Wildersmith March 18

Members and volunteers hang out and enjoy the treats during WTIP's
Members and volunteers hang out and enjoy the treats during WTIP's "So Many Reasons" membership drive

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Congrats and thanks to all that enhanced the “So Many Reasons” theme for the WTIP spring support effort. The impact that this little station, with the big heart, has on so many folks is beyond comprehension.

With the arrival of our nation’s annual artificial timing debacle, we gained an hour toward the vernal equinox and Zigwan. North woods creeks and rivers are gushing with enthusiasm, although the exuberant rush cannot last too long.

Another week has passed with almost no precip. Soon gurgling streams will diminish to trickles when the snow melt is exhausted. The best we could muster in the Wildersmith rain gauge was under two-tenths of an inch during a couple feeble nighttime shower attempts.

In the early stages of mud season, Mother Nature is once again showing that she is in charge. Her latest display of control is noted in the fact that she has made all the vehicles residing or cruising through the area to look alike. Color variations are neutralized with a good old coat of north woods earthen tones.

Splotches of snow are about all that is left from the winter that wasn’t. Our golden brown needle carpet is now the rule on the forest floor, where a week ago we had about a foot and a half of white. Boy, it has gone fast!

Juices are beginning to flow in the forest flora. I got a first look at some aspiring pussy willow buds as the silver/gray fuzzies are presently peeking out in a couple spots along the Mile 0’ Pine. And, just days ago, I discovered a trickle of sap leaking through the bark of one of my maples.

Spring’s early arrival makes me wonder if we will wage a longer season with the annual bug battles. Don’t know if this could happen, but things will be worse than bad, if the extended warmth allows more multiple hatchings of those miserable black flies.

I’ve already observed the buzzing of several suspicious-looking airborne insects.
Better be digging out the bug netting and deterrent spray! This is another good justification for cold and snow.

As the winter character departs, unsightly remains of human habits are appearing along the Trail. It never ceases to amaze me that many people claiming to adore this part of the universe can be so careless and abusive.

Discarding litter while passing through this miracle creation is unconscionable. A friend once told me that snow covers up a multitude of bad human habits and even some natural ugliness. He was sure right. Guess that is why so many of us wilderness folks have such passion for the pureness of this past season, and disappointment when it comes to an end.

Speaking of another ugly situation, the big meltdown out this way put the kibosh on one feature of Mush For a Cure, part four. Water-covered lake ice and barren trails forced the cancellation of the sled dog and skijoring events. However, organizers and participants made the best of a sloppy situation, as all other scheduled events went off without a hitch.

Pink enthusiasm was at fever pitch, symbolically matching the battle for which the events were scheduled. An early report states that $28,000 will be donated from the Cook County/Gunflint community efforts to assist in national breast cancer research. This amount sets a new record, exceeding last year’s total of $25,000. A hearty thanks to everyone who played a part in making this another memorable occasion.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the birth of a new season!


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