Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 18

Mosquito
Mosquito

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Upper Gunflint weather conditions calmed some over the past week. The wash-out rains of the week prior have subdued into a few minor episodes which totaled 1 ¼ inches at Wildersmith. In between the moisture happenings, skies have been mostly clear with temps about normal to just on the pleasantly cool side.
           
Water levels in river system lakes are holding steady with a continuing feed from the upper Gunflint watershed. On the Gunflint Gal,  our surface level is the highest I’ve seen at this time of year since arriving in 1999.
           
I can’t speak for all lakes, but the water temp at our Wildersmith dock is struggling to get above the mid-60s, and I heard that the mercury up on Saganaga is hovering in the low to mid-50s. This seems unusually cool for the third week of July.
           
As anyone who’s been here before knows, this is a wondrous place. Our northern paradise is such a marvel I’m often set to wondering about a sundry of natural woodsy happenings.
             
For instance, in regard to our current mosquito siege, do they ever sleep or take time off? It seems they are here to greet one early in the a.m., mad about something by midday and even nastier by sundown. Do you suppose they might have a three shift attack strategy or maybe they’re just on call 24/7? Whatever their plan, they’ve sure had the upper hand in the war on us, and it’s quite perplexing.
           
A fellow shared a humorous tale with me the other day in which it was claimed there are so many big mosquitos around that one was discovered with a tick on it, or could it be vice-versa. Oh for a good freeze!
           
More wonderment caught my attention during a recent trip down the Trail to Grand Marais. Although focused on the winding pathway, one could not miss the ever-changing sky conditions as they transitioned from bright sunshine to dark eerie clouds. It made me wonder what effect this off-and-on, light-to-dark passing had on the hawkweed blossoms that escorted us toward civilization.
           
Knowing these floral invaders of the northland adapt readily to changing light conditions, do you suppose they were closing with each infusion of cloudy darkness, and re-opening per each golden exposure of old Sol?  If they were, I’m betting that their mini-operating systems were about to explode in photoelectric turmoil.
           
A third eye-catching amazement is observable nearly every summer morning throughout the woods. It’s hard for me to assimilate the way in which our neighborhood arachnids can put together such a network of fiber optics in one overnight setting.
           
A look into the dewy forest as the sun begins piercing through presents an array of incomprehensible glistening filaments. How do they do that? It is particularly amazing to think they do this night after night.
           
With tongue slightly in cheek, it has taken mankind nearly three years to get our single broadband fiber out this way, and we’re still not done. Obviously, the Gunflint arachnids are more efficient in overcoming fiber installation complications than we understand.
           
Many out this way continue to have issues with our ursine neighbors. Most bear concerns seem to happen on the negative side of the ledger. However, every once in a while one of the wooly critters props itself up in some sort of photo op which makes folks forget about them as usual north woods nuisances.
             
Such is the case where one was recently found sitting high in a tree top near the Gunflint Lodge waterfront/beach. Although it is not unusual for bears to climb trees, information is not available as to why it was up there.  Being in a place which is better suited to avian, this Bruno caused observers plenty of excitement over its lofty perch.
           
On a note that is more easily understood, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society announced it will be hosting another afternoon of musical enchantment. The first concert of Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings Chamber Music in 2013 was an incredible happening, and a return performance will be staged in just a few weeks.
           
Seating reservations are necessary for the event, which will again take place at the Mid-Trail Fire Hall facilities Saturday, Aug. 16, beginning at 4 p.m. Hall accommodations are limited to 150.  So it would be well to reserve as soon as possible. A call to the Chik-Wauk Museum is what it takes, 218-388-9915. A post-concert reception will be held in the Schaap Community Center next door.  Reservation proceeds will go to support Chik-Wauk Museum activities.
           
Two big events are into the books for this summer. The WTIP summer funding endeavor was fantastic and the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races went off with much excitement as usual. A huge pat on the back is extended to all staffers, volunteers and donors for making each of these important events enormously successful.
           
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a Gunflint wonder!

(Photo by Enrique Dans on Flickr)
 


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