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Wildersmith On The Gunflint Nov. 25, 2009


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The weather for Thanksgiving week in the northland continues to be other than normal. El Nino is right on track as experts have predicted, sending wave after wave of warmth along the Canadian border states right into our territory. We remain gray and mucky.

Although the official calendar reading for winter is nearly a month away, the region should still be having some sort of cold season conditions by now. So we winter worshippers have already missed about a month of our favorite time of year. And, for those that dread the long cold season, their Thanksgiving is probably enhanced knowing there is one 30-day segment behind them.

In spite of the yo-yo thermometer readings from the low 20s in the mornings to near 40s in the afternoon, many of the smaller lakes along the Trail have managed to freeze over. Far from safe to traverse, I did find ice at a half inch thick on the Saganaga Bay east of the Chik Wauk Lodge last Friday.

With the 10th Thanksgiving of the century upon us, my patience is growing thin for snow, but many folks are thankful that we’ve been loaned a few days from winter with this extension of Indian summer. Time will tell if Old Man Winter will desire an immediate payback with an add-on next spring.

Deer hunting successes picked up during week two of the firearms season. I’m told that the hunt for many in the hot orange garb was a struggle, with whitetail selections few and far between around the area.

A hunter friend of mine reports a unique wild experience. While sitting in his tree perch, patiently waiting for the right buck to make an appearance, a six-pack provided plenty of entertainment, and I don’t mean of the 12-ounce canned variety.

Apparently a lingering aroma from a previous deer kill, below his lofty location, caught the attention of a mother wolf and her quintet of adolescent offspring. The wolf gang gathered just below where he was sitting, paid him no attention, and milled around for some time, sniffing about and licking bloody dregs off the forest floor.

Normally traveling in single file, they eventually departed. This time though, the special six-pack spread out side by side, and made a sweep of the area in case a morsel had been missed while fading into obscurity of the woods.

To observe an up-close occasion with these warriors of the wilderness is rare. And, to be a privy to such a wild encounter may be a once-in-a-lifetime happening, although living in the forest every day, never say never.

In this great bountiful wilderness we surely want to give thanks at this time, and every day hence for our infinite number of blessings: like wives and husbands…kids and grandkids…grandmas and grandpas…sisters and brothers…aunts, uncles and cousins…good friends and neighbors…cabins and homes…earth and heaven…blue skies and gray…breezes and calm…stars and the moon…aurora and rainbows…sunrise and sunsets…fresh air and clear waters…ripples and waves…ice and snow…sights and smells…hoots and howls…hills and valleys…birch, maple and pine…buds, flowers and plants…trails and trekking…campfires, tents and fun…fishing and hunting…skiing and sledding…deer and moose…bears and wolves…fox and hares…martens and mink…chipmunks and squirrels…eagles, hawks and osprey…loons and partridge…ducks and geese…owls and ravens…bees, birds and bugs…and everything else in this magical northern kingdom. We are eternally grateful.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor your time with family and friends, turkey and trimmings.