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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 10, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith         August 10, 2018    
Gunflint weather, well this is the reason folks live and visit here. It’s been just swell not too hot and not too cool. However, a summer anomaly saw the Wildersmith thermometer nudge down to thirty-nine one night last week, the same time International Falls hit thirty-four. As you might expect, this was fine with yours truly. The moose and I detest sweating!                                                                                                                                                     
The upper Trail was also blessed with another dose of rain, as showers Saturday night and late afternoon Sunday dealt this neighborhood four-tenths of an inch. So this is good as residents remain leery of wildfire potential with so many visitor campfires out in the forest.                                     

Speaking of visitors, vacation times are peaking with outfitter and resort parking lots overflowing along this Scenic Byway. Marking this second weekend of August, summer is dwindling quickly and back to school is but a couple weeks away.                                                                                       

Nevertheless, activity along the Trail is on full speed ahead. With hoopla of the mid-Trail fundraising hoe-down into the books, the “Sound of Music” will echo along the Trail Sunday.  Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz Concert installment number six, begins at 5:00 pm in the Schaap Community Center (Fire Hall # 1). A final call to Patsy Coleman might still secure your ticket reservation at 313-673-6202, but don’t wait too long.                                                                                                   

Many notable local artists;  including Phillis Anderson, Kathy Bolstad, Mike DeBevec, Mike Roth and Michael Ferguson to name but a few, are performing. Also in the talented line-up are the SVEA women’s ensemble, the Borealis Brass Quartet, the Sky Blue Jazz ensemble and the Third Stream ensemble. With these area professionals, the afternoon should be sweet as the pristine forest backdrop! Attendees can plan to “meet & greet” the performers along with refreshments at both intermission and after the concert.                                                                                                                                   

A shout out is given in regard to the Gunflint Trail Historical Society’s August meeting this coming Monday, the 13th. The gathering will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center beginning at 1:30. Following the monthly business report, speakers John Hutchinson along with Gary & Mary Connell will reflect on “Tommy Banks-The Gangster of the Gunflint.” Treats & drink will be served following what should be an intriguing journey back in Gunflint history.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Next up for residents and visitors, the Dark Sky Caravan is on the way along Highway 61 through Cook County, with the last stop being up at end of the Gunflint Trail.                                                               

Celestial gazing will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center/Fire Hall this coming Thursday, August 16 and Friday, the 17th. Free to the public, shows in the GeoDome Mobile Planetarium Theater will be held on the half hour beginning at 5:00 pm each day and continuing until 11:00 pm. Outside telescopes will also be set up by the Dark Sky delegation and members of the Arrowhead Astronomical Society. Please note these dates are correct as an incorrect date was released in the News Herald last week.                                                                                                                    

This heavenly opportunity is being presented by the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium through the University of Minnesota Duluth, in partnership with The Gunflint Trail Historical Society with cooperation from the Trail Fire Department.                                                                                 

Visitors are urged to carpool where possible, wear weather appropriate clothes, include bug spray or nets for out of doors viewing and bring flashlights to find your vehicles during the darkest hours.                                                                                                                                                                     

Come one night or both, rain or shine, don’t miss it. This is a rare north woods experience, likely the darkest place in the lower forty-eight for touring the universe.                                                                

As the crazy days of summer keep slipping away, I can’t help but relish the excitement of migrations to winter confines, stashing of cold season vittles, preparation of warm dens, the spectacle of autumn and of course, the first tinge of crystal in the Byway ditches.                                                                                                                                                            
Adult loons will soon be in the gathering mode and hummingbirds appear to be tanking up in readiness for their airing southward. It’s still summer for a few weeks, but I’m feeling a tempering of things. Ahh the Gunflint, “N” is for north and “N” is for nice!                                                                                                                                                              

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and our natural world is always on the verge.