Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 26th

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

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This green tunnel through the woods has forever been blessed with magic, and the past week saw the “old gal” who is in charge of things adding some much needed enhancement.  Rain the likes of which this area has not seen in a while came and hung out long enough to energize rivers and streams into raging serpentines.
            Many roads and driveways were gashed with washouts, but on the good side, lake levels were raised substantially from their usual summer decline. Here on Gunflint Lake, the surface level has upped a good foot from input throughout the watershed.
            The rain gauge at Wildersmith did not register as much as several other places in the upper Gunflint. Nevertheless, I’ve recorded 3 1/4 inches since we last met on the radio waves.
 Meanwhile, the stickiness has lessened for the time being, and a swell cold front gave us a taste of autumn this past Sunday.  With a morning low here on the Mile O Pine of 39 and sunny afternoon skies with a high in the 50s, all that was missing from a simply splendid day was some fall color. It was definitely a day from which a border country travelogue could be written.  As July has almost faded into the annals of 2013, we north woods folks hope this natural air conditioning extends into the coming of August.
Folks who put nectar out for the hummingbirds are being treated to a real buzz around their feeders. Just off the hatch, these tiny miracles of avian flight are swarming these scarlet stations like bees attracted to fruit tree blossoms.
Many report that every perch on their sweetness units are occupied continually with cousins swooping about in holding patterns. Patience among these little guys and gals often gets strained when they are so hungry, often erupting into mid-air combat skirmishes. One would have to think that these wonderful creatures must really be tired after a day darting about at near-blinding speed.
An exciting link, about a lynx, came to me the other day from friends over on Hungry Jack Lake. Guess the feline casually strolled through their yard, probably in quest of an afternoon snowshoe bunny treat. Another report comes from that same area along the south Hungry Jack road where a momma moose and her calf were spotted.
Meanwhile a wolf has been seen tramping around the neighborhood where Mile O Pine and County Road 20 intersect.
            And if you haven’t seen any bears of late, they’re probably busy in the blueberry patches. The precious blue morsels are on the stem and ready for harvest. So far, those I’ve seen are of prime quality, big and plump. It would look as though the area will have a bumper crop, so grab those buckets, watch for the brunos and have a pickin’ good time!
Kudos are extended to the organizers and volunteers of the Clearwater Lake cabin tour. I heard many oohs and aahs from attendees as they trekked around the lake getting an up-close look at the wonderful north-country domiciles of those gracious homeowners. Sincere thanks go out to all who opened cabin doors to share a bit of their Clearwater resident history.
On a final note, the annual Gunflint Canoe Races are in the history books with another successful run. A magnificent evening on the waterfront at Gunflint Lodge a week ago Wednesday saw a record number of participants hit the lake in the various canoeing events. Proceeds from the event’s many activities came in from all directions and, in the final tally, over $12,500 was netted in support of our Gunflint volunteer fire and recues crews.
Thanks go out to everyone who pitched in as raffle/auction prize donors, event planners/volunteers and participants. The drawing for that grand prize, the Wenonah Canoe, found the Baker family of Gunflint Lake getting to paddle it home.
Summer events on the Gunflint community calendar seem to be never-ending. Next up on the docket is the Mid-Trail property owners flea market, auction and gift boutique. The date is Thursday, Aug. 8 beginning at 1 p.m. in Fire Hall #1 /Mid-Trail. Don’t miss this energetic occasion.
Then on Saturday, Aug. 17, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society is hosting its first chamber music concert, by and for residents and guests of the Gunflint Trail. This classical chamber music, in a north woods setting, is heralded as “The Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings.” It will begin at 4 p.m. in the new Schaap Mid-Trail Community Center. Featured will be music by Grieg, Bach, Chopin, Britten, Hoover, Rossini and Beckstrand.
 Tickets include a post-concert reception. With a limited number available to be sold, you can get your reservation secured by calling the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center at (218) 388-9915, or order online at www.GunflintTrailHistoricalSociety.org. Watch for headlines on the performing artists in weeks to come.
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor times in the northern sun!
            

{photo by Michelle Lynn Reynolds via Wikimedia Commons}

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