Wildersmith On the Gunflint Sept. 9, 2009

Grey squirrel
Grey squirrel

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Indian summer hit the north woods during the first week of month nine. And a perfect weekend greeted area residents and visitors as they celebrated the Labor Day holiday. Weather conditions were warmish, basically gorgeous.

Many seasonal folks were up for their final fling in the forest before closing down and seeking more southerly climes for the next six or seven months. So lake waters were a-rollin’ with man-made activity.

Winterization of summer cabins is beginning, a few docks have been relocated up on shore, water craft are headed for storage and some baby trees are getting their bud caps for winter predator protection. And wild critters that stay year round are busy harvesting survival things for a colder winter day.
Watching the neighborhood squirrel preparations is an exercise that could easily lull one into a state of exhaustion. The local rodents have been busy cutting down cedar tree seeds over the past week. The other morning I watched one dropping the little bunches as fast as its choppers could cut them loose.
Falling fast and furious, the ground was soon littered with what looked like a bucket full. A check later on found that all had been gathered and moved to winter storage. Later that day, I saw Mr./Ms. Squirrel taking one seed at a time from a white pine cone to an undisclosed location for safekeeping. It made trip after trip…must have slept well that night.
Just think of all the mileage that is put on those tiny legs getting each morsel to its neighborhood pantry. Further, they must have a mental database to match no others in order to find where they have put things on their thousands of jaunts.
Another squirrelly occurrence brought a laugh the other day. Knowing that these animals are almost solely seeds and nuts guys, I was surprised to catch one dipping into the Whiskey jacks’ gourmet cache of French fries at the Wildersmith feed trough.
The diminutive gnawer consumed two of the greasy bits before being discovered by the handsome birds in gray and black tuxedos. One fell swoop sent the French fry thief leaping into the nearest balsam tree with a starchy spud sticking out of its jaws like a cigar.
If pre-winter preps during the day aren’t enough, we heard what must have been a huge migration of geese pass over in the early darkness hours this past Saturday night. They were honking as if caught in an urban rush hour traffic jam.
Wondrous hues of yellow, orange and scarlet have intensified to embellish this early fall happening in the Mile O’ Pine maples, and at earth level, the lush ferns are golden to harvest brown in many places. September calls…all good things are showing signs of the times.
I’ve never seen a setting of the sun that I didn’t like. So deliberating on another or two over the past week is probably superfluous. Nevertheless, when one is so spectacular that it is spiritually uplifting, mention is justified.
Clouds, haze, smoke and the like are the medium to create astonishing opportunities for sun-drenched endings to daylight hours. The most recent extravaganza happened when a western sky seemed muted with humidity off the lake and a thin bank of advancing clouds.
When it seemed as though there would be nothing to ooh and aah about, the spirit of Sol exploded through the mist. With a peach to pink cast over half of the heavens, the reflection on shimmering Gunflint Lake waters looked like pink champagne as far as the eye could see.
The dusk-tinted water seemed to beckon for a toast to natural miracles in our peaceful northern paradise. So symbolically we raise glasses high to a “Taste of the Gunflint.” Sip of her beauty and revel in the majesty!
Yours truly will be hitting the Trail Saturday for a personal “Taste of the Gunflint.” Be reminded that activities up the Trail commence at 11 am and continue until 5 pm.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a Taste of the Gunflint.Indian summer hit the north woods during the first week of month nine. And a perfect weekend greeted area residents and visitors as they celebrated the Labor Day holiday. Weather conditions were warmish, basically gorgeous.

 


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