Wildersmith on the Gunflint: June 20

Strawberry Moon
Strawberry Moon

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Weather’s been nippy and wet over the past few days, but that’s how it is out this way sometimes. It sure beats 80 and humid, and makes one really appreciate those bright blue segments.

Our wet part has both a plus and minus to the atmospheric mood. On the minus side, it’s enabling more available open water for mosquito propagation. The good news is that the cool wet forest is keeping fire danger at low ebb.

On another positive note about wetness, the forest is unbelievably lush. If green is good, this place is heaven right now. The timberland is showing off an array of quaking new leaves along with candles of next generation branches on the coniferous species. It’s so captivating watching the candle-like luminaries grow into needle-covered limbs as summer meanders by.

Every Gunflinter has been wishing so hard for summer to come following our six hard months of winter. After tomorrow morning’s solstice, it’s officially here. Sure seems difficult to accept that the current run of long daylight minutes will begin trekking in the other direction once again. We shouldn’t despair though, as we will have many fine days before we begin to notice the decline to any extent.

Our northern nighttimes have been amazingly bright with the “strawberry” moon of last week and only about four hours of actual darkness. Twilight at both ends of the daily transition runs very late and comes out very early.

The Bruno is back in the Wildersmith neighborhood and paid us another deck visit. This time the black critter showed up during daylight hours so we got a real good look.  Happily for yours truly, this guy/gal is pretty much a sissy when it comes to my presence.

When I stormed out to run it off, the bear found itself cut off from its only escape route off the deck. It decided to bail, proceeded to scramble under the safety bracing and eventually fell off the deck after hanging suspended for several seconds. Unscathed by the 10-foot fall, it grudgingly ambled off into the woods.

Gunflint Lodge is the site of the annual North Shore Health Care Foundation BBQ this Sunday, June 22; social hour commences at 4 p.m. with dining at 5. Early reservations are no longer available, but I feel certain those without reservations will be accommodated. Dining entertainment is being provided by Gerald Thilmany of Loon Lake. All proceeds from this yearly fundraiser go to the foundation’s endowment fund.

Next Saturday, June 28, the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee and the Gunflint Trail Association is conducting a “Tend the Trees” day. This event is being put on as a continuing follow-up to the Gunflint Green-up campaign which has been ongoing since the tragic Ham Lake Fire in 2007.

As most will remember, the USFS, many Byway locals and people from all over the state have joined hands each year since the fire to begin reforestation of some 36,000 acres of national forest that were burned during the siege. Some 100,000 trees have been planted since. It’s now time to go back out into the planting areas and “release” the saplings from the competitive vegetation that has grown around and over them.

 The happening on the 28th is a volunteer effort and many are needed to help out. Interested folks should gather at the Trail’s End Campground boat landing at 10 a.m.

Byway committee members and Forest Service personnel will be there to direct workers to the area along the Seagull Nature Trail in need of tending. Workers should bring loppers and/or nippers plus appropriate outdoor wear, sunscreen, bug dope, a sack lunch and water. You can stay for an hour or all day! Please come and tend the trees, they need YOU!

Then the following day, Sunday, June 29, a celebration of summer is being held at the Chik Wauk Museum and Nature Center with an open house. From noon until 2 p.m. a shrimp boil will be served as the dinner fare with a free will donation being appreciated.

Attendees will want to visit the museum and get a look at the new temporary exhibit of Butterflies, Skippers and Moths found throughout Gunflint Territory. Visitors are also encouraged to check out the newly released Chik Wauk Cultural Landscape Review.

This is a fabulous historical document about the famous resort from its inception to the present. The book was prepared by the professional historic landscape firm of Quinn Evans Architects in Madison, Wisc., in cooperation with citizenry of the Gunflint community both near and far away.

The day is also an opportunity for Gunflint Trail Historical Society members to re-up and new members to get on board.  And last but not least, why not hike about the site and just get some enjoyment of this magical place in border country?

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor, the sum, sum summertime along the Trail!
 


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