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Wildersmith Feb. 10

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The blasé approach of Old Man Winter continues at this end of the Trail. Although seasonally cold, the other character of the season remains abysmal. Another week has passed with no significant moisture. Meanwhile, the old fellow has been traveling to other places in the country and dropping what rightfully belongs on our landscape.

With the season of buds and babies looming not far down the path, border country is running out of time for a build up of snow that will adequately replenish our depleted lake levels. We’d better hope for spring rains to make up for a puny snow time.

Activities particular to this time of year are managing only because of one decent snow, early in the last week of January. Fortunately that fluff occurred just in time to save the day for the longest dog sled race in the lower forty-eight.

The 27th John Beargrease dog sled race survived a frosty trip through our Gunflint territory. The trip to the northern most point in their nearly 400-mile journey, across the west end of Gunflint Lake, had about 20 teams make the midpoint swing.

The turn-around heading back to Duluth provided few observations from a spectator standpoint. For the most part, mushers were spread far apart, and many came through during darkness hours. Nevertheless it was another one of those wonderful, silent, low impact north woods happenings that has become such a part of the Arrowhead genre. Hats off to all the courageous dogs and mushers!

On another canine sled note, if one wants a better opportunity to observe dog teams up close, plan on attending the annual Mush for a Cure.

The third annual fundraiser to assist in national breast cancer research will take off from the waterfront at Gunflint Pines Resort Saturday, March 13. Mark your calendar as this event is fast approaching. Find out more about Mush for a Cure.

Trout catching remains good to excellent depending upon the location and the fisherperson. Cold temps have caught up with the slush issue on most lakes. A week ago, fishing while standing in the slurry slop had anglers a little cranky, but that has improved considerably. Little to none is being reported on Gunflint, with ice thickness here in excess of 20 inches, which is fine for travel, but far less than usual at this time of year. Mr.Winter, you’ve been such a wimp!

The deer that make a daily stop at Wildersmith have been under a “high white tail” alert for the past several days. In fact, the many bucks that hang out have scattered hither and yon, with the only occasional visitors being of the female persuasion, along with a few of last spring’s fawns. Several other folks that I talk to have mentioned the same disappearing acts.

Around here, reason is likely that the Gunflint/Loon Lake wolf pack has been actively stalking the neighborhood. Based on numerous tracks, they have even been so bold as to come down the Wildersmith driveway, perusing around the house. This is a first for our 11years of winter in the wilderness.

I haven’t observed the remains of any nearby kills, nor have I seen any overhead reconnaissance from hungry raptors circling a newly opened fast food site. So I’m guessing that most of the usual venison visitors have been both light and fast on their feet, and also lucky.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor some fun in this dwindling winter! Happy Valentine’s Day!