Wildersmith: Wet Season and Wildlife Encounters

Photo by Amanda Slater on Flickr
Photo by Amanda Slater on Flickr

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Summer solstice has marked a passing of the baton in our northern half of the universe. The Gunflint territory accepted its departing of spring in a rather damp way. Finally, the “spirit of wet” offered up some much needed rain. It’s amazing that the forest is so lush when the past few weeks have been so dry.
With the ascension into “Neebing” (summer in Ojibwe), the trek toward this next season is marked with clusters of seeds clinging to the alder and maples along the Trail. Meanwhile I see that mountain ash trees are suddenly heavily laden with their young fruit, and a golden glow of seasonal yellow flowers is leading the way for any venture up or down the scenic pathway.
The fruits of summer couldn’t have picked a more welcome time to receive Natures’ sprinkling too. One observer tells that the blueberry patches she’s checked are loaded with potential.
Several moose sightings have been brought to my attention of late. In nearly all cases, the observations have been of cows and calves. This is heartening when we keep hearing about the demise in their numbers throughout moose country.
Yours truly caught a glimpse of one mom and baby in the vicinity of Washout Road’s intersection with the Trail last week. And then some Ohio visitors were treated to the sighting of a yearling bull in the east bay at Chik-Wauk Museum. This young fellow was complete with brand-new velvet spikes on his forehead. Now the challenge comes for these youngsters to keep a few strides ahead of the hungry wolves and bears that would gladly do them in.
During this same trip, other members of our wild neighborhood caused another vehicle slowdown on the Trail. This time a momma fox and her four kits were lolly-gagging on the roadway not too far east from Trail Center. The little ones were having a great game of tag as they darted on and off the blacktop.
Twice I came to a complete stop to avoid a squishing incident. It was apparent that the mother had lost control of the mischievous red foursome. It would be a good idea to slow down while passing along this stretch with the hope that these babies get to grow up.
A couple folks down the road shared an interesting experience about one of our many black brunos. It seems that their waterbed had reached the end of its usefulness. Following the usual process of getting most all the water extracted, there was just enough left to make the unit difficult to get out of the house.
Human ingenuity suggested that rather than dragging it through the house, why not open the window, take out the screen and ooze it out that opening? The idea worked to perfection, case closed.
Action to get the old bed bladder away from where it lay outside the window was temporarily forgotten. Next day the lady of the house happened to look out that same window. She was startled to see papa or momma bear had taken a napping position on the discarded waterbed unit, and it must have felt juuuuust right! Thank goodness this was an out of the house experience.
This is another example of one person’s trash being another’s treasure, only with a north woods twist!
During my stint as a volunteer at the Chik-Wauk Museum last week, my neighbors tell that one of those ursine paid a visit to Wildersmith. It was a big one. And no, the bear doesn’t poop in the woods. It did in my yard!
Lastly, for those readers and listeners who don’t live in these parts, I share that some other wilderness beings that can bite are alive and well at this time. I’m talking mosquitoes. They are a part of summertime life for sure, and the Wildersmith two seem to attract them like magnets. In the midst of summer, I’m already yearning for a good freeze to get even with the ornery nippers!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor this land of sky blue waters!


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