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Wildersmith On The Gunflint Jan. 6

Finalcut_Wildersmith_20100107.mp38.86 MB

As the northland is a week into another loop around old Sol,”a belated happy New Year wish comes to one and all from the Wildersmith two.

It is great to be back in the woods after a swell time with the family down in Iowa. My thanks go out to the Nosey K-9 from over on Hungry Jack for filling in while I was away.

Hope all in border country got to see the blue moon that ended the aught decade. Fortunately, we were blessed with a few clear nights on either side of the full lunar night. With reflections on the breast of fresh Christmas snow, the luster of midday splotches between dark forest shadows was stupendous.

The romance of the north woods was never more captivating than one evening around midnight. I looked out to admire the blue iridescence and watched as two white tails peacefully meandered through the yard. Pausing for a time to browse on some shrubs, they looked at the house, and even seemed to know that they were being watched.

While much of the civilized world persists in violence and turmoil, on this night in the wilderness, there surely was peace on earth.

Progressing through week one of 2010, Mother Nature has had the Zamboni going 24/7. Although not unbearably bitter, we did have a couple Wildersmith mornings that hit 30 below and then some. As I key this column, the neighborhood has not been above zero for several days. With ice making continuing to be the order, hard water anglers will be pleased as punch with the trout season opener but days away.

A friend down the road shares with me that the ice depth on Gunflint, about 300 feet out from his place, is near 9 inches. Reports from some of the smaller lakes find that frozen depths are approaching 2 feet.

Icy accents have been resonating from the Gunflint Gal as she shivers in her frozen coat. Stepping outside with frequency to bring in wood for the stove, I seldom miss out on a belch, boom, howl or screech.

It would make one wonder if enlightenments from wilderness spirits aren’t being recited between our Gunflint and her Loon Lake cousin a short distance beyond the southern cliff. In any case, although sometimes startling, the sounds of winter near the lake are as delightful as the charming ripple chorus that happens in warmer times.

The snow depth around here is somewhere near 16 inches. However, the territory has been blanked since the Dec. 25 dropping. Snow activities can be taken full advantage of now, but with a non-winter November, we are behind, and could use some full-service dumping on a weekly basis for the next few months.

I always wonder, when I depart for any period of time during the winter, if my wild pals will be here when I get back. Amazingly, most don’t take long to figure out that the old man in the sheepskin hat is home.

Within hours, some whitetail visitors had come back and bedded down outside our windows. And by next morning, the poultry-poaching martens, along with my gray jay pals, Whiskey and Jack, had also checked in for their daily nutritional supplement. Sure is nice to be wanted!

Last but not least, I am happy to announce that Gunflint Lodge icon, Bruce Kerfoot, is home from the hospital after heart bypass surgery. The delicate procedure took place just before Christmas, and his recovery was difficult at times, as many of those operations can be. Family and friends are thankful that he is back at the lake in a slow mode of recuperation.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor hopes for a great new year.