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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 23

Monarch Butterfly Photo by David Clode on Unsplash (1).jpg
Monarch Butterfly Photo by David Clode on Unsplash (1).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     August 23, 2019    
Gunflint territory heads into this last August segment having experienced a mixed bag of weather since our last visit. A touch of summer heat last Saturday was quickly doused with heavy rain and blustery northwesters on Sunday, bringing on an autumn chill. It was cool enough to require moving the vehicle HVAC from AC to heat in less than twenty four hours.                                                                                                                                                           
In regard to the precip’ mentioned, the rain was in the form of a gully washer, this neighborhood had not seen for most of the summer. It amounted to slightly over one and one-third of an inch.  After only puny rainfall efforts over the past few weeks, it was welcomed by the thirsty earth, in spite of doing a washout out job in places on back country roads and driveways.                                                                                                                                                                     
It’s anyone’s guess as to what conditions will be like by the time we roll into September next weekend.                                                                                                                                                           
After a hectic weekend of Trail activities, the area looks to be somewhat calmer this time around. Guess it might be the quiet before the storm as August week four closes down summer ushering in excitement of all things connected with a change of seasons.                           

A wrap up of efforts to support the GTVFD, finds the Canoe Races, the Mid-Trail extravaganza and the Classical Music Concert of last Sunday having amassed over $42,000. What a great Gunflint Community effort, of which all should be proud.                                                                                             

A couple weeks ago, the Labor Day celebration seemed remotely in the distance. In the blink of an eye, it’s time to plan the last summer holiday hurrah.                                                                                           

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society hopes residents and visitors alike will set aside a little time for some end of the Trail hospitality and sweetness. As mentioned in recent Wildersmith columns, the annual Pie & Ice Cream Social is scheduled for September’s first Sunday, of course the 1st  day. Listeners should mark their calendars as the event is always a big day at the Chik-Wauk Museum Campus.                                                                                                                                                                        

Beginning at 11:00 am and running until 4:00, there’ll be live music, a gift shop sale, a book signing, Historical exhibits, re-connecting with friends and neighbors and of course, ice cream and pie. A trip up the Trail for a little pre-fall color will enhance an always special day in the wild country.  Another reminder to Gunflint bakers, Judy Edlund is waiting for your pastry contribution call, 388-4400.                                                                                                                                                                                    

n the meantime, as we herald an end to bug season, a Sunday program at Chik-Walk Nature Center seems appropriate as David Etnier, an acclaimed entomologist will talk about tiny critters in and above our north woods lake waters. The program will begin at 2:00 pm, and will not “bug” you.                                                                                                                                                      

Proclaiming the end of bug season, I do so somewhat with tongue in cheek. Mosquitos have been considerably ornery at sundown as many can attest having been out for the Dark Sky observances last week. Nevertheless, apart from bites and itches, the event was illuminating under the light of the “blueberry moon.” Big thanks to the crew from UMD and GTHS volunteers who made it all possible.                                                                                                                              

With another note on things that fly, activity at the Wildersmith nectar bottle has suddenly diminished to almost zero arrivals in the last week. One would suppose the little hummers might be south bound?                                                                                                                      
Then a fellow asked a recent question in regard to Loons being quite active in late daylight hours at couple locations. I’m thinking the Loon parents might be in the gathering mode, laying out plans for departure in the same direction?  In the case of either avian, it could be another early sign of the season ahead.                                                                                                                                                       
The county’s “biggest blueberry contest” has concluded its seasonal run with confirmation that the harvest was not like last year’s boomer. The blue ribbon winner for 2019 was less than one-half the size/weight of 2018’s champ, though random picker reports still find an occasional prolific patch. Guess it’s kind of like fishing, sometimes you hit ’em and other times you don’t.                                                                                                                                                                                

One berry species having a really good year are those on the Mountain Ash trees. They are just coming on in this neighborhood while I’ve heard report of the Cedar Wax Wings already feasting at other places along the Trail.                                                                                                                        
In closing, excitement was intense last weekend end as more Monarch Butterflies emerged from their cozy chrysalises at the Nature Center. A number of fortunate young people and their parents were on hand to share the opportunity to observe, and then got to tag the orange and black beauties. Most poignant for all in attendance came when they were released into the wild in advance of the ritual migration to Mexico!  A total of seventeen were released with another batch yet to enter the natural world.                                                                                                                                           

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and as the color mosaic intensifies, some, are even better!