As the summer solstice checks in this weekend, more summer like conditions have taken over the Trail. We’ve had some splendid sunny days, and temps of both air and water are more suitable to the onslaught of visitors pouring into the territory. A reading of the lakeshore water at Wildersmith finds the mercury in the mid-sixties. So it won’t be long before a dip in the lake on a sticky day will feel pretty satisfying.
Several perennial wildflowers have popped open over the past few days. Most noteworthy are wild roses in many locations along back country roads. While deep in the forest, a number of digital recordings of our precious lady-slippers are being shared through cyberspace. And in areas of predominant sunshine, waves of forget-me-nots are twinkling sky-blue reflections.
On the lesser side of the blooming ledger, those colorful, but invasive, lupines are standing tall in their purple, pink and white spires. Knowing these are not the most welcome by people in the know about native flora, they are nevertheless a striking rainbow of luminance along our scenic byway. All this blooming glory is “Mother Nature” at her best!
North woods magic is seldom more delightful than twilight time on a clear sky morning. Not long ago, I was awakened early one tranquil morning and so enjoyed the privilege of observing the forest wake up. Daylight had broken, although “Sol” had not risen above the horizon,and still-hidden rays had chased the darkness. In spite of the brightening sky, lake water reflections lingered in a somber hue. The atmosphere stood dead silent. Neither leaf nor needle muttered a whisper, and ground level greenery hunkered motionless. Not a creature was stirring until the particular moment when the first beams of sun ascended the granite horizon near due east. Those piercing spears of brightness suddenly turned on the switch. A subtle, but swift burst of warmth engulfed day-break over Gunflint Lake. Almost on cue, solar energy heated the air, causing whiffs of movement. Ripples abruptly wrinkled our mirror-like liquid and on shore, foliage began to tremble. Within minutes, this day-star was fully exposed. Its radiance began to pass through a zillion minute openings in the border country canopy. As the whisper of air amplified, like twinkling lights, glitter bounced off uncountable dew-laden wilderness remnants and flashes of brilliance wiggled along the fiber network of third shift arachnids. Splashes from this great luminary grew more prominent and in their warmth, buzzing critters started swarming about. In moments, the first hummingbird darted by the window on its way to our nectar station. Soon to follow, the larger avian chimed in with their welcoming interlude and not minutes later, the first of many red rodents in our yard traversed the deck rail in search of a breakfast morsel. The day was open for business!
Speaking of buzzing critters, during our mid-day sunshine, as are others, this neighborhood is unbelievably alive with the hum of uncountable insects. They‘re feasting on either the abundant blossom nectar, or searching for some poor soul from which they might withdraw a little blood. If one is attired in proper bug protection, standing out among them catching a listen to this diverse murmur is quite the buzz (no pun intended).
In another moose sighting, a couple residing up near the end of the Trail mentioned one of those rare experiences last weekend. They came upon a Momma and her calf. This is not too unusual except that this little one was still wet behind the ears so to speak, and gawkily unstable as it tried to keep up with Mom. One would have to assume this was a newborn, not long out of the womb. What a joyous experience for not only the observers but also for the new Mother.
In closing this week, a big thumbs up to the organizers of the Boundary Waters Expo. I was there for the opening hours on Friday and have heard many complimentary comments about the entire weekend of activities.
If you didn’t get to the big “shrimp boil” put on by the Gunflint Trail Historical Society last Sunday you missed a feast of awesome proportions. Thanks to all the Gunflint Community for their help in putting on this swell gathering. I noticed several neighboring residents departing the event in a bloated state having made numerous passes along the scrumptious serving trough!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a Gunflint day on the Trail!