The wilderness rendition of holiday decorating has taken on a more serious note since last we met on the radio. A white blanket of snow has been spread through the upper Trail. Several light doses have layered up to five or six inches in most places, flocking a zillion pines to look like a seasonal Gunflint greeting card.
We’ve also been in the ice-making mode. The first zero reading occurred last Saturday morning at Wildersmith. Quiet bays on Loon, Gunflint, Seagull lakes, and I’m sure, several on Saganaga have taken on the icy cover as of last weekend.
Meanwhile, the larger body of Gunflint Lake is like a boiling cauldron. The water is nearing a freeze. And ghostlike vapors are blowing ashore to enhance the beauty of this time with delicate frosty build-ups on everything that isn’t already flocked. The breath-taking winter scenery rightly affirms that this is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
With the fresh snow, it is quite easy to see who and what has been nosing around the neighborhood after dark. With exception of those critters that slumber this time of year, it seems that nearly every creature native to these parts has made a trip through our yard in recent days.
A recent early morning run to Chik Wauk lodge, after an overnight dusting, found me following the tracks of a lone wolf for several miles along our snow-covered byway. I picked up the trail where Cross River intersects the Trail, and followed them past the Seagull guard station, where the warrior’s trek ventured off the road. Never did see the solo hunter, but I was intrigued at how far it had wandered.
A couple living over on Loon Lake had a three-pack of wolves perusing their garden one morning a few days ago. Then later the same day, they observed two more crossing the road on the lower Trail while heading into Grand Marais.
We hardly go 24 hours out this way that someone doesn’t relate some kind of wolf encounter. It would seem that the local whitetails must be skittishly looking over their shoulders at every waking moment and sleeping with ears perked and one eye open for fear of becoming a venison statistic.
My Canadian Jay pals, Whiskey and Jack are really giving credence to the old song lyrics, “Everybody needs somebody sometime.” They have become so neighborly that they follow me around the yard like an old pet dog. I even carry a small bag of bread cubes in my jacket pocket in case they chirp for a midday snack.
In recent days they have become disenchanted with their blue jay cousins at the deck side feed trough. I’m now met privately at my wood shop door for their treat each morning. They seem to have real personalities, and even look at me indignantly if the palm of my hand offers only one cube instead of the usual two or three.
Congrats go out to a Tucker Lake gal. Notification has been received that she was picked for an October billing on a coming New Year calendar. “Miss October,” as we might call her now, can conjure up many possible thoughts, but this title is truly an honorable one.
In this case, “Miss October” was one of 12 winners for the 15th annual…Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior…calendar contest. Her winning photograph for the 2010 edition, “Misty Sunrise on Magnetic Rock Trail,” and 11 others captured the attention of judges from among 175 photojournalist entrants who submitted over 1,000 photos.
“Misty Sunrise……..” captures a splendid look through digital eyes at peaceful life and times along the great Gunflint. A reception for the winning photo artists will be held in January, more on that later.