The woods are in the midst of the “full flower” moon as May winds down.
Over last week, the upper Trail territory has seen the warmth of Zigwan increase. Not unexpected, but the sultriness of the atmosphere is giving us an early sample of things to come.
It is hard to believe that Neebing is only about three weeks away, and with the coming solstice, our daylight length will begin its gradual turnabout. My, how the days go by!
Since summer is tapping at the door, it’s appropriate that our leaf-out season is about complete. By the time this column is released, even our tiniest leaflets will have reached maturity. A few birch and area maples are the only trees with infant sized foliage. Meanwhile, aspen of the northland are quaking at every breath of air.
A trip through border country finds one driving in the green tunneled forest. Things seen through winter’s skeletons are now obscured by various shades of chlorophyll and trembling textures.
The rain gods have again moved this area off the priority list. At this writing, streams have dwindled back to mere trickles and the forest floor is crunchy dry once more.
Through the first couple weeks of month five, the Wildersmith rain gauge had accumulated slightly over two and a quarter inches of precip. I thought the drought was on its way out, but my thinking was obviously premature.
The sad part of this continuing dry commentary is that all governing agencies have lifted fire bans throughout the county. Thus forest dwellers are left at the mercy of users’ common sense in regard to burning. Pray that common sense, although not so common these days, will prevail, and there will be no scorching multi-million dollar accidents during this parched time.
On a happy note, another sign of Neebing’s approach happened May 18 when the hummingbirds returned to the sweet tank at Wildersmith. Traffic has been on the daily increase since, and I was even buzzed in a low approach by one of the mini-jets while out in the early daylight hours a couple days later.
With the humidity at hand, spotting a moose in a situation out of water these days is unusual. However, last week I did see a handsome bull across from the Blankenberg turn off during one of my many trips to the Chik-Wauk museum. This guy had his sleek summer coat on and the developing antlers were in lush dark velvet. He checked me out while I was doing the same of him, and then went back to munching some late spring tenders.
On the same trip when Mr. Moose was sighted, one of those black fuzzies came up along the Trail near Seagull Outfitters. This ursus was a big one, and it thought about crossing in front of my truck, but suddenly decided the forest on that side of the road was less risky and ducked out of view. How about that, this was a wild two-critter sighting, on one trip, experience!
It also sounds as if an ursus cousin is providing some not-too-happy experiences for folks along the mid-trail area. In fact, it may be tipping the scale toward being a dangerous character. It is hoped that all humans will do their part in not tempting this ravenous critter, and that Mr. Bear will do its part too by going away.
Gunflint history unfolds somewhere every day, and it is never more evident than that which is going on at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center site. Exhibit installations will be winding down by the end of this week, then its a few weeks of fine tuning before the big day on July 4. Another historic wilderness moment will be recorded.
In working with Split Rock Design Studios’ team, I can assure everyone that the story about people of the Gunflint is going to be told in breathtaking style. The best descriptor is ‘splendid’!
Just a reminder, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society’s next meeting will be held this coming Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day) at 1:30 p.m. at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center. Everyone is invited...refreshments will be served.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the spirit of the wilderness!