Wildersmith September 9

Wildersmith spotted evidence in places along the Gunflint where a few young birches are dropping leaves
Wildersmith spotted evidence in places along the Gunflint where a few young birches are dropping leaves

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My how time flies! The first week of our month of the wild rice/harvest moon has slipped away.

With it, yours truly is heading off into year 10 of keyboarding upper Trail happenings. I never thought that this weekly exercise would have lasted this long. I can’t thank everyone enough for reading, listening and sharing a story or two, plus the kind and encouraging words.

As the stained glass window of our wilderness world opens wider with each passing day, our fading growing season is giving way to fleeting autumn colors. It would seem that by mid-month it should be a leaf-peeper’s dream.

Not to rush the Dagwagin (Ojibwe for fall) along, I see evidence in places along the Mile O' Pine where a few young birches are dropping leaves. This seems a bit premature, but it could be due to the dry atmosphere that’s in concert with the relentless winds of the past several weeks. Whatever the reason, it’s a sign of change in the air when you see those golden tokens lying on the ground.

I’m no plant expert, but the past growing season appears to have been quite prolific for tree growth. In spite of being parched throughout most of the summer months, new tree growth along the upper byway, especially on post-blow down natural starts and plantings, has been phenomenal. Many Wildersmith trees have added up to as much as three feet since bud-out time.

With bear hunting season commencing, there is at least one bear that has a leg up on its pursuers. With all this trickery of baiting the Bruno folk, I’m told of one such critter that took things into its own paws and beat the stalkers to the punch.

A hopeful hunter arrived in the area recently with bait stashed in the back of a pickup. Failing to thoroughly think strategies through, the vehicle with a likely aromatic kettle of whatever was parked and left overnight.

Obviously, a bear in the neighborhood did think things through. Sensing that this wild gourmet fare was eventually intended for some furry critter, it might as well be put to good use. Getting to the tasty stuff was no problem, such a wonderful opportunity!

Easily breaking into the pickup box, dining must have been pretty rewarding. Mr./Ms. Bear made off like a bandit, probably with a grinning face, once again ‘bearing’ out that you must be on your toes at all times with Mother Nature’s wild neighborhood.

Another bear report comes from the Seagull Lake area where a few folks have experienced ursine encounters recently. One has to hope that temptations are not being fostered by human activities such as bird feeders and unsecured garbage containers. It would be a shame if a bear had to be dispatched because we two-legged critters put it in an unenviable position. Sometimes it’s hard for us to remember that this was Bruno’s territory first.

The fourth annual Taste of the Gunflint and second pie & ice cream feed at Chik-Wauk Museum was a resounding success last Sunday. The Trail was a-buzz with traffic as hundreds of people enjoyed making their way to check out nature’s wonders and sample tempting treats at the four stops.

Not even scattered downpours, gusty winds and cool temperatures could put a damper on the enthusiastic travelers as they rushed to get in on the action at Bearskin Lodge, Trail Center Restaurant, Gunflint Lodge and the Chik-Wauk site.

Thanks go out to all who made the trip, participating business owners and organizers of the pie and ice cream dessert finale at the museum. What a day!

As a reminder, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society will be meeting this coming Monday, Sept. 12. This is the last meeting of the summer season. Our featured speaker, with some historical Gunflint anecdotes, will be distinguished north woods resident and author/historian John Henricksson. The gathering will be at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m. All members, wannabes and Gunflint friends are welcome. Per usual, treats and beverages will be served.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the sweet forest!

Airdate: September 9, 2011

Photo courtesy of stpaulgirl via Flickr.


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