As our northland Christmas season progresses, “all is calm and all is bright.”
The bustle of human activity has not been impeded by any atmospheric extremes along the Trail. In fact, the non-weather happenings in border country are making those of us who love and depend upon winter white somewhat anxious.
At this scribing on Dec. 5, the area has had only a dusting of seasonal precipitation since we last met on the radio. So the winter drought continues.. come on “La Nina.”
Temperatures in the meantime have settled in at about normal. At Wildersmith, the mercury has dropped below the zero mark a couple times, but nothing to write home about. The prognosticators are calling for an even deeper dip by the time this cyber-broadcast zings out into space.
Ice making continues on most lakes, quiet bays and swamps. The surface is about safe for walking in some instances, but one should proceed with caution before venturing too far out from shores.
The water on the big three lakes, Seagull, Saganaga and Gunflint, continues to ripple and roll at the beck of daily early winter winds. We are still hopeful that the final chapter in this ‘Zamboni’ process will occur soon.
The county came alive with the sound of music this past Sunday and Monday evenings. Cook County’s community holiday concert was performed brilliantly by the Borealis Chorale and Orchestra to standing room only crowds, and a number of our Gunflint Trail neighbors were involved.
Congratulations to everyone who made this happen once again. Although there was no ‘Aurora’ involved, the ‘Borealis’ and orchestral accompaniment certainly brightened the hearts with seasonal spirit echoing from the tip of the Arrowhead to the end of the Trail.
The magic of the season was further enhanced as we Smiths drove home from the Sunday concert. Driving out the Trail after dark can often make it appear as though one is driving off into a black hole. Previous snow efforts have left the byway pretty much covered in bright white, yet the light at the end of the Gunflint tunnel was seemingly non-existent for miles and miles.
Temperatures plummeted to zero on the truck thermometer near the South Brule River Bridge and then bounced back up and down in various locales as we trekked along. Jack Frost was busy setting glitter on roadside branches just beyond our headlights. The ground level twinkling was another light show to remember, mindful of what was going on in the lustrous skies overhead, heaven on earth. Giving full recognition to the off and on sparkling is next to impossible. You just had to be here to get the full effect.
In addition to the frosty decorating, a fresh dusting of snow the night before had smoothed the landscape so tracking of critters was also splendid during our darkness venture homeward. I must say that although the moose population decline remains most perplexing, there was trailside evidence that made it seem like thousands had been out tramping around in the moose zone between the South Brule Bridge and Bearskin Road.
We did not see one of the monsters of the byway in person, but imprints proved there was much prancing and pawing of many a hoof.
Then as we started the last leg for Wildersmith along the Mile O’ Pine, a member of the Gunflint/Loon Lake wolf pack suddenly popped out of the forest and led us down the road a short distance for just one more north woods adventure. What beautiful night of sights and sounds!
Keep on hangin’ on and savor some wilderness mystique!
Airdate: December 9, 2011