February in the north woods is about a done deal. The sands of time are running out on month two just as they are on the winter of 11/12.
At the time of this keyboard exercise, our snow accumulation at Wildersmith since first of the month has barely measured more than an inch. Yet this part of the state remains startlingly white in spite of the ever-present global warming attempt to do away with winter completely.
With anywhere from 14 to 18 inches covering this part of the territory, the past week has been wonderful for snow activities. In fact, it seems President’s weekend found a large part of the state’s population congregated along the Gunflint corridor under sparkling clear skies and reasonable temperatures.
I’m told that the cross-country skiing has been just delightful, in addition to other things that could be done in the snow.
I’m guessing the snowmobile trail system probably took a beating based on the throngs of transporting rigs I’ve observed traveling area roads. A substantial batch of fresh fluff would sure be a blessing to keep the winter sports season going.
Catchers of fish tell me this has been a great hard water season. In fact, one of the pros from around here said that it’s the best he’s seen in years. Another fellow reports catching a swell walleye in an unnamed location on Gunflint Lake when he’d been told he’d never catch one this time of year. Meanwhile, one of his angling partners caught a real hog of a lake trout that almost required an enlargement of the exit spot to get it up onto the ice.
Spring things are beginning to show themselves right on the heels of the wimpiness from a not-so-honorable Old Man Winter. I’ve noted a deciduous shrub or two that have green buds at their branch tips. Along with a sure sign that all things vernal are not far away are the usual frost heaves and dips in the Trail blacktop. So the annual roller coaster ride to town each week is now under way.
Tis the season for creation of the next generation of canid type beasts, and it will not be long until some of the smaller hibernating critters will be making their 2012 debut. I even took note of a handsome whitetail buck with swelling bumps of cartilage rising from its forehead. And already in this world, but yet to appear, is the next crop of black bruno teddies. So although I remain an eternal optimist for winter, I’m facing the fact that this favorite time might as well get out of the way and make room for rebirth in the woods.
Recent wildlife sighting reports include a Canadian lynx on the grounds around Gunflint Lodge, and if there’s one, there’s surely more. Guess that might answer the question, “Where have all the white hares gone, gone to felines every one.” Also heard of a cougar being spotted somewhere along the Trail, so keep an eye out for this big guy/gal!
Organizers of the pink extravaganza, Mush for a Cure, are holding their breath that either we’ll get a nice late winter blast or that what winter remnants we do have will hang on for their big weekend of March 9 through 11. Regardless of weather conditions, there is no stopping this group as they get ready to color border country pink.
If you haven’t stepped to the plate in support of this worthy endeavor furthering breast cancer research, the time is right now. The goal of fundraising this year is to exceed the $30,000 they contributed last year. See www.mushforacure.com to check out all of the events being planned. Volunteer to help if you wish and make a pledge. Most of all, join in the fun and participate in some way!
As a postscript to this report, the upper Trail added about 6 inches of snow this past Tuesday.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the wilderness ways!
Airdate: February 24, 2012
Photo courtesy of Blanka Toth via Flickr.