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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News & Information

News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 21, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith        September 21, 2018   
 
The Wildersmith two are back in border country. A quick run south to Iowa for a visit with kids and grandsons was great. However, the atmospheric conditions were not so welcoming.                                                                                                                                                       
 
Although the hot and sticky was not so irritable for Iowans by Iowa standards, it was less than comforting for yours truly. The return to the Gunflint raised a renewed appreciation for the “cool” north.                                                                                                                                                                   
 
In fact, as I key this new scoop, temps in the mid-fifties and a steady northwest breeze have been beckoning a north woods greeting to the second Equinox of 2018.  After several weeks of autumnal temptations, it’s finally here, the second most beautiful time of the year! You all know my favorite!                                                                                                                                                               
 
The joys of this season are upon us along the Scenic Byway. Our “technicolor” bonanza is exploding as the spectrum of gold to scarlet and then hues of brown signals an end to summer, heading us toward the sparkle of a crystal time.                                                                                                                                  
 
Some flakes of fall are already trickling down. Of particular note, venerable white pine needles of a year ago are cascading in blizzard-like fashion blanketing the forest floor. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings so to speak, or better yet, in the treetops, cinnamon scales of western white cedars are soon to be raining down.  Our tawny new carpeting is but one of uncountable annual treasures of a year coming to an end and adding yet another layer to the accumulated duff from thousands of years ago.                                                                                                                     
 
The Tsunami of usual “Leaf Peepers” should not delay getting up this way. Some deciduous members of the forest are now in the shedding mood. An example of such and another joy for the Smith’s is the wondrous way falling leaves take their place along the Mile O Pine and other backwoods arteries.                                                                                                                                                                               
 
Such a celebration is underway and was somewhat surprising upon our return from the southern trip. It’s not quite a “yellow brick road”, but conjures up thoughts of such with windrows of golden leaflets neatly swooshed into formation by a few passing vehicles.                                       
 
If this bounty of beauty wasn’t enough, a timely inch of rain has dampened the earth, and along with its congregate collection of downed leaflets stirred our sense of smell with the initial essence of the harvest season. Oh, if we could only bottle up this magic aroma.                                                                                                                                         
 
And, as if to compliment this refuge of charm, the next couple days will see heavenly beams shining down with the full Ojibwe “wild rice” moon (Manoominike-Giizis). Furthermore, other happenings in the heavens find winged folk of all varieties in varying stages of migration. Most notable are wedges of Canadian Honkers leading the way southward. Back down on earth, the Gunflint Trail snowbirds are taking flight as well.                                                                                                                                                                                     
 
In a bit of people news, an announcement from the Chik-Wauk Campus comes regarding the cancelation of this weeks’ (Saturday) program in the Nature Center. Scheduling complications mean the presentation on “Bats” as presented by Peg Robertsen cannot be held and will have to be re-scheduled for next summer. The Chik-Wauk staff regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.                                                                                                                                                   
 
In closing, the words of photographer, Jacques Dupont come to mind. “We see so many ugly things in the world, but the splendor of nature is a superb counterbalance.” The Gunflint North has it all! Don’t miss seeing her in full-color dress.                                                                                                   
 
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, truly, a sanctuary of abundant wonders.                                                

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Superior National Forest Update - September 21, 2018

National Forest Update – September 20, 2018.
 
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant with the Superior National Forest, and I’m here with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that may affect your visit to the Superior.  Fall continues to progress, and after some rain, we should have a few days of perfect fall weather.
 
A lot happens in the fall, including the end of our fee season at our fee campgrounds.  With the end of fees comes the end of water and garbage service at campgrounds.  Divide, McDougal, and Little Isabella River Campgrounds will end the fee season at the end of the month, with the rest ending the following week.  You are still welcome to camp at the campgrounds after fee season, but you’ll need to pack out your garbage and be sure to bring water with you.  Certain campgrounds may have water available from concessionaire offices after campground water systems are put to bed for the winter, but for most, the arrival of possible frost means we have to shut the water off.
 
There’s also some final work being done on roadways before things freeze up.  On the 600 Road, a favorite for leaf peepers in the fall, work is being done to clear out ditches so they can handle meltwater in the spring.  Some heavy equipment, such as a backhoe and dump trucks, will be periodically blocking the roadway, mostly between the Temperance River Road and the Cramer Road.  If you encounter them, just wait until they pull to the side to let you through.  The 600 Road is also having potholes filled, and you’ll notice that the Honeymoon Trail and Temperance River Road are also freshly graded for the fall season.
 
