Wildersmith March 3

Snow sculpture at Winter Tracks
Snow sculpture at Winter Tracks

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Finalcut_Wildersmtih_20100304.mp38.33 MB

Month three has “March” ed right in!! The month known for weather of changeable temperament came in like a lamb…thus following suit with the rest of the wimpy winter months the upper Gunflint wilderness has experienced thus far.

So being unable to do anything about the cool things we can usually brag about, a light signaling the birth of another growing season is flickering just a couple weeks away, and that can certainly brighten one’s outlook.

The days of the past week in the woods have again been remarkable, with barely a cloud in the sky.  There were a number of frigid sub-zero…Wildersmith dawns, but the sunshine that followed almost made for light jacket coverings.

Plenty of activity took place on the Trail over the last days of February. Winter Tracks number six literally left marks in the snow with all kinds of happenings. The annual trout derby on Gunflint Lake saw huge participation as weekend events drew to a close on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunflint Lodge waterfront looked like a used truck lot with all the pick-ups scattered about the ice; in addition, oodles of snow machines were scooting about. Everyone seemed to be having a great time on a splendid blue sky day.

It seems that the Gunflint/Loon Lake wolf pack must have moved to new territory. Suddenly the deeryard at Wildersmith has been inundated with a gang of whitetails, indicating that danger is not so imminent.

This is something that has not happened since last winter, with the blame being placed on those hungry warriors.  One thing of note is that there are very few fawns, but the rest of the gathering looks to be quite healthy. So I’m getting a lot of free brush pruning done around the yard.

There is always something to catch your attention when you live in the forest. In the late afternoon, I’ve been watching with interest the hubbub around the avian feeding trays. Traffic is in and out all day long, but as twilight comes on, those tiny masked bandits really get intense.

It’s fascinating to watch the chickadees as they bulk up for the long cold night ahead. The menu choices range from peanut butter cakes to a can of frozen bacon grease and, of course, sunflower seeds. Believe me, they hit them all.

Luckily their rate of metabolism is such that both carbs and fat are burnt up in the nocturnal staying-warm process, or soon they would likely be big as flying tankers.

On another nutritional note, I was entertained the other morning to find that one of those pesky squirrels took a liking to some pieces of leftover French fries. This usual seed and nut connoisseur took to nibbling those greasy potato sticks like there was no tomorrow. Wonder if the wild gourmet had a bellyache after that rich fare?

If silence is golden, then this part of the universe is getting to experience Olympic Gold. The morning after the Winter Tracks weekend was magical in terms of peace. There was no wind whispering through the pines. Only an occasional chickadee flutter and the crunch of deer passing over crusted snow broke the quiet of this wilderness wonder. It was so satisfying to encounter the sound of nothing obtrusive in this clearly messed up world.

There are just so many reasons to visit this place in paradise. So keep on hangin’ on, and savor listening to WTIP, a golden gem of the wilderness!


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