Wildersmith March 29

Wolf in the wild
Wolf in the wild

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Adios March…it’s almost April…no fooling! The way month three has flown by makes me wonder if there isn’t some way we could slow life down.

As we greet month four, the upper Gunflint is on the brink of mud season. Serious spring warmth has not confronted us regulars, and it has been interesting to watch a tale of two seasons lately.

 The power of our new season’s sun has been turning roof tops with southern exposure from shrinking white to sparkling drippy icicles. Walking just a few dozen steps to the shady north side of the house, I find nary a drip falling and the chill of winter remaining a reality. So one can see we are in the midst of the year’s quarterly climatic tug-of-war.

That said, a reflection on territory atmospheric happenings during the past seven days has provided little excitement. It’s been pretty normal for this time of year, pleasant days and cold nights. Here at Wildersmith we have still been seeing zero to single digit temps setting a thickening crust on the snow pack after dark, which softens under sunny daytime rays.

 Along our Mile O Pine and other less traveled back country roads, you would barely notice that spring has made much headway.  Yet out on the Trail blacktop, the snow banks have been gnawed away pretty good. In fact, remnants of the winter road de-icing are making for an ugly look of urban snow, yuk!

Lately a “murder of crows” has taken over around our neighborhood. When they are not strutting around the yard scratching for nutritional elements, they are winging through the tree tops like a storm cloud. Their raucous conversation has put the silence of the woods on temporary hold.

Just a few days ago, while trekking down the Mile O Pine, we came upon two huge handsome wolves. Both these wilderness icons and the Smiths were surprised to meet each other. In the blink of an eye, the canine originals turned and galloped off into the forest.

Passing their off-road exit, I was surprised at the indentations their bodies made as they struggled through the deep snow. It became quite evident that travel off the plowed road is very difficult for them, as well as other wild critters, particularly when they break through the crusted depths.

A recent report from down at Gunflint Lodge tells of an employee having a close up meeting with another wolf. Whereas wolves most usually high tail it in human encounters, I’m told that this one did a brief stare down before turning the other direction. Knowing they prefer venison, it would still be a little unnerving if they didn’t quickly vamoose upon a close-up human juncture.

I was made aware that two fishermen came upon another downed moose carcass. This one was observed at the far east end of Gunflint Lake. Because there were enough of the remains, it was determined to be that of a cow. So it’s another one down and counting on this sad saga of moose population decline.  It might have been two MIA if she had been in an expecting way.

I’m guessing it could be blamed on the wolves once again. However, if she was healthy, that likelihood could be questioned, as the Arrowhead herd has more than wolf issues. Those canid lupis have a way of picking only on the afflicted or very young. It’s a good bet that this one’s demise may have been due to a stressed physical condition.

On a closing, but amusing note, the deer are pacing back and forth by my lower level windows stopping to peek in at me as I key this week’s scoop. A forlorn look in their big brown eyes indicates that they want a handout. Boy, do they have me conditioned!

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the thought of coming April showers, be they solid or liquid!

Airdate: March 29, 2013


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