Marcia Roepke
Trail Time

Trail Time – Spring Is Here!

Well, would you look at that?! Spring has finally arrived on the Gunflint Trail! If you’re not familiar with this area and you were driving up the Trail today, you might say to me, “Marcia, where is the evidence? There’s no green grass, or leaves; there’s still a bunch of snow in the woods and in the ditches and a lot of lakes still have plenty of ice on them.” I would say to you: “Look at the willows! The pussy willows are bursting open with pollen. Look more closely at that ice on the lakes, it’s getting darker every day, meaning it is water-soaked and ready to absorb the sun’s heat. It will melt. Notice that grouse displaying in the middle of the road and try not to hit it. Listen to the grouse drumming on his favorite drumming log. Hear the flickers call wildly to each other and madly fly around as if possessed. See if you can find the tiny hazel blossom that is literally blooming all around you. Get up early enough and you’ll hear a morning chorus of Winter Wrens, Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-throated sparrows. Find a quiet spot, sit still and see if you can spot a Loon, a Pied-billed Grebe, an American Merganser or maybe even a Lesser Yellowlegs. Maybe you’ll see a Golden-eye or a Ring-neck duck. Or maybe a Bufflehead or even a Widgeon. Spring is here, at first in subtle ways and then it will come out all a-bursting! And summer is right behind.

Be careful, dear visitor, when you drive up the Gunflint Trail. Danger lurks around every corner in the form of some of the most impressive potholes we’ve ever seen. Slow down when you get to where water is covering the road. STOP and put your hazard lights on if a moose or two are standing in the road. I saw a young moose trotting down the Trail in the rain, straight at an oncoming car which did not slow down until the last minute. The moose turned quickly on the slippery wet pavement and quickly went down, all four legs folding as awkwardly as a discarded beach chair. The moose scrambled back up and then ran into the woods, but that would have been a bad collision if the car had not slowed when it did. It was so close.[pause] If you are unfortunate and miss these exquisite signs of Spring, never fear. You can tell that it is spring because all the restaurants will be open. And here’s some free advice for you to avoid heartache or hunger: Call in advance to check on the schedules of each lodge and restaurant before you come up the Trail.

 Trail Center opened up last week and Poplar Haus will be open weekends starting May 12, the same as Raven Rock Grill at Skyport Lodge. If you’re looking for Big Bear Lodge, you won’t find it. It has been re-christened as White Pine Lodge. I was at White Pine Lodge for their Kentucky Derby party last Saturday. It was a terrific gathering, full of good feeling, with almost everyone, male and female, sporting fancy hats and special Derby outfits. We watched the races, and talked talked talked to neighbors and friends — some we hadn’t seen for months. I hope you can make it next year. It was a stellar event.

Another event, Gunflint Green Days is coming up June second to the fourth. Its a fun-filled, family-friendly weekend with nature, garage sales, prizes, food, games, educational interactive booths, and a chance to GET OUTDOORS AND GET INVOLVED. There will be a celebration at Schaap Community Center at Firehall #2 on Saturday June 3 from 12 to 3 pm, following the litter pick-up which runs from 10 to 12 noon. There will be garage sales both along the Trail and at the Schaap Center. Mark your calendars and be sure to travel up the Gunflint Trail for the beauty of green-up after a long winter! 

We look forward to seeing you!

This is Marcia Roepke on the Gunflint Trail