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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 2

Photo by vitalishe
Photo by vitalishe

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      August 2, 2019    
August has slipped in the back door just when folks were getting accustomed to July. While some bemoan month eight as summer at its end, there are many days left on the summer calendar. With wild babies yet to grow and flowers still to bloom, the Gunflint territory can look forward to warm season opportunities for a few more weeks.                                               

Notwithstanding all this summertime talk, I’ve detected a snippet of fall in a few places along back country roads. Yes, Dogbane is signaling of change to come with its ground level golden hue. Along with fireweed, these perennial north woods floras seem to always be the first to spill the news. Added to this reveal, a few days ago brisk northwesters and high temps barely into the sixties confirmed my autumnal disclosures with a cool air freshness requiring the closure of windows at Wildersmith.                                                                                                                                 

Previous to our brief cool down, the upper Trail had been privy to splendid atmospheric conditions. With about an even split between days of  sun and clouds, temps have been tolerable, while a couple of thunder boomers sandwiched in, coughed up nearly an inch and one half in the Wildersmith neighborhood and likely more in the elevated mid-Trail areas.                                                                                                                                               
A couple of lightning strikes caused some angst for fire and emergency crews. One such set off a small blaze over near Daniels Lake and another struck near a campsite of Girl Scouts in the BWCA. In both situations, after affects resulted in the fire being controlled by FS crews while Search and Rescue folks found the scouts to be unharmed.                                                              

As August is the month of the Ojibwe, “blueberry moon”, reports tell me the harvest of the blue-purple gems is not too prolific in several secret patches. Guess, a lot of bushes just have no fruit, and what berries being found are somewhat small. Not knowing what’s to blame, we’ll tack it on the black fly pollinators and the “rain gods,” both of which did not fulfill their usual responsibility. Nevertheless, pickers are still out along the Trail in the bush gathering what they can.                                                                                                                                                                    

From what I can see, June berries, and wild raspberries look to be sparse as well. However, it appears there will be a bumper crop of mountain ash and thimble berries both of which will be welcomed by the bears.                                                                                                                       

Speaking of harvests in another aspect, the green count for Canoe Races “43” has been tallied. This years’ contribution to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department was over $22,000. Adding a little race trivia, over 120 racers participated and just fewer than 400 people were served in the food tent. A job well done by all!                                                                                 

With the paddling races into the history books, attention points to the next Trail event. Wednesday, the 7th is the big day in mid-Trail neighborhood. Activity begins at the mid-day hour with the flea market, Gunflint’s version of “American Pickers.” At the same time, artisan creations will be on sale in the boutique, and this is followed by the, always fun, live auction. The afternoon concludes with the quilt raffle drawing. All County and Trail residents and visitors are invited, it’s always a blast!                                                                                                                                                                                

Excitement in the mid-Trail area will have barely settled down, as eleven days later, on the 18th, the forest will break out in an afternoon of music, with the Gunflint Woods, Winds, Strings and a Little Jazz. Many talented area performers, both returning and new, will strike the first notes at 4:00 pm in Fire Hall #1.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Seating is limited to one hundred fifty, and reservations go fast, so get on the phone to Patsy Coleman @ 313-673-6202 ASAP. Proceeds from both of the above mentioned events go to the GTVFD after expenses.                                                                                                                                             
Last week I mentioned the increased hummingbird activity around Wildersmith. In the days since, the chase for nectar has broken into all out warfare. The combative little gals/guys are in non-stop airborne combat with aerial acrobatics probably unheard of by even the most skilled USAF flyers.                                                                                                                                                                                 

When a stop at the sweetness bottle does occur, the pause is for scarcely a couple seconds. It’s a wonder they can even get a gulp before being driven off. In any event, it’s made for a wild air show, daybreak to darkness.                                                                                                                     

In closing, mark your calendars for August 16 and/or 17. The GTHS in partnership with the University of Minnesota Duluth is bringing the Dark Sky Caravan up to end of the Trail once again. Come and celebrate a rising of the “blueberry moon” and the fiftieth anniversary of landing on the moon. More details next week.                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as our summer song leads into the final stanza.