Wildersmith On The Gunflint July 7, 2009

Ducks
Ducks

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Independence Day has kicked us off into the rest of the summer. I must say that the past week has been marvelously cool, and I’m sure that the moose must be smiling. They must have been happy about the cool sunless days; several made candid appearances in favorite viewing spots along the Trail.

The color palette of a northwoods summer continues to be enhanced with each passing day. Our ribbon of blacktop may not be the yellow brick road, but one might call it close. Uncountable billions of golden blooms edge the paradise pathway with an occasional splash of orange hawkweed and drifts of daisy petals. If your focus is too far ahead of your vehicle, the multiple tints become a rainbow on the ground when you add in the lupine and roses. Truly our “pot of gold” is in just being here.

As sunrises begin their trek back southward, one the other day was particularly eye-catching. Recently, I awakened just as Sol made his daily appearance. Thin clouds deflected early rays into the hottest pink I’ve ever seen. In a few short moments, pink became blazing copper with the sky looking to be on fire, and a few moments later, as the gaseous mass became fully spherical, the first golden lasers pierced through the pines.

Even spectacular doesn’t do the happening justice! Sorry most probably weren’t awake to see it.

A fellow down the road mistakenly left his garage door open last week and subsequently found that the temptation was too much for a bear to pass up. It’s likely that one of the local ursine had considerable indigestion after the nocturnal visit to the garage.
In the confines were two big garbage cans, one filled with leftover shelled deer corn and the other with sunflower seeds. The four-pawed thief politely removed the container lids and consumed about 60 pounds of corn and nearly 50 pounds of the seeds without leaving one morsel on the floor.
I’m betting that if only one critter did all the gorging, and then drank plenty of water, it was miserable. Probably a lot of burping, growling and grunting!
Another animal tale finds an eagle sitting in the top of a tall cedar tree along the Gunflint Lake shore last week. It was about brunch time, and I found it sizing up a potential duck treat.
Two momma ducks were herding their broods around a dock when they became aware that the families were being sized up. With considerable duck language squabble, one raft was directed under the dock and the other mom headed hers off toward safety beside a nearby boat.
The activity lasted several minutes with the eagle stoically studying the situation. Suddenly, from out of the low clouds, came several raucous seagulls that might have had ideas of their own about ducklings. The hungry raptor became discouraged at the gull diving and screeching nonsense and suddenly took flight without getting a mid-morning treat. Meanwhile, the gulls moved on toward a little fishing action and the duck families survived to see another day.
We are one week away from the big Gunflint Trail canoe race event. A feature that was initiated last year was an eating contest. Paling in comparison with the annual hot dog eating contest in the Big Apple, this northwoods version of gullet stuffing has nonetheless taken on a character of its own.
Last year the subject of consumption was Twinkies, and four contestants entered in what turned out to be a hilarious fiasco. However, as a fundraiser for the total canoe race effort, the gorging provided a tidy sum.
So organizers are gearing up for the ’09 rendition, and have six entries lined up. This year’s menu consists of cream puffs. So once again, the spectacle should be a stitch to watch. The participating entries have pledge boxes at Bearskin Lodge, Trail Center restaurant, Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Pines resort, Seagull Outfitters and Voyageur Canoe Base. It appears that there could be two winners, one that raises the most money in pledge support and the other downing the most puff balls. Hope you are there to enjoy all the fun!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the north land charisma!
 

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