Wildersmith May 6

Loon image from Kristin Maling on Flickr
Loon image from Kristin Maling on Flickr

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Finalcut_Wildersmith_20100507.mp37.26 MB

The Wildersmith two are back in the woods. After a swell 11-day visit to family and friends in Iowa, it’s great to be back at our wilderness “home sweet home.”
 
Once again my thanks go out my rover friend Rosey and her dad, for sniffing out the upper Gunflint happenings. Nosey Rosey’s continuing perspective from a foot or so above the northwoods earth is always refreshing.
 
Part of my stint in Iowa included officiating at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, one day of which was spent standing out in the rain. Don’t know if it was those conditions or just being around far more people than usual, but the result was that I contracted a miserable upper respiratory condition. Of course it did not dissipate at the Iowa/Minnesota border and so I continue to hack around.
 
If there is any world record for continuous days of coughing, I may be closing in on such a mark, or may have already surpassed it. Maybe it could qualify as a Drake Relays Record!
 
It is interesting that some things never seem to change. Such is the case with the rain gauge here on the Gunflint south shores. Mine was empty when I departed and empty when I returned. The showers of April were pretty much non-existent until the last day of the month. Fortunately the north-country drought has been temporarily stunted with a sweet, six-tenths of an inch of heaven.
 
So the Gunflint territory enters the month of the “full flower” moon with the dust settled for at least a few days. Only time will tell whether the dry spell might have been broken, and we will actually get some nice May flowers. Although the wet addition is deeply appreciated, it was like pouring a cup into the ocean-- we need MORE.
 
The brief period of rain last weekend has already had a positive effect on the leafing-out process. Aspen buds popped almost over night while birch and maple buds are burgeoning with hope. On the coniferous side, those little buds have emerged into candles that will become the next generation of forest green by summer’s end.
 
Outside activities are soon to be altered by our annual tempestuous invasion. Yes the early arrivals have landed. While volunteering at the recent Ham Lake Half Marathon, I was driven from my traffic safety duty along the Trail and into my truck, as hordes of the nasty black flies swarmed me. The rain was a much-needed blessing for both humans, and sad to say, those ornery bitin’ bugs. These winged critters surely must be illegal immigrants, get out the nets and cover up!
 
By the way, the Ham Lake runs of last weekend (half marathon and 5K) were a huge success. The third annual event saw a record 189 participants. It was a great day, with terrific organization and plenty of Gunflint Community spirit. Congrats and thanks to all for making it special.
 
Our Gunflint community is on center stage once again this weekend. The third Gunflint Green-up commences Friday and runs through Saturday. Hope to see many of you there, continuing the cultivation of new green along the Trail and enjoying the fun.
 
The first seasonal bear report has come my way. One has been meandering along the south shores of Gunflint Lake for several days now. Making stops at a number of places and crunching some bird feeders, I’m told, it has been rather obstinate about being uninvited.
 
At one stop a resident found it sitting on the home’s entry porch, cleaning out a feeder. A frantic holler by the person inside startled the bear so much that it tumbled over backward onto the ground; I guess it was hilarious. In spite of this acrobatic, it still wasn’t anxious to leave.
 
As both flies and bears add to the renewal of our wilderness experience, a friend in the mid-Trail area advised me that the spirit of northern waters has also come back. First loon sounds of the year have been heard on Poplar Lake. “Happy Days are here again!”
 
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the buzzing, growling and yodeling sounds of the season!


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