Wildersmith October 8

Forest Floor
Forest Floor

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 I’m back in the woods once more. Thanks again to the wonder dog over on Hungry Jack Lake for covering me during the recent hiatus.

 
The advance into fall has entered phase two. The flaming sugar maple reds of stage one has faded. And…we are into the dazzling golden glow of Binaake-Giizis (October)…the time of a “falling leaves” moon.
 
Since the return from a run to Iowa, the north woods have dished up some simply marvelous weather. A hard freeze last Sunday morning put the finishing touch on ground level flora, and several mild sunshiny days blessed us both before and since that frosty sunrise with an Indian summer to relish.
 
Mother Nature is in the process of blanketing the forest floor with her annual pre-winter carpet. Maple leaves have settled into their place as the first level matting. Now a delicate coating of tawny older generation white and red pine needles, along with white cedar fronds, are trickling down with each passing breeze.
 
As if the soft earth weren’t already plush as can be…the birch and aspen will soon be adding their accent to this most wonderful of wilderness times.
 
A trip up the Trail is just plain stunning with the golden hillsides nestled amongst the green pines. With the bright sunshine of late, and a deep blue-sky backdrop, the buttery yellow leaves are nearly blinding. Add in a northern breeze and the zillions of leaflets have a twinkling Vegas glitter.
 
The neighborhood is quiet now save for an occasional pop from a distant grouse hunter’s gun. It is a time to be outside doing some of the usual “getting ready for winter” chores. With cool air on your one side, the warmth of Sol caressing the other, and the tranquility of northwoods silence, chores of cold weather preparation are worth doing by just being able to soak it all up.
 
So my good friend/neighbor and I have been crossing things off the list. The boats are stowed away, the dock is on shore (thanks to a great group of weekend visitors from metropolis), and a good number of young trees have been afforded protection from the winter deer browsing…to mention but a few.
 
Although there are still jobs to be done, an early snow would not cause a major disturbance. In fact, the moose and I would welcome an early white coming.
 
The end of the museum season at Chik-Wauk is nearing, but the ability to explore the surrounding trails will remain available by simply hiking in from the gate entrance on Moose Pond Drive. The last day for museum visits will be Sunday, Oct.17.
 
The Gunflint Trail Historical Society board of trustees and officers wants to thank the over 10,000 visitors that came up the Trail to view and listen to the story about people of Gunflint’s past.
 
A handicap-accessible boardwalk is being built across the wetland near the southwest Sag Bay that will connect two open ends of the Rubbaboo trail. And…an extensive Native American exhibit will be featured in the temporary section for 2011 as Trail history continues to unfold.
 
Opening will happen next spring around Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned to other Chik-Wauk happenings by checking the website, www.chikwauk.com.
 
Keep on hangin’ on…and savor the ‘autumn leaves.’

Airdate: October 8, 2010


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