Wildersmith August 17

Sunset over Gunflint Lake (bdearth/Flickr)
Sunset over Gunflint Lake (bdearth/Flickr)

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The third weekend of August recorded seven days of tranquil weather passing through the upper Trail. There have been no dog days to this point, and us regulars hope that atmospheric things continue with the calm autumnal trend.
 
Since our last meeting on the radio, most areas in our territory picked up nearly an inch or so of moisture in one overnight setting. However, with this keyboarding exercise, we’ve dried out and are once again beginning to choke in the dust of our backcountry roads.
 
Area lake temperatures continue the slow downward trickle. A check of the old thermometer at our Wildersmith dock showed the mercury hovering at 68. So dips in the lake are becoming less frequent and are causing more of a gasp when one does such an entry.
 
My nightly dockside sunset monitoring has been quite frustrating of late. It seems that regardless of how clear the skies have been about an hour before sundown, some early evening clouds gathering over the Gunflint Gal have spoiled those pure Canadian sunsets.
 
Nonetheless, flooding rays from behind those cloud formations have dished up some exciting neon halos on the puffy perimeters, so all observations have not been a total bust.
 
With the focus of the past two weeks on the Olympics, a fellow Mile O Pine resident came upon an up-north version of aquatic activity with international flavor while boating down Gunflint Lake. As evening shadows were building, he observed a dark silhouette moving along the surface.  From a distance, he pondered that it was surely to be a loon with chicks on board.
 
Movement toward the Canadian shore was deliberate and he soon gained on the stroking mystery critter.  It was soon discovered that this was no loon. In fact, this was way too big, maybe a moose?
 
Proximity was finally accomplished to where he could discern the inexplicable swimmer. Turns out it was a momma bear heading to Canada, and clinging to her back were two cubs. Guess Ms. Bruno was no Michael Phelps but was nevertheless making slow and steady progress through the rolling waters.
 
Some visitors to the area also shared their observation of another wild aquatic adventure. It seems like everyone, critters included, wants to get into the act following all the blue liquid that’s been spilling out of our TVs lately. In this happening, they not only got to see a treasured Gunflint moose, they saw a pair of them (a bull and a yearling). The monsters of the byway were doing a moose version of the dog paddle across Clearwater Lake. What a vacation memory this stands to be!
 
The past birthing season for black Teddy’s in these parts must have been quite prolific. It seems that on about every other trip taken in either direction along the Trail I’ve seen a cute cub scampering across my path.
 
Sure is a shame that the adorable bear tots grow up to sometimes be so annoying and/or disagreeable. Then again, if it weren’t for us humans being around, how could they be called such, or would we even know?
 
Saturday is the day for which mid-Trail folks have been waiting. Their annual flea market, gift boutique and auction kicks off at 1p.m. This event has been a fun activity along the Trail for many years and also raises funds that help support the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and EMT crews.
 
Many wonderful hand-crafted items will be on the auction block, and the final event of the afternoon will see the winning ticket drawn for that always unique, Mid-Trail quilters’ labor of love!
 
All of the activity will be held at Fire Hall #1, mid-Trail. Plan to make an afternoon of it while taking an always lovely, late summer venture up the Trail to join in the fun!
 
On a final note, the pie and ice cream social held at Chik-Wauk museum and Nature Center last weekend was a huge success. A north woods spectacular day saw over 200 luscious pieces of pie served. Thanks go out to the organizers, volunteer set-up folks, servers, pastry specialists and of course the attendees.
 
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the waning days of the season!

Airdate: August 17, 2012


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