Fall burning has also begun.  Our fire crew will be burning piles as weather allows during the next month or so.  This may create smoke in areas where burning is going on.  If you see a smoke plume, it is always a good idea to report it and we will be able to tell if it is just from some of our activity.  If you are in an area where burning is happening, watch for trucks and personnel on the roadways, and respect any temporary road closures.
 
There’s some log hauling happening out there.  In the Gunflint area, expect trucks on Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and    Hall Road in Lutsen.  On the Tofte end, Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, and the Grade are included.  While log trucks are big, don’t forget that during this time of year, you may encounter slow-moving leaf watchers almost anywhere on the Forest.  It’s best to just assume there will be oncoming traffic around corners and over hills.
 
There are hunters out there too, and everyone, not just hunters, should start to wear orange when they’re out in the woods.  We have several hunter walking areas designed for grouse and small game which are used as hiking trails as well.  This time of year though, it is best to leave these trail systems to the people who are hunting.
 
Rain over the next few days might batter the trees, but most of the leaves are still pretty solidly attached, so we expect the peak of fall color to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks.  Sunny days help develop leaf color, along with cool nights, and that’s what should be moving in after the rain clouds leave.  Overall, this seems to be shaping up to be a great fall color season, but it doesn’t last long.
 
That means that whether you are out there for fall color, or hunting, or both – it’s a good time to get out into the Forest.
 
 Have a great time out there, and until next time, this is Jake Todd with the National Forest Update. 
 

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Sunset

North Woods Naturalist: Autumn transitions

September 23rd is the official start of autumn, but those along the North Shore are already seeing the early signs of the changing season. 

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about just that in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Fall color

Fall colors are beginning to peak across northern Minnesota

The Fall color transformation is underway here in northern Minnesota.  As of September 20, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows most of Cook County at 10 to 25% peak colors.  For the latest on where to find peak colors, check out the DNR website here.
  
In the audio below, WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Amy Barrett, Minnesota Parks and Trails Public Information Officer about the Fall color season.

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Program: 

 

Northern Sky: Sept 15 - 28

Norther Sky – by Deane Morrison  -  Sept. 15-28 2018

During the last two weeks of September, we have bright planets in the evening and a couple of regularly scheduled astronomical events.
 
If you face south 40 to 45 minutes after sunset, you’ll see Mars fairly low and still quite bright. Turning a bit westward, you’ll see the Teapot of Sagittarius, with Saturn above it. Next, even lower than Mars, there’s Antares, the red heart of Scorpius. Finally, low in the southwest, we have Jupiter. You probably won’t see Venus, though, especially later in the month, because it’s dropping into the sunset on its next trip between Earth and the sun. That trip also takes it, officially, from the evening to the morning sky.
 
As for stars, the Summer Triangle of bright stars is high in the south after nightfall. And in the west, the brilliant star Arcturus is still pulling its kite-shaped constellation, Bootes the herdsman, down toward the horizon. You might want to compare Arcturus with Vega, the brightest star in the Triangle and see if you can tell that Arcturus is ever so slightly brighter.
 
Now, about those scheduled events. First is the fall equinox. It arrives at 8:54 p.m. on Saturday the 22nd. At that point an observer from space would see the sun poised over the equator and Earth lighted from pole to pole. The equinox is also a crossover time of sorts. In spring and summer, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the sun, and the farther north you go, the longer the day length. But after the fall equinox, it tilts away from the sun and the days get shorter as you go north.
 
And, this is the time of year when the Northern Hemisphere is most rapidly shifting its tilt away from the sun. Which brings us to the second scheduled event: the harvest moon. Some say the harvest moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox, others say it’s the first full moon after the equinox. This one qualifies on both counts. The full harvest moon, on Monday, September 24, rises over Grand Marais at 7:12 p.m., which is just two hours and 40 minutes before perfect fullness, so it’ll be nice and round.
 
But the harvest moon is more than just a name. Here’s how it goes. The full moon occupies a position on the other side of Earth from the sun—so it’s opposite the sun in the sky. Therefore, when we’re tilting most rapidly away from the sun, making it move south and rise later each day, we’re tilting most rapidly toward the full and nearly full moons and making them move north and rise relatively sooner each day.
 
