Wildersmith on the Gunflint: February 28

Snow-Covered Branches
Snow-Covered Branches

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The northland closed the books on chapter 2 of 2014, and welcomes the third stanza.  February turned out much the same as her predecessor, cold and quite snowy by months end.

The brief encounter with warmer conditions about ten days ago was short lived in these parts as a healthy dose of white and recurring frosty temps added to the glory of this season. The warming power of “Sol” excited some winter weary folks up this way. And the gleaming rays even had roof edges making stalactite artwork where it was able to peak around and through the forest shadows.

February’s third week snow accumulations pretty much assure winter activities will continue for weeks to come throughout the Gunflint corridor. Snow is “moose belly” deep and shows no sign of diminishing much with one of our snowier months bearing down on us. The latest dropping at Wildersmith brings our season total to eighty-seven and one-half inches.

Gunflint country is quite busy the next couple weekends. This coming Sunday, March 2nd finds the annual Trout Derby taking place on the west end of Gunflint Lake.

Sponsored by the Cook County Snowmobile Club, participant registration runs from 9-11:00am and all fish must be turned in for judging by 2:00pm. A $500 prize will go to the catcher of the biggest “lunker.” This is always a fun day with a fine “on the lake” cook-out, come on out and enjoy!

Our deep white cover will make for an interesting run of the annual “Mush for the Cure” which is just a week away. The 8th consecutive year of this “Pink Extravganza” is being held on March 7 & 8.

Many activities are part of this exciting time along the Trail. Events commence at 5:00 pm on Friday the seventh and conclude late Saturday afternoon of March eighth. To see a full slate of all activities, check-out the “Mush for a Cure” website.

A re-designed course for the long distance mush will find both the start and finish happening on the icy waterfront of Gunflint Pines Resort. The short course race commences Saturday morning at 10:00 am with the longer distance dogsledders following at 12:00 noon.
In the previous seven years some $186,000 has been raised and contributed to National Breast Cancer Research. In 2013, $43,000 was raised. This years’ target is $50k!

The time is now to throw your support behind this fantastic effort. Donations can be made on- line via the “Mush for a Cure” website, or at several business locations along the Trail.

If you have a favorite team in either race, or one of the three entries (Ana Genz, Corey Christianson or Craig Horak) in the “Bold, Brave and Beautiful” contest, show them you’re backing with a contribution pledge as soon as possible.

As if we humans aren’t having enough trouble finding a place to move and stack all the snow, many critters of the “wild neighborhood” share the struggle, only in terms of survival.

A few deer have returned to the yard following my time away. It’s for sure they are in a difficult grapple with the cold white elements. Traversing this deep powder is taxing their strength, endurance and perhaps, if they possess such, emotional composure. I find they’re not getting off the beaten path once they have one established.

And if the white tails aren’t facing enough turmoil passing through the forest, the Gunflint-Loon Lake wolf pack has them in their sites. Three sites of venison dinner have been consumed along our Mile O Pine in recent days, and more have been reported by the folks down around Gunflint Lodge.  Before we reach the season of re-birth, it’s going to be a tough next few weeks for this nervous species.

On a less stressful note, seasonal beauty in the wilderness reigns supreme. This territory is an artists’ and photographers’ delight.  A trip to town for church last Sunday found an elegant sample of natural artistry. In this exhibition, the creations were on the move.

West-northwest winds were chasing loose snow around in un-countable modes of swirling, slithering wisps between the tunneled roadside banks.  Not one of the serpentine configurations matched another as they danced and bounced from side to side during our forty-eight mile trek through un-organized territory.

Occasionally, a sinuous tuft of white would try to escape the windrow barriers along our pathway. Suddenly a gauzy shock would leap up as a ghostly phantom only to explode in a glorious poof, captured once again. The winnowed flurry would then settle back to the road top and re-organize for another twisting tumble.

Mile after mile found us marveling at the dramatic exhibition on this asphalt pallet. What a trip!

Keep on hangin’ on and savor beauty and power of white!

(Photo by clickclique on Flickr)


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