Summer has turned the corner so to speak as daylight minutes begin to trickle away. Conditions in the upper Gunflint have been fairly normal, but did present a sticky spike last weekend. A couple sultry days gets old quick, and they had a number of us folks reflecting our appreciation for colder times ahead (not that we are wishing our life away).
As I keyed this week's Gunflint scoop, storm clouds were building and thunder was rumbling in the west. A good soaking would be welcomed as rain over the past week or so has been on the scant side. Talking of storm clouds, they bring back memory of the infamous July 4 sixteen years ago when this territory saw hundreds of thousands of acres devastated in an unheard of derecho. The area has since bounced back with phenomenal new growth even when one factors in wildfires in some of the same blowdown places during 2005, 2006 and the tragic 2007 inferno. In spite of marvelous recovery efforts by “Mother Nature,” with assistance from mankind, many places remain with a substantial risk-laden fuel load, keeping all of us on edge when it gets dry. So let it rain, but no blowing!
Blueberry pickers are anxious to hit the patches in search of their treasured nuggets. An early report relates it’s still a little early, with fruit on the plants, but more ripening time needed.
I heard of a recent wild woods encounter involving a moose, her calf and a hungry bear. The scene was observed by a fishing party up on Lake Saganaga, who during the episode turned out to be life savers. Things began to unfold as the fisher-people heard a crashing through the woods. Thinking it was probably a moose rambling through the timber they were surprised when a moose calf bolted out along the shore and jumped into the lake. It began swimming away from shore in a frantic state. Momma moose appeared along shore but did not enter the water, choosing to lumber along shore as her baby floundered further away from land. In a matter of moments, “brother” bear came onto the scene following the youngster right into the water.
To the observers, it was soon perceived the bear would out-swim the moose baby and sure enough, caught up in no time. The big “Bruno” was on the little one, grappling and pushing it under water time and time again. The ungulate toddler scrambled furiously against both the bear and perils of drowning. Meanwhile Momma could do nothing from her shoreline position and eventually meandered off into the forest, probably figuring her young’un was a lost cause. Knowing moose calves have a hard time surviving, even on land, the fisherman navigating the boat decided an attempt should be made to try and save this little guy/gal. The boat was started and headed directly for the splashing fiasco.
Miraculously, as the craft got close, this tactic diverted the bear's attention on the prey and it backed off. Apparently discouraged by the interruption, it headed back to shore, disappearing into the woods. Talk about good Samaritans! Further observation of the calf following this melee saw the frightened critter making its way back to shore. It shook itself off, amazingly none the worse for wear, seemingly uninjured. After gaining some composure, and in a bit of wonderment, it turned its head for a look at these rescuers as if to acknowledge the heroic act on its behalf.
A happy ending to this extraordinary wilderness experience occurred later as the calf gave out a few whimpering wails and Momma returned the call. Soon Momma reappeared and the family was reunited. What a sensational effort by these concerned and creative Gunflint neighbors!
A swell gathering at the Seagull Lake Community center last Sunday closed down the July 4 Holiday break. Those in attendance celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and the fifth full year of the organization's Chik-Wauk Museum. A brief program followed the social hour and dinner with past presidents reminiscing about this splendid Gunflint Community accomplishment. See a digital of the goings-on with the Wildersmith website posting at WTIP.org.
Closing for this week, a couple reminders are extended to area residents and visitors. The July meeting of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society happens this coming Monday, the 13. The gathering will be at the Schaap Community Center (Mid-Trail) beginning at 1:30 pm.
Of additional importance, it’s “feelin’ groovy” time here at WTIP as the station is in the midst of its summer membership drive. If you’re wantin’ to feel groovy, how better to accomplish such than to get on board without delay. Continued quality programming costs big bucks, so join or renew now to help the cause. Give us a call at 387-1070 or 1-800-473-9847 or click and join at WTIP.org!
Oops it’s Canoe Race time on the Gunflint. See you there next Wednesday.