Wildersmith: November 9

Squirrel (Pete Birkinshaw/Flickr)
Squirrel (Pete Birkinshaw/Flickr)

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Last weekend found us finally unharnessed from that daylight savings time nonsense. The process of “springing” ahead in April has always seemed kind of hokey to me.
 
As the clock “falls back” to reality, I find many folks being sent into a tizzy, even depression, when darkness in the wilderness suddenly edges into what we used to call afternoon. I wonder why we humans always have to manipulate everything in creation.
 
Regardless of one’s feeling about this annual happening, the bottom line is that it’s getting seriously dark in these parts by about 5 o’clock, as the sun and our timepieces are now back in sync.
 
The advancement of winter along the Trail has stagnated since we last met on the airwaves. In spite of some days where clouds have been hanging heavy with what looked like a belly full of snow, border country earth after the first week of November is still brown.
 
There has been a continuation of the ice-making, however, with an expanded effort to a few of the larger water bodies. The big four, Sag, Seagull, Gunflint and Poplar lakes, along with their smaller trailside cousins, Loon, Birch. Mayhew and Poplar, are still rippling in anticipation of that first zero night with no wind.
 
Concern remains with regard to the extreme dry forest and no snow cover. I know that cold temperatures have a mitigating affect, but it’s nerve-wracking nevertheless.
 
Last weekend’s onset of war against the white tails, and wolves too, has brought a large number of hunters into the area. This increased traffic surely increases a possibility of fire being accidentally set off. With both animals and rifle slugs flying every different direction, it’s hoped that sanity will prevail in the arid Gunflint forest.
 
Following last week’s website/broadcast exercise, the Smiths hauled off on another jaunt south into Iowa. The turnaround was quick, and we were back in the quiet woods after five days.
 
With exception of one pesky squirrel, the many critters that hang out around here were not present to greet our return. I guess this is to be expected when my absence causes daily provisions to disappear from the feed trough.
 
This lone rodent buddy caught my eye while I was unloading the travel vehicle. It came sprinting down the driveway hill and through the woods, partially crawling up my pant leg in quest of a handout.
 
I had barely tipped the seed spout to pour the varmint a helping when it actually ran inside the container and grabbed a mini fist-full before scampering away. Guess it must have had an awful gnawing.
 
In less than 12 hours, the “moccasin telegraph,” our north woods courier, had word out to others of the wild neighborhood that I’m back. So there is hubbub once more at the Wildersmith open-air bistro.
 
A tidbit of trivia to share is that the third season of operation at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center had nearly 8,500 visitors. Examination of the guest book sign-ins showed folks from about every state in the Union as well as several foreign countries. This brings the total visitor count since opening July 4, 2010 to over 28,500. Thanks to all those visitors for their interest in learning about the storied Gunflint past.
 
Plans are already being formulated for 2013 with a new temporary exhibit, an additional (new) little theater presentation and more family friendly opportunities. Until that next big opening day, let’s enjoy a great winter season!
 
Keep on hangin’ on and a savor the mystique of a wilderness encounter!

Airdate: November 9, 2012


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