Wildersmith January 11

Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race
Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race

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Real Gunflint Trail winter weather remains a non-issue as the area enters week two of the New Year. Many of us are holidayed out and the post celebratory blahs are being compounded with neither bitter cold nor new snow.
 
It seems that this global warming phenomenon has our area by the throat and is not going to let go. It makes me wonder if brazen winter, as it was once, will ever get over this seemingly endless arid illness.
 
The Wildersmith neighborhood went through December with not one really good snow, and the first days of January have followed suit. Nearly every place in the nation that gets snow, and even some spots where it is rare and unwanted, have been blessed with what this area cherishes. It’s downright shameful.
 
While snow depths are minimal throughout the Gunflint corridor, there was enough to provide fast tracking for the dogs in the first Gichigami Express sled dog race over this past weekend. The race commemorates the long tradition of mushing in the northeast corner of Minnesota.
 
The mid-trail area was abuzz with mushers and their teams after the first leg was completed to Hungry Jack Lodge Sunday afternoon. Crews then gathered at Trail Center Lodge for the “Barbeque in the Bush” and the overnight.
 
This event was a great moment for conversation about the first day’s run around a blazing fire, and for feasting under the stars. The scrumptious fare was provided by Sarah and her staff at the TC Restaurant.
 
The next morning found racers assembling for breakfast at Windigo Lodge. Starting positions for the beginning of the second (Monday) leg of the three-day event were handed out, and they were off.
 
Once again the Gunflint community showed off its character of super hospitality and organizational skills. Big thanks are extended to organizers, many volunteers, all the participating race teams and some wonderful sponsors. It was a “woofing” good time!
 
This weekend marks the opening of trout fishing season. Lakes will be drilled full of holes as thousands of anglers will be scattered about the icy surfaces in every kind of venue imaginable. Soft as we Americans are, there will be few if any fisher folk actually sitting out on a bucket as once practiced.
 
Speaking more of ice angling, I heard a recent story about a fellow fishing for other species on Gunflint Lake when the old Gal let off with some activity that sent him trembling.
 
Seems the guy had just finished drilling his hole through the ice when he heard a thundering boom in the distance to the east. What happened next has probably happened to others before, but it was a first for this fellow.
 
Seconds after the boom, he heard ice cracking. The noise was faint at first but grew louder as the cracking meandered westward. He soon realized the fracturing was coming in his direction.
 
Stunned by the advancing fissure, he retreated toward shore. In a short time, the re-structuring ice terminated at the exact location of his drilling spot.
 
In the moment of culmination, water spouted out of the hole and all was silent once more. I don’t know if he returned to his intended activity, but he sure has a chilling story to tell the folks back home about a day on the Gunflint.
 
By the way, ice on Gunflint Lake continues to sing its song of the season. As she has extended her often woeful tones while fitting into her crystal coat, many pressure ridges have been heaving upward. Folks traversing the lake on power sleds to their favorite fishing spot should be paying close attention to these often obscure frozen hazards.
 
Keep on hangin’ on and savor a couple trout in the pan!

Airdate: January 11, 2013

Photo by Stephan Hoglund.


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