Note that’s relatively sooner. The moon’s orbit makes it rise later from one day to the next; on average, around 50 minutes later. But around the time of the fall equinox, that interval gets slashed because of the moon’s rapid movement up through the northern sky. This year, for a few days centered on September 24, moonrise comes only 24 minutes later each night. That’s the harvest moon effect.
 
It’s fortunate for farmers, because it means that near full moon time, farmers harvesting crops don’t have to wait as long for a bright moon to come up and light their fields.
 
Finally, the rapid change in Earth’s tilt is sapping the day length faster than ever at this time of year, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. We’re losing around three minutes of daylight every day. But, I keep reminding myself, people in places like Alaska and Iceland have to put up with losses of six minutes a day.

 

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Superior National Forest Update - September 14, 2018

National Forest Update – September 13, 2018.
 
Hi, I’m Steve Robertsen, forest interpreter, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update.  Every week, we bring you information on what’s going on in the Forest and how it might affect your visit.
 
This week saw a huge increase in the amount of fall color in the woods.  Connected with that, we have put out signs for fall color touring routes along the Caribou Trail, Honeymoon Trail, Sawbill Trail, the 600 Road, and Two Island River Road.  People using these roads should be aware that there will be people driving slowly and parked along those routes.  If you are a fall color enthusiast, be aware of other vehicles using the roads.  Pull over if you are driving slowly to let others pass.  Park only in spots where visibility is good and you can get off the roadway.  Some of the best fall color areas are good exactly because the road is narrow and winding, but that also means that you should park somewhere else and walk off the road back to the best spot. 
 
Drivers should also be aware of road work being done on the 600 Road between the Temperance River Road and County 7.  Construction equipment may be blocking the road for short amounts of time, but the work crews will move equipment to let vehicles pass.  Please follow all directions given by the workers at the site to ensure the safety of everyone.
 
Fall color route maps are available at the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Stations, and, coming soon, digital versions will be available online for use with the Avenza mapping app on your phone.  If you are using a phone for navigation, make sure to keep your eyes on the road, not the phone, when you are driving. 
 
This past week saw the anniversary of the Pagami Creek Fire.  This large fire burned in September of 2011, eventually moving through 92,000 acres.  It started with a lightning strike that smoldered for several days in the duff layer.  While its cause was natural, the smoldering start is common to many human-caused fires.  People often build campfires on peat or heavy duff under trees and think they have put the fire out when it is actually still smoldering.  Remember, if there is an established fire ring or grate, use it.  If there is none, think twice about having a fire.  If you choose to go ahead, the best method is to use a fire pan you bring with you as a base.  Aluminum turkey roasting pans, old snow saucers – there are lots of things that can be used as a fire pan.  Otherwise, clear away all flammable material from your campfire area and NEVER build a fire on peat.  Peat fires can become very hard to put out.  After you are done, make sure the fire is completely out, and practice leave-no-trace by dismantling any rock rings and scuffing out any fire scars.
 
There is a little logging traffic this week.  On Gunflint, expect trucks on Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and Pike Lake Road.  On Tofte, trucks are using the Dumbbell River Road, the Wanless Road, the Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, and the Caribou Trail.  You may also run into graders and gravel trucks as they work to surface roads before fall is over. 
 
Safe travels on the Forest, and enjoy the fall.  It is a short season, so make the most of it! 
 
Until next time, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update. 
 

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Photo by Glen Malley on Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Biomass

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about biomass, including the surprisingly small percentage of the all biomass on Earth that humans consist of.

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Eagle Sentinels

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 7, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      September 7, 2018    
           
As our north woods days fly rapidly by, it seems hard to accept we are headed into the final months of 2018, and one week of September is into the books. Furthermore, with this weeks’ broadcast, its’ even more difficult to fathom, yours truly kicking off the 17th year of doing news and views from the Gunflint Trail.                                                                                                                                  

When former editor of the News Herald, Vicki Biggs-Anderson, twisted my arm into taking on this responsibility, following the legendary Justine Kerfoot, I never dreamed it would extend this long. It’s been a delightful journey for me first as a newspaper columnist and now as a member of the WTIP radio family.                                                                                                                                    

I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful folks through this weekly media exchange, and remain deeply indebted to those who have helped me along the way.                                                               

Lastly, but surely not the least, WTIP listeners, website readers, and streamers are what this is all about. The sharing of news tidbits and occasional pleasant audience comments make this weekly scribing and audio endeavor terrifically rewarding. Thanks so much!                                                                                                                                               

Now for a little news, the atmospheric conditions in the upper Trail over the past seven days have varied little from those of the previous few weeks. The area remains under moderate drought conditions with nearly un-measurable rainfall in the Wildersmith neighborhood. At the same time, temps have been as would be expected for this time of year. To summarize, the region has experienced warm “Indian summer” days and comfy cool nights, with only a few drops of rain and not a hint of frost.                                                                                                                                        

On a related atmospheric note, but not specifically related to just our Gunflint territory, the July/ August edition of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer features a nice article entitled “Clues in the Clouds.”                                                                                                                                                                    

With violent weather extremes seemingly consuming many places on our continent, it looks to be a good idea that we check out the heavens to learn what clouds can tell us. In this land of both blue and often gray skies, knowing what certain cloud conditions mean can be vitally important to life on the planet. Did you know, “at any time, clouds cover about three-quarters of the Earth’s surface?” Check it out, at the library or online at mndnr.gov/mcvmagazine.                                                                                                                                                                                       

If folks in the territory failed to get to the doings at Chik-Wauk last Sunday, they missed a swell afternoon of North-country sweetness. Ominous late morning clouds and a brief downpour threatened to wash out our GTHS activities, but well over three hundred folks showed up anyway and brought sunshine with them.                                                                                                                                            

Beyond all the wonderful visitors, a few facts of the day included: 40 to 50 donated pies, over three hundred fifty slices served, uncountable scoops of ice cream, provided by the good folks at Gunflint Lodge and countless dancing gyrations to delightful music by the North Shore Community Swing Band. People were swingin’ and a swayin’!                                                                                                                                   

Since Chik-Wauk is all about history, the day of pastries and cream was topped off with people reunions and reflections back in time. While Gunflint neighbors, David and Patsy Coleman, drove to the festivities in their 1923 Model T Ford, perhaps the last living Trail pioneer, 97-year-old Rolf Skrien, charmed many long-time friends by making it out to his former stomping grounds. Thanks to everyone for making this another great day at end of the Trail!                                                                                                                              

More from Chik-Wauk, with kids back in school, obviously the Tuesday kids’ days are over, as are the USFS Tuesday afternoon programs. However, weekend programming in the Nature Center continues, only switching to Saturdays instead of Sundays. These educational and entertaining programs will go on through September 22nd.                                                                                               

This Saturdays’ program features David Grosshuesch, from the USFS. Dave will be talking about owls. So if you “give a hoot” mark your calendar, and be there at 2:00 pm.                                  

One more Gunflint Community scoop reminds folks of the September Gunflint Trail Historical Society meeting this coming Monday, the 10th. The meeting will be held at 1:30 pm in the Schaap Center (Fire Hall #1).                                                                                                                                      

This month’s program will reflect on the “Early days of Gateway Lodge on Hungry Jack Lake” as related by Bob Gapen with supporting comments from Richard Fink. The usual treats and conversation will follow.                                                                                                                                                

Saving the best of North Country life for last, observing a couple “wild neighborhood” critters never gets old and is always a cherished moment.  Thus, I share the sighting of a bear crossing the Mile O Pine and a return to Wildersmith of a fox who’d been AWOL for many weeks. The bear was not stopping for a photo-op while the foxy one checked in at my wood shop door, remembering, I was an easy touch for some kind of a poultry hand-out.                                                                                        

If those episodes’ weren’t enough, a couple living on Hungry Jack were thrilled at a close-up visit of two bald eagles doing sentinel duty over their lake. They shared a digital which can be seen alongside my website column at WTIP.org, under the Community Voices drop-down menu.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint trail, where every day is great, as the journey into autumn continues.
 

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Vicki's Chanterelles

Magnetic North - September 5, 2018

Magnetic North 9/4/18
Time traveling around Mother Superior

 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where even we who live in heaven on earth take to the road with bags packed and baskets of junk food and tourist trinkets and found treasure stashed front seat to back. And sometimes, we take and make memories that can surprise us.

It takes either a health emergency or unavoidable family gathering to tempt me away from the farm and lakeshore in midsummer, but the latter of the two did just that in late July.

My dear friend, Cilla’s son was getting married on the opposite side of the big lake in Houghton, Michigan. Cilla, aka The Lady and the Scamp, introduced me to her son, Arthur a few years ago and won my heart by bonding with my favorite goat, Bosco; so much so that Arthur actually ended up nuzzling the big goat. Nose to nose. Quite the reaction to a creature with curling 20-inch horns I’d say. 

So when the invite to Arthur’s wedding came, even though the date was late July, I RSVP’d right off and made plans to go with Cilla.  She, of course, hitched up her beloved Scamp trailer and booked herself into a state park for five nights. I took the easier, softer option - a posh hotel overlooking the Keewanaw Waterway bridge that was smack up against a little marina I had sailed into during the summer of ’76 on my sailboat, Amazing Grace. 

The waterway is a part natural lake and part dredged canal that severs the landmass of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the rest of the state. Moving copper ore and supplies was the motive for such a drastic and expensive amputation when it was done in the late 1860’s. A lift bridge was added for travel by land between the two cities, Houghton and Hancock. Nowadays, tourism and Michigan Tech feeds the two cities and the waterway is a route, not for copper and miner supplies, but for pleasure craft and family camps. This I learned when I first sailed under that bridge on a blistering hot summer day 42 years ago and blithely hopped off her bow to tie up on the Hancock side of the waterway. Yes, there was a time when I could hop off the prow of a boat and land on my feet without so much as an “Uffda!” or “Call 11!”

That all came flooding back into my memory when I looked out the hotel restaurant window the morning after our arrival and saw the bridge and marina across the waterway. It was as if a movie was running in my head, superimposed on the sunny scene across the waterway. There I was, wearing a yellow madras blouse, jeans and Docksiders, rope in hand and leaping just in time to land on the break wall and turn to prevent a collision with Grace’s bow. Then the film ended as abruptly as it started and perceived, with amazement and some embarrassment that fat tears were plopping into my coffee. 

Apparently, I thought, as I scolded myself for putting on a public display, there was more packed in my bags than finery for Arthur’s wedding. Those dang memories had somehow burrowed in beneath the frilly scarves and support pantyhose and were demanding my attention. They didn’t care that I was alone at a table with strangers peering nervously at me, wondering perhaps if I was about to be sick. No, they’d caught me out, without the trappings of chores and hobbies and endless distractions to remind me of certain truths; to wit, that I missed terribly my little seven-year-old girl, Gretchen, now a mom herself living half a continent away, and that the couple on that boat that summer still loved each other, probably always did in the end, even though being married to each other proved to be impossible. How I wished at that moment I had savored those days more when they were mine to savor.

t was just one of those flashback moments that lie in wait, springing to life when I am as unaware as a stone monkey 
Thankfully, the bittersweet blast from the past faded by the time my coffee was downed.  But it left me resolved to pay attention to whatever joys the coming days and festivities might bring.

And so, when I picked Chanterelle mushrooms at Cilla’s campground, I also made sure to gather pinecones for a Christmas gift wreath for the newlyweds. And when I tagged along to gramma’s house where the elegantly casual ceremony took place on the lawn sloping to the water’s edge, I tucked my introvert’s ego in my purse and took dozens of pictures for my friend and her son and new daughter-in-law

At the reception, my friend chose a quote, from C.S. Lewis, in framing her toast to the bride and groom. “When the most important things in life are happening, we almost never know exactly what is going on.”

As I packed my bags to head back to the North Shore, I tucked in some new memories of the Keewanaw, I decided that one of the great things about aging is that, like C.S. Lewis, most of us eventually wake up to the fact that even the most ordinary day might put us on the path of extraordinary joy. “So pay attention,” I told myself.

As Cilla and I drove back down the south shore of the lake, we talked over the past five days for a bit, then shifted into a topic that only those of us of a certain age would understand, having just been to one of the two most propitious occasions in one’s time on earth.

I’ve decided that I definitely do not want to be cremated,” I declared, as we escaped the blazing sun under the canopy of the Scamp at Brighton Beach just outside of Duluth. “Oh?” Cilla murmured as she poured out two cups of tea. You might have thought I’d said that I preferred half-and-half in my tea rather than milk.

“Yes,” I went on.” You KNOW how much I hate hot weather.  Hate is really too puny a word. Loathe, despise, detest, abominate, abhor hot weather - it’s why I live where I do!  So why on earth would I choose to be immolated after I die? Plus, I have the perfect dress, the one I wore when Paul and I got married. Who burns their wedding dress?”

That tea-time declaration and the giggling that followed is a funky memory of the wedding weekend that came home in my bags, along with the pine cones and pictures. And, who knows what else hitchhiked in memory when to paraphrase Lewis, I had no idea what was happening.

For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North
 

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Photo by Thomas Huang via Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Waning summer

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson, about the waning summer and advancing autumn in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.
 

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