yesterdays’ summer is almost gone. Autumn is on the way. Concerns in these parts have turned toward back to school, making jelly, plucking garden crops, getting on with firewood collecting and splitting, wondering about dock removal and snow clearing equipment tune-ups.

It’s a time where the young grouse now look like mom. Velvet is sagging from local ungulate antlers, bears are making hogs of themselves, hummers are nervously hovering in increased numbers at sweet juice bottles, snowshoe hares are having thoughts about a new winter coat, rodent species are collecting every seed possible for the cold weather menu, winged things are thinking about edging southward and lake water temps have peeked warm enough for the shallower bodies to be almost covered in lily-pads and algae.

Yes, the first frost could be just a few weeks away. We can only hope it will be of enough consequence that a farewell bid can be made to our miserable late season mosquitoes.

By the time we meet again on the radio, the “sturgeon moon” will have us headed toward September. Time flies when you’re having fun!

That’s all for now. Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a lasting summer fling!

Airdate: August 20, 2010

One of Fred's Gunflint Lake neighbors caught this video of a bear getting into things it shouldn't.


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