Wildersmith June 1

"The rain gauge at Wildersmith has collected nearly five inches of precip since the skies started opening up some 10 days ago."

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A soaking of the Gunflint Trail continues as we have wrapped up May. I heard mention of starting to build an ark. Boat building would surely be an appropriate activity when put up against the potential for fighting wildfire that, by the way, seemed to have been going on for an eternity in border country.

The rain gauge at Wildersmith has collected nearly five inches of precip’ since the skies started opening up some 10 days ago. This is just wonderful, as similar amounts have fallen throughout the upper Gunflint watershed.

Lake levels in the territory are coming back up to snuff as rivers and streams are roaring with gushing liquid. On a recent windless morning, I heard the roar of Bridal Falls, which is several miles down the lake, echoing off the Canadian hillside in its cascade toward Gunflint Lake.

A trip toward the end of the Trail finds that waterfalls, usually trickling over the granite above Larch Creek southwest the Seagull Guard Station, are pouring water at a rate not seen in years. The crashing water there and many other places just makes one gush with relief from the long wilderness thirst.

Temperatures, meanwhile, have been seasonally pleasant, cool and just right for the moose and me. With the continuing rain, clouds have allowed only limited glimpses of sunshine over the past seven days.

When Sol has peeked out, however, it’s warmed enough to get those hungry black flies out in swarms. Netting up as I do, they’ve still found a way to get at me a number of times. Thus, I’m inflicted with several unnerving, itchy, swollen wounds.

If this isn’t enough misery, bring on the antihistamines as those stinging skeeters will be getting in line to have the next crack at us. With plenty of pooled breeding grounds being filled to overflowing, the biting forecast looks pretty bleak from now until August. Everyone had better have those window and door screens patched up!

So be it for all those nasties of the woods. It’s time to celebrate the final stanza of spring. Babies of wild neighborhood critters are beginning to feel their way in this new world. And the soon to be “strawberry moon” of June (Ode’imini Giizis) is pointing us toward the summer Solstice.

Time is jetting by as we see the longest segment of daylight on the horizon, and the ensuing trend in another direction. How can that be? Seems like we just flew past the shortest day a few weeks back?

With the passing of Memorial Day weekend most, if not all, seasonal folks have returned to paradise found. Lakeshore docks are jutting out, winter resident rodents are being evicted from cabin walls and all those inadvertent frozen water system leaks are being fixed.

Meanwhile, the green tunnel through the woods is often seen crawling with caravans of vehicles stuffed with gear and topped off with a canoe or pulling some type of boat. Summer is officially declared in spite of what the calendar says. It’s America’s vacation time and the Gunflint is the target for many.

News from the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is that the loon pair has settled in and is sitting on eggs. With a little good fortune, perhaps we’ll have some more little Petes and “Repeats” like last year.

Viewing through binocs or a high powered camera lens from the museum front porch will afford some extraordinary up-close wildlife opportunities. So come on up, but hush is the word, chicks in the making!

On a final note, many up this way are anxiously waiting for the inaugural run of the Towering Pines Canopy Tour that is under construction on the grounds of Gunflint Lodge. Set to open sometime in early July, the zip line naturalist journey from platform to platform through the trees tops overlooking Gunflint Lake should have the flying critters in the area doing a double take.

Several of we locals are wagering on who will be the first to try it out. I have some ideas but will not divulge my thoughts. However, one thing for sure, it will not be yours truly. I’m as high off the ground as I wish to be, just sitting here at the keyboard.

Keep on hangin’ on (no pun intended), and savor a trip through the forest by any means!

Airdate: June 1, 2012

Photo courtesy of John Lillis via Flickr.


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