After a Thanksgiving run to Iowa for a family visit, the Smiths are back in the woods. One thing for which I continue to be thankful is that “wonder dog” from over on Hungry Jack Lake. Rosey and her dad are a scribe’s blessing by offering to scoop up news along the Trail when I have to be out of the area.
Old Man Winter has been somewhat jittery what with the big warm-up during Thanksgiving week. I missed most of his slip-sliding about, and it’s just as well since I’m not into melt-downs after declaring it winter.
Our return to Wildersmith happened just after a nice dose of snow decorated the Trail. The white covering came as quite a surprise after leaving a warm, murky Grand Marais on the final leg of our nearly 600-mile one-day trip.
Soon after reaching the top of the hill above town, the winter wonderland opened before us. Showers of snow were flitting through the beams of our headlights and for the next 50 miles we enjoyed the magic of “serpentine” white slithering down the byway in front of us.
Many at our age dread the thought of snow, let alone having to drive in it. This was not the case for us Smiths. We trekked along following the tracks of some unknown vehicle that had passed earlier, not unexpectedly never meeting another soul headed in the opposite direction.
During the wondrous homeward adventure there was hope that a moose would surely make an appearance, but alas, there was nothing more than a couple foxes making a perpendicular intersection with our path.
What a splendid place this is when a fresh six-inch flocking spruces things up. There are some special trees along the Mile O’ Pine that have always caught our eye because of where and how they are tucked into the landscape. It’s such a joy to see them all decked out in winter wonder, kind of like meeting up with some old friends that have been long obscured on a summer vacation.
So the end of the year scramble is upon us. The month of the “cold moon” is heavenly in the northland. The real cold leaks in and freezing trees will start a poppin’ like corn in a kettle.
Now that we have white reinforcements, the wind has been thrashing out of the north-northwest. The Gunflint Lake gal and other large bodies are still rolling in against the shorelines resisting the time when they will be stilled for the next several months.
With an average Gunflint Lake freeze-up time around the 12th of the month, she knows her lapping time is limited. All we need is a sub-zero night or two with some calm air and the job will be done.
December’s a time of love and deep meaning like no other. It quakes with excitement of joyous Silver Bells, sleigh rides and chestnuts roasting o’er an open fire.
I can hardly wait for the adventure of an Ojibwe “Biboon” (winter) as it comes into focus with impending mystery! Tracks, tracks in the snow, who knows where they go?
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor some peace in the wilderness!
Airdate: December 2, 2011
Photo courtesy of rattyfied via Flickr.