It’s sweet heart day in the northland! The time of hearts and chocolates finds the calendar chipping away at what was supposed to be the burden of winter. Rounding the corner just past the half-way point between our cold weather solstice and the vernal equinox, winter headed south for an apparent spring break.
A full week in border country of much warmer than normal temps and no new snow finds many of us ready to throw in the towel and get on with the season of re-birth. Fortunate for white landscape enthusiasts our snow pack out this way did not take a significant hit with the late March-April warmth. One happening of consequence though is that winter driving conditions on the Scenic By-way have all but disappeared. The usual snow-packed and icy blacktop extending from late November to March has evaporated into oblivion.
Left in the wake of our premature spring conditions we find an ugly grunge of over-applied road treatment chemicals. A “metropolis” look to the trailside snow banks is now beckoning for a refresher course in snow making. It’s hoped that “old man winter” will consider the upper Trail for his next delivery to the lower forty-eight.
Warm air that has been hovering over the cold snow pack has provided some mid-winter majesty, somewhat brightening the feelings of we truly winter-deprived beings. Several foggy nights and dawns have supported the properties for “Jack Frost” to do his rendition of “plein air” artistry.
Gunflint hillsides have been alive not with the “sound of music,” but crystallization as only “Jack” can muster from his palate. Add a little sunshine by mid-day and you have all the fixin’s for a glitter strewn holiday formal and a fairy princess’ dream come true. So, there has been something positive coming out of the less than zealous winter season.
Speaking of “plein air” activity, there has been a number of artists doing their thing through out the county lately. I had the chance to see one such devotee pursuing his craft after dark one evening outside the Trail Center restaurant.
I’m not sure what his subject was but he was out in the cold with his only light coming from the Trail Center neon reflections. I’m guessing that if he was working in watercolors to keep the tints a-flowing he may have been using some imbibing spirits. What an interesting phenomenon at this time of year!
The annual Cook County Ridge Riders fun “poker run” brought a brief respite to silence in the woods last Saturday. Snow sled engines wound tight as an eight-day clock were streaking down the Gunflint and other area lakes as players hopped from Trail Center to Hungry Jack Lodge to Windigo to Gunflint Lodge and Gunflint Pines collecting their playing cards before reaching final play of the day at Devil Track Landing in the late afternoon.
I’m sure that fun was had by all on a splendid day when some must have been trying for new land speed records. It was like a daytime meteor shower as they jettisoned by Wildersmith. Hope all got home safely!
That’s all for now! Keep on hangin’ on and savor the wonders of the woods!
Airdate: February 10, 2012
Photo courtesy of David Reid via Flickr.