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Wildersmith On The Gunflint July 15, 2009

Wildersmith_20090717.mp35.23 MB

Our rite of summer extends, but we experienced a touch of fall for a few days last weekend. A few spots along the Gunflint Lake south shore had Sunday morning low temperatures in the high 30s; suddenly it was sweatshirt time.

To make conditions feel even more autumnal, several days of thrashing northwest winds created liquid artistry on area lakes. The raging waves reminded me of conditions to come in November; surely this can’t be mid-July.
Along the Wildersmith shore last Sunday, things were rollin’… rollin’… rollin’ on the Gunflint. Rollers rose and fell in eccentric tempo, never in duplication, before concluding their white-capped choreography with a crashing bow onto the granite banks. Ebbs on the silvery blue water were mesmerizing. What a sight on a splendid northland day.

Although probably not related to the cool times of late, I have observed that some northern flowers are already in the ritual of staging seed production for spring of ’10. Life is fleeting for many of our warm season blossoms as wild roses and lupines along the Mile O’ Pine are showing hips and pods with the promise of another beautiful generation.
Spain has the running of the bulls this time of year, while those of us in the white pine forest have the annual falling of new growth bud husks. The gusty winds last weekend separated zillions of bud protectors from their long, soft needled fortresses, sending them fluttering to the ground like a mid-summer night’s dream of a January blizzard.
A curious black visitor made a stop next door one day last week seeking some nourishment from my neighbors’ bird/squirrel feeders. After some discouraging conversation from the cabin occupants, the monster bear shuffled off, growling either from the tummy or the vocal chords. It has not made a daytime visit since.
For several nights prior to the bear’s call, our darkness was pierced with a choral interlude of fox yapping. Each evening the harmonizing, in barking minor, went on for what seemed like an eternity, as family and friends were apparently keeping track of one another.
The barking has quieted over the past couple days, but now I find that one of the rascals has taken up residence in the culvert under my driveway. There has been considerable excavation at each end, creating both a front and a back entry. So the neighborhood may be in for more woofing if relatives happen by once again.
The woods have quieted a great deal from the early morning chirping that normally welcomes each new day. I have a sense that many avians may be in family ways, so chores of cherub caring may be the order in the woods right now.
The yearlong celebration of the 100th birthday of the Superior National Forest and Quetico Provincial Park found its way into Saganaga Bay at the Chik Wauk Museum site this past Monday. Paddlers following centuries-old voyageur routes through the north country’s heart of the continent made a scheduled stop on the little sand beach in their ‘Canoe the Heart’ quest.
Nearly 150 people were on hand to greet the stout hearts of early American goods movement. They started their symbolic 350-mile trip in Atikokan, Ontario and will terminate in Thunder Bay via stops in Grand Marais and Grand Portage. The site was a beehive of activity with wilderness lectures, games, music and a fine shore lunch.
On a final note, the Cook County Coalition of Lake Associations, in partnership with other resource management agencies, reminds folks of the invasive species alert for Zebra Mussels (the bivalve variety). The nasty aquatic creatures have been discovered in a northeast Minnesota lake, and there is no desire to enable their spread to other lakes by transporting them on boat hulls, motors, anchors, trailers, live wells and other such equipment.
Cooperation among watercraft users is requested. Cleaning your craft after leaving one body and before placing it in another is the only answer. Everyone must pitch in to keep control of this lake water peril. It’s like the old Smokey Bear warning: Only YOU can prevent this menacing situation from spreading.