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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 24, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith           August 24,  2018   
Heading into August’s final stanza, Miinike Giizis, the Blueberry Moon, will cast its’ splendor on the northland this weekend. Although the season of blue gems has pretty much been picked over by both man and beast or withered on the vine, the memory of such sweetness resonates in this lunar magic.                                                                                                                                                                                       
In a related heavenly note, the stars aligned for some human enchantment up at end of the Trail last weekend. As the Dark Sky Caravan from the University of Minnesota Duluth pulled into the Seagull Community Center on its final stop up the North Shore, the sky blue yonder couldn’t have been more dazzling.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Nearly 250 visitors got a spectacular tour of the nighttime universe in the GeoDome Theater planetarium.  Then they experienced a hands-on opportunity in high-tech telescopic viewing of Mars, Saturn and the like. With help and narrative from the Dark Sky student delegation, the two-night celestial celebration was a twinkling sensation!                                         

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society facilitated the Dark Sky event in cooperation with the Trail Fire Dept., and thanks to the UMD staff along with many volunteers who helped make the event one to excite and remember.                                                                                                                                                 
Since we last met on the radio, atmospheric conditions have been seasonally warm and even sticky on a couple days. While on the moisture side of the weather ledger, precipitation deliveries have avoided this part of the world like we have the plague.                                                                           

While there are no known fires burning in the County, as of this keying exercise, our drought situation should be affirmed in capital letters. Prospects for wildfire in the upper Trail territory are worrisome with no burning bans in place and countless opportunities for bad decisions with fire throughout the wilderness.                                                                                                  

Meanwhile, over sixty fires are burning across the border in Ontario. Such being the case smoky skies have been coming and going for several days over this area. A little rain dancing should not be out of reason.                                                                                                                           
Over the past week, with several trips up to end of the Trail, I notice daily changes as the forest continues slipping into its’ autumn cloak. Birch gold is becoming more pronounced and there are a couple Tamaracks who’ve begun their autumn transition almost a month early. Could this be a sign of something atypical to come?                                                                                                                      

The Smith’s had an unusual threesome of gnawing critters in the yard recently. The munching trifecta was unique because one might never think of them together in close proximity. By closeness, I mean they were within two feet of each other.                                                                                              

Whereas red squirrels seldom tolerate the company of chipmunks in their dining area, the two were seemingly unconcerned they were in joint company with a woodchuck. Yes, a woodchuck, chipmunk, and squirrel “brunching” within a bite of each other. Is this a sign of coming together or what? Maybe we humans could take a lesson from this!                                                                
A note from the Chik-Wauk Nature Center reminds all moose lovers, the big icons are the subject of this Sunday’s programming. This is another in the Chik-Wauk, Sunday summer nature series. Renowned researcher, Dr. Seth Moore, from Grand Portage will be speaking on the plight and progress of moose survival in northeastern Minnesota, beginning at 2:00 pm.                            

A final shout out from the GTHS is given for pie donations to the annual social on September 2nd. Pie orders are still being accepted by event coordinator, Judy Edlund at 388-4400. With the sweet social growing every year, upwards of fifty pