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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


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Photo credit Roxanne Distad

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 12, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 12, 2018   
 

Since our last visit on the radio, atmospheric conditions have not changed much. Dreary would be the best descriptor of the past several days.     
                                                                                
With the sun on sabbatical, about the only thing to brighten the daytime hours have been our on-going color extravaganza. Even at that, the autumnal sonata has been tempered somewhat as a couple days of pre-winter snippets reminded us of what life can be like at forty-eight degrees north. 
                                                                                                                                                   
One night found the gales of November battering the county a few weeks early. Then twenty-four hours later, the first measurable snow laid a luster of purity on the northern landscape.                                                                                                                                                                            
Folks in the upper Trail dodged a bullet in regard to the howling wind storm. While the village and both directions along the Superior Shore were bashed with downed trees and massive power outages, damage out this way was minor in comparison. Nevertheless, branches were down and intermittent flickers in our power service kept us border country folks on edge for several hours. The gusts in the pines along the Gunflint Lake shore were convincing enough to send the Smith’s to the lower level for a time. Luckily, the big whites around here stood firm, green tops up.                                                                                                                                                             
Almost in a case of not to be out-done, another climactic character stepped up during the next diurnal segment. Although the weather service gave hints of such, few would have bet the forecast of white would occur. This time the prediction was right.                                                                          

Last Friday morning broke with a fresh coating of white with the flakes still coming down in this neighborhood. When all was said and done, a few hours later, two plus inches of the wet heavy stuff were recorded.                                                                                                                                                            

I have no reports from the mid-Trail snow zone, but I suspect folks residing in this area got even more, as they usually do. Friends reported the driving conditions on the Trail were treacherous as they headed into civilization, nearly prompting a turn-around to cancel their trip.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Some of the fall tokens have called it a year, but in spite of the early season weather oddities, the fall leaf spectacular has shown some true grit. A trip along the backcountry blacktop remains simply stunning, with a blur of birch and aspen gold flanking the Trail for most of the fifty-seven-mile journey.                                                                                                                                                                                     
My plans for getting some winter chores done during this mayhem were set aside temporarily as walks, steps and the deck had to be shoveled. How about that for October 5th? Although it’s been nothing to write home about, a slight warming has occurred since, and the white is gone.                                                                                                                                                               

With that, I’m back at the “getting ready for winter” list. Tasks are getting crossed off slowly. The most noteworthy jobs are finished, that being the boat and dock, and now the winterizing of the Wildfire Sprinkler Systems this past weekend. This being said, I was back into the lake water for the second consecutive weekend, leaky waders and all, burr! So now if the “great spirit of the north” wants to get serious about ice making, he can have at it!                                    

Speaking more of things fall, the last membership drive of the year for “the voice of the north,” is but days away. By this time next week, WTIP will be in the middle of their autumn fundraising endeavor.                                                                                                                                                                       

As in every audience canvassing and new member recruitment, this time remains as critical as the last in order to stay on budget for the year, and continue providing the quality programming radio listeners and cyberspace users have come to expect.                                                                                                  
The theme for this dollar pursuit is all about Sssssports!  Join the team and be a WTIP “All-Star.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Wildersmith guy hopes all will be ready to open those wallets and purses as the excitement of another WTIP fund drive gets underway this coming Wednesday, October 17th. It’s easy as a click on the keyboard (WTIP.org.), or toll-free telephone call (at 1-800-473-9847).                                                       

On a final note, with “Moose Madness” just a week away, it’s appropriate to announce one of the iconic “twig eaters” has been making some marketing appearances up the Trail. I last observed the big guy in the wetland near the road to the old Blankenberg pit. Others have seen him too and are raving about the big rack hanging overhead.                                                                                        

It would seem a good time to get a little more Trail “leaf peeping “in, make a stop at the Chik-Wauk Campus and maybe by chance, catch a glimpse of this wonder of the woods.  I’m betting your chances are better at seeing Mr. Moose than they are at winning the current monster Powerball!                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, whether cloudy or clear!
 

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Snow & Needles (Eli Sagor/Flickr)

North Woods Naturalist: Hint of winter

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about the first hints of winter that we've seen on the North Shore in the past week in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 5, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 5, 2018
 
Here’s October! She banged at the door. We let her in, and there’s no turning back. It seems almost unimaginable, but the Universe is nearly one week into the final quarter of ’18.                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Also unthinkable was waking up to white on the ground in the Wildersmith neighborhood and other places in the upper Gunflint on the last Saturday of September.   Although such a winter preview is not totally unheard of, the dusting to a half inch in places was a surprise.  Most snow melted by mid-day, in concert with the warm earth and peeks of sunshine.  Intermittent sunshine through-out the day alternated with banks of clouds and rainy-snow showers on the heels of gusty “Nor westers”, so conditions didn’t feel very autumn like.                                                               

In spite of the day remaining quite raw, escapades of another north woods spectacle were shared by friends over on Hungry Jack Lake. Rainbow after rainbow crossed the lake through countless squalls as the spirit of “Sol” beamed through the elements. The color marvel crowned the heavens in awesome spectrum until setting in the southwestern sky.                                                                                                             

Needless to say, for listener/readers outside the territory, as one would expect, it’s been cold. The Smiths’ have had a fire in the wood burning over half a dozen times prior to the calendar turning over. This is unprecedented during our nineteen years in border country.                                                     

The good news is our dock and boat have been brought ashore and put to bed. It wasn’t an easy chore as air temps colder than the lake water, and rough seas made the task not too pleasant. We Smiths’ were blessed to have a good friend, and his buddies from Metropolis, who braved the elements to help get the job done. By the way, the water temp, at the time was in the low to mid-fifties, so there was a definite incentive to get in and get the equipment out.     

More glad tidings come from the beautiful Mile O Pine as the sugar maple spectacular is lighting up our lives. In spite of not having the billions of such trees found in the highlands above Lake Superior, we nevertheless cherish the gold to scarlet radiance afforded us. This years’ short-lived natural majesty seems to be the best ever. However, I’ve probably said this before.                                                                                                                                                                                               
The crimson of the forest in this neighborhood is not limited to maple tokens. A few days ago, my red fox friend stopped in for a visit once again. It had not been around for a couple weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                     

The cool to cold conditions have brought on remarkable changes in the foxy critters’ apparel. Boy, has it ever bulked up with the winter coat while the tail is fluffy and wide as its body. Overall, it looked like it had just come perfectly groomed from a salon, nothing like the mussed, scrawny fellow of a few short months ago.                                                                                                                                     

This visit was more than the usual grab and go scene. On this stop-over, it spent all morning with me, following like a puppy dog begging for a treat. When I was busy, and not paying it attention, the handsome red dude would lie down and wait until I moved on.                                                                                                                                  

On a couple of occasions, it would come to my wood shop door and give me a forlorn look, as if to say, don’t you see me. These moments were a special up-close experience as I looked into its penetrating amber eyes. The look in those golden spheres was piercing and yet, a soul-stirring reverent sense of beauty.                                                                                                                                                           
I’m uncertain if we have adopted each other permanently, but for several hours, the company of man and beast was unexplainably curious and trusting.                                                                                                                                  

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, amongst the charm of “Mother Natures’ favors.
 

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Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - William Kent Kruger

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury.
Lin reviews William Kent Krueger's newest book "Desolation Mountain".

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Birch Grove Elementary - School News - October 3, 2018

School News from Birch Grove Elementary with Whitney, Atlas, and Niranjan.
October 3, 2018

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Walking School Bus - Photo courtesy of Moving Matters.JPG

The six "Es" of Safe Routes to School

Each month the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic offers infomation on a timely "Topic of the Month." This month the topic is "Safe Routes to School" and the actions taken to make Grand Marais a safer walking area. 

Hartley Acero of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic talks about the six "Es" that make a community safer in which to walk. Acero explains they are: engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement, equity and evaluation. 

One of the educational efforts that has taken place in the past is the "Walking School Bus," in which students, parents, school officials, members of law enforcement and the general public walk together to school. It's meant to determine the safest routes for walkers and to encourage children and parents to make that walk part of their everyday routine. The next "Walking School Bus" event will be Wednesday, October 10. 

WTIP's Gary Latz talks with Hartley to learn more. 

 

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Swans swimming in Temperance River

North Woods Naturalist: Swans and Cranes

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about Swans and Cranes in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.
 

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Foxfire (Photo by Ylem via wikimedia)

North Woods Naturalist: Foxfire

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about foxfire in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 21, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith        September 21, 2018   
 
The Wildersmith two are back in border country. A quick run south to Iowa for a visit with kids and grandsons was great. However, the atmospheric conditions were not so welcoming.                                                                                                                                                       
 
Although the hot and sticky was not so irritable for Iowans by Iowa standards, it was less than comforting for yours truly. The return to the Gunflint raised a renewed appreciation for the “cool” north.                                                                                                                                                                   
 
In fact, as I key this new scoop, temps in the mid-fifties and a steady northwest breeze have been beckoning a north woods greeting to the second Equinox of 2018.  After several weeks of autumnal temptations, it’s finally here, the second most beautiful time of the year! You all know my favorite!                                                                                                                                                               
 
The joys of this season are upon us along the Scenic Byway. Our “technicolor” bonanza is exploding as the spectrum of gold to scarlet and then hues of brown signals an end to summer, heading us toward the sparkle of a crystal time.                                                                                                                                  
 
Some flakes of fall are already trickling down. Of particular note, venerable white pine needles of a year ago are cascading in blizzard-like fashion blanketing the forest floor. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings so to speak, or better yet, in the treetops, cinnamon scales of western white cedars are soon to be raining down.  Our tawny new carpeting is but one of uncountable annual treasures of a year coming to an end and adding yet another layer to the accumulated duff from thousands of years ago.                                                                                                                     
 
The Tsunami of usual “Leaf Peepers” should not delay getting up this way. Some deciduous members of the forest are now in the shedding mood. An example of such and another joy for the Smith’s is the wondrous way falling leaves take their place along the Mile O Pine and other backwoods arteries.                                                                                                                                                                               
 
Such a celebration is underway and was somewhat surprising upon our return from the southern trip. It’s not quite a “yellow brick road”, but conjures up thoughts of such with windrows of golden leaflets neatly swooshed into formation by a few passing vehicles.                                       
 
If this bounty of beauty wasn’t enough, a timely inch of rain has dampened the earth, and along with its congregate collection of downed leaflets stirred our sense of smell with the initial essence of the harvest season. Oh, if we could only bottle up this magic aroma.                                                                                                                                         
 
And, as if to compliment this refuge of charm, the next couple days will see heavenly beams shining down with the full Ojibwe “wild rice” moon (Manoominike-Giizis). Furthermore, other happenings in the heavens find winged folk of all varieties in varying stages of migration. Most notable are wedges of Canadian Honkers leading the way southward. Back down on earth, the Gunflint Trail snowbirds are taking flight as well.                                                                                                                                                                                     
 
In a bit of people news, an announcement from the Chik-Wauk Campus comes regarding the cancelation of this weeks’ (Saturday) program in the Nature Center. Scheduling complications mean the presentation on “Bats” as presented by Peg Robertsen cannot be held and will have to be re-scheduled for next summer. The Chik-Wauk staff regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.                                                                                                                                                   
 
In closing, the words of photographer, Jacques Dupont come to mind. “We see so many ugly things in the world, but the splendor of nature is a superb counterbalance.” The Gunflint North has it all! Don’t miss seeing her in full-color dress.                                                                                                   
 
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, truly, a sanctuary of abundant wonders.                                                

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Superior National Forest Update - September 21, 2018

National Forest Update – September 20, 2018.
 
Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant with the Superior National Forest, and I’m here with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that may affect your visit to the Superior.  Fall continues to progress, and after some rain, we should have a few days of perfect fall weather.
 
A lot happens in the fall, including the end of our fee season at our fee campgrounds.  With the end of fees comes the end of water and garbage service at campgrounds.  Divide, McDougal, and Little Isabella River Campgrounds will end the fee season at the end of the month, with the rest ending the following week.  You are still welcome to camp at the campgrounds after fee season, but you’ll need to pack out your garbage and be sure to bring water with you.  Certain campgrounds may have water available from concessionaire offices after campground water systems are put to bed for the winter, but for most, the arrival of possible frost means we have to shut the water off.
 
There’s also some final work being done on roadways before things freeze up.  On the 600 Road, a favorite for leaf peepers in the fall, work is being done to clear out ditches so they can handle meltwater in the spring.  Some heavy equipment, such as a backhoe and dump trucks, will be periodically blocking the roadway, mostly between the Temperance River Road and the Cramer Road.  If you encounter them, just wait until they pull to the side to let you through.  The 600 Road is also having potholes filled, and you’ll notice that the Honeymoon Trail and Temperance River Road are also freshly graded for the fall season.
 
Fall burning has also begun.  Our fire crew will be burning piles as weather allows during the next month or so.  This may create smoke in areas where burning is going on.  If you see a smoke plume, it is always a good idea to report it and we will be able to tell if it is just from some of our activity.  If you are in an area where burning is happening, watch for trucks and personnel on the roadways, and respect any temporary road closures.
 
There’s some log hauling happening out there.  In the Gunflint area, expect trucks on Pike Lake Road, Cook County 7, the Caribou Trail, and    Hall Road in Lutsen.  On the Tofte end, Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Trappers Lake Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, and the Grade are included.  While log trucks are big, don’t forget that during this time of year, you may encounter slow-moving leaf watchers almost anywhere on the Forest.  It’s best to just assume there will be oncoming traffic around corners and over hills.
 
There are hunters out there too, and everyone, not just hunters, should start to wear orange when they’re out in the woods.  We have several hunter walking areas designed for grouse and small game which are used as hiking trails as well.  This time of year though, it is best to leave these trail systems to the people who are hunting.
 
Rain over the next few days might batter the trees, but most of the leaves are still pretty solidly attached, so we expect the peak of fall color to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks.  Sunny days help develop leaf color, along with cool nights, and that’s what should be moving in after the rain clouds leave.  Overall, this seems to be shaping up to be a great fall color season, but it doesn’t last long.
 
That means that whether you are out there for fall color, or hunting, or both – it’s a good time to get out into the Forest.
 
 Have a great time out there, and until next time, this is Jake Todd with the National Forest Update. 
 

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