Wildersmith May 25

Black Bear
Black Bear

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 A nice upset of atmospheric conditions occurred last Sunday up and along the Trail. Miracles will never cease, it rained, marvelous rain!

After going two weeks with barely a sip of water for the moisture-starved forest, Mother Nature finally coughed up some critical relief. Timely is an understatement as the territory was on the verge of hosting another flaming tragedy.

The fact remains that although the wilderness gulped up the heavenly droppings like a dry sponge, the inch or so received in most places is only temporary, unless there is continued follow-up. So we residents are keeping our fingers crossed.

With near flaming disasters in recent days near Hovland to the east and Ely to the west, this nervous area, in between, nearly had an event of their own last Saturday. A resident in the area noticed smoke oozing up along North Gunflint Lake Road (County #46).

A quick response from our Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department found a smoldering log that surely could have erupted into something serious if it had been discovered much later. It turns out that human smoking remains were found in close proximity and most likely can be attributed as the cause. Whew, we dodged a bullet; that was a close one!

Prior to the late weekend rains, what a contrast from one day to the next. Saturday last was muggy, hot and windy with temps in the 70 to near 80 degree range at Wildersmith, with windows open wide and fans a-whirling.

Then by late day Sunday, temps were hanging out in the high 30s to low 40s after falling most of the day under gloomy rain-laden skies. Thus, windows closed and sweatshirts back on.

The big 24-hour swing surely had all plant life in the territory basking in the cool shower. I too shared in the glory, as the cold day gave us a reprieve from the black fly onslaught. Surely makes me wonder where those mini-munching monsters go on days like that.

While contemplating the weather contrasts, another divergence comes to mind. In a few short days, the naked character of a winter forest around Wildersmith has suddenly bloomed to summer fullness. The green curtain of our seasonal rebirth has closed us in, shrouding this little place in the woods like a tiny virescent cocoon.

Hummingbirds have made their initial landing at our sweet nectar station this week, although they had been reported in other area locations several days prior to the Wildersmith arrival. Other winged returnees are the loon pair at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. Presently they have been just scoping out their ritzy new platform digs and are not yet sitting on eggs.

Speaking of Chik-Wauk, the museum opens for its third season this coming Saturday, May 26 with daily hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The manager and a number of volunteers have been busily putting winter away while cleaning and stocking the facility for summer visitors. Several new items are featured in the gift shop including DVD re-productions of the museum video kiosks featuring Gunflint pioneer characters and Gunflint businesses.

Meanwhile, on nature’s side of the Chik-Wauk facility, a mass of volunteers organized by Kathy Lande, Michael Valentini and Jim Wiinanen gathered this past Thursday to perform more heavy-duty clean-up work on the old Gneiss Lake Trail. Clean-up and marking of the Trail continues in hope of having it ready for some visitor usage during the coming season. Thanks to all who pitched in on this big task!

Bear visits continue, all along the Trail, mostly unwelcomed and uninvited. One night this week found a momma bruin and her cubs paying a visit to the Wildersmith deck.

They didn’t stay long as Momma Smith inside heard their clumsy arrival and quickly dispatched them by lighting up the yard. Since then they have left some of their unsightly calling cards, indicating that they are still hanging about the neighborhood.

Keep on hangin on, and savor a visit into the lush Gunflint!

Airdate: May 25, 2012

Photo courtesy of dalliedee via Flickr.


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