Wildersmith on the Gunflint: August 15

Black Bear
Black Bear

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The Gunflint north reaches mid-August after having recorded another spectacular weather week. Most days, skies were blue as far as the eye could see with tolerable daytime temps and great sleeping conditions at night.
           
However, just when we really needed unobstructed heavens last Sunday for viewing the “super, blueberry moon,” clouds veiled the display for us border country viewers. The only consolation from the cloudy build-up was a much needed rain as the upper Gunflint watershed had been turning crunchy dry.
           
The only rain recorded prior to Sunday’s drenching (which by the way measured over 2 inches), was a brief but intense thunderstorm overnight on August 4 and 5. That outbreak dropped about six-tenths at Wildersmith, but also set off a small lightning strike fire in the Partridge Lake vicinity of the BWCAW. The blaze was quickly monitored and suppressed by forest service wildfire specialists.
           
Lake water temps in the area have been comfortably warm, holding in the mid-70s. Such conditions have attracted countless folks out onto and into our many wilderness venues. Besides those choosing a dip in the lakes with bodies or hooks and lines, the area is totally inundated with berry pickers. I heard of one couple that took away 17 quarts. Hope the greedy humans leave some for the bears and other sweet-toothed critters.
           
Speaking of bears, a local fellow recently found himself a player in an interesting man vs. beast encounter. He is crediting himself with a no-no by leaving a couple bags of garbage exposed in the back of his pickup, thus setting the stage.
           
The scene opens one morning as he observes an agile yearling Bruno climbing into the back of his truck and snatching a bag of breakfast potential. A quick dash outside found him hollering as he chased after the critter. Along the way he also picked up a canoe paddle, in an attempt to goad the animal into dropping its treasure, saving him a refuse clean-up and perhaps a return visit. Wonder what he would have done had the bear reversed the pursuit?
           
The chase segment, act two, was short-lived as the chubby cubby eventually disappeared into the forest, goody bag still in its mouth. I find the most amusing component of the entire episode was that the fella was still in his jammies.
           
The chaser declared he did pull on his boots and grabbed a hat while scampering out the door. I’m betting this was a performance to behold; a man in a hat, pajamas and boots with weapon of little persuasion in hand while clomping across the yard.
           
I would also wager he isn’t the first wilderness resident to have given chase to some pilfering varmint while clad in nightwear or maybe less. This experience could have been a north woods funniest home video for sure!
           
The 26th annual Mid-Trail Property Owners Association fundraising celebration was another huge success. An enthusiastic crowd attended the event, which saw Darlene Katajamaki of the Gunflint Trail claim the 2014 quilt in the grand prize drawing. Early returns indicate in excess of $8,000 raised in support of the Trail fire and rescue crews through the flea market, gift boutique, super auction and quilt raffle.
           
Combined with the Trail canoe races, we’ve raised nearly $25,000 for our dedicated and much appreciated Gunflint volunteer protectors.  Thanks to all organizers, prize donors, volunteer worker bees and participants. Another great effort by the Gunflint community!
           
All is in readiness for the second north woods chamber music concert Saturday. Earlier this week, a few seating accommodations remained for the 4 p.m. event in the Mid-Trail fire hall facilities. A call to the Chik Wauk Museum can answer questions as to last minute availability, 388-9915.
           
I find every day seems to add subtle seasonal changes in the natural world around us. The Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings concert will be an idyllic kick-off into our growing autumnal character. Hope to see you there!
           
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a rapid winding down of the Gunflint summer season!
 


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