Wildersmith: Gusts, Summer Green and Baby Wildlife

Photo by Out At Bob's on Flickr
Photo by Out At Bob's on Flickr

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Atmospheric conditions have been fairly pleasant over the past seven. The only exception being about 36 hours of gnashing winds, followed by one more night of frost on the rooftops.
Gusts were so violent at times that waves on the Gunflint Gal did a job on our recently installed dock. No major breakage, just a need to de-assemble and re-align. So into the wet suit once more, but the water is now up to the low 50s and a bit more tolerable.
I suppose one thing positive about such a blow is that its nature’s way of culling the treetops of unwanted appendages. The Mile O Pine, like most of our back country roads, was a mass of scraggly branches and limbs. It took about two hours to clear the path.
The wilderness continues to be updated with sequential seasonal events. The latest item of notice is maple tree leaves. Sure seems late but that’s the way Mother Nature has things planned. About all that is left to unfold are leaflets on the black ash.
In regard to the maple leaf unfolding, I marvel at the growing season for their foliage. Here we are entering the second week of June and if one gives it a little thought, in two months the emerald will be turning to orange. Sure seems like a short life for shade from the maple part of the forest.
The many shades of green on our granite hillsides have pretty much blended into one matching tone. The contrast now is emerald green leaves among dark green coniferous spires. The stark thing about the beautiful virescent phenomena is that the skeletal remains of a forest blown down and scarred by fire are now camouflaged through photosynthesis.
This is a time for babies, fox kits, wolf pups, fawns, moose calves, ducklings of all kinds and many others. I’ve heard reports of both fawn and fox kit sightings in addition to mergansers following mom down an area lake. How challenging survival must be for all those parents of the wild neighborhood.
Also among the recent newborns are those notorious terrorists of the north woods.
I’m talking about black flies and, suddenly, a first round onslaught of mosquitoes.
A couple mornings of stacking firewood found me seriously wounded in a black fly attack, talk about nips and welts!
I was fully covered with clothing, gloves and bug netting, yet they still found a way to let some of my blood. Guess they might be worse than mice at squeezing in the tiniest of openings.
The first monarch butterflies have returned to the Gunflint Territory as have those mini-helicopters, dragonflies. I’m told that dragonflies eat hordes of mosquitoes. Hope they get at it soon; some of them could weigh 200 pounds in no time at all with all those buzzers around northern yards. And those black flies, well, it should be another bumper blueberry season if those trillions of pollinators get busy doing that instead of chasing we humans.
Excitement is building on the Sag Bay up at Chik Wauk Museum & Nature Center as the nesting platform has a loon pair incubating an egg or two. The egg-sitting time commenced May 26th. It is hoped that the spirit of Chik Wauk will have an announcement about a hatching in about 30 days.
Come on up and view the new development, it’s a great photo op, but shhhhh… mother is nervous enough about an eagle that often soars and swoops overhead.
The Gunflint Trail Historical Society will be holding its next monthly meeting this coming Monday, June 13. It will again be held in the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center, beginning at 1:30 pm. A short business meeting will be followed by a program featuring Lee Johnson of the USFS Heritage Resources Division. Treats will be served. All GTHS members and wannabes are welcome.
Keep on hanging on, and savor the Gunflint woods!


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