Wildersmith May 13

Black Bear/photo from HBarrison on flickr
Black Bear/photo from HBarrison on flickr

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FinalCut_Wildersmith_20100513.mp36.92 MB

Just when March and April got us all enthused about warm weather things, along comes May with her normal unpredictability, and we are brought back to northern reality. Since the first of month five, it has been cool, cloudy much of the time and, believe it or not, rainy on a few occasions.

The past weekend, which saw many folks gather for the third annual Gunflint Green-up, was just like the previous two years in terms of atmospheric happenings. Once again the Friday night before the Saturday trek into the forest saw snow fall along the upper Trail. Amounts varied from a skiff here and there to almost two inches in the mid-trail area, and we’d thought winter had forsaken us!

However, by midday Saturday the sun poked through the clouds and made for a sparkling time. Nearly 200 green enthusiasts took part in the 2010 event to release previous years’ plantings from undergrowth surrounding them.

The event was culminated with the thank-you dinner held under the big top on the grounds of Gunflint Lodge. Green-Up participants were not only fed sumptuously, but also entertained royally by the Sivertones and the Trail’s End Band. What a fine evening!

Big time thanks go out to Nancy Seaton and her gang of planners for another great Green-Up weekend.

Cold as it has been lately, it would seem not too unusual to have some frosty weather this weekend as the anglers open the season. Many a year has seen opening day with fisher people bundled up, sitting in their watercraft amongst falling flakes. Water temperatures are still icy cold so all are advised to boat and fish with care.

Bear activity continues to increase with calling cards left at almost every turn in the path. A couple along the Mile O’ Pine found that one had been on top of their car in a recent nocturnal episode. Fortunately there was no forced entry.

The neighborhood pine martens apparently became disenchanted with the Wildersmith folks’ late April disappearance. But all must be forgiven as they have once again come back to the feed trough.

Accommodating their nutritional wishes this time of year is difficult so as not to entice one of those black burleys. Placing any of those poultry parts out in the pre-darkness hours can almost ensure an unwanted visitor, so feeding time has to be at sunup. Believe it or not, the pineys have been quick to adjust.

The night prior to keying this column found our Wildersmith neighborhood alive with some after-dark noises. Turns out, it was a fox that barked, and barked and barked. An owl chimed in with an occasional hoot as well. I don’t know if they were in concert or not, but the yipping must have gone on for nearly half an hour. I’m betting that fox has a bad case of laryngitis after all the noise-making.

After several months of nary a moose sighting, at least a half dozen have been spotted at various places along the Gunflint. I happened on a big cow on the Tucker Lake Road recently. She was a bit undecided about what half the road to which she was entitled, so just took hers out of the middle for some distance.

At their best, moose are not the most attractive beasts of creation, and the one cavorting in front of my vehicle was quite slovenly in appearance. In the middle of a seasonal attire change, her coat was in a state of half winter and half summer, motley to be sure. Large as she was, it’s likely that she is soon to be in a motherly way, and that too may have added to her not-so-comely appearance.

Whatever the case, it remains a thrill whenever one crosses your path. To have several sightings reported recently is encouraging, especially when we know that the population has been in a state of decline over the past few years.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor sounds of a springtime night.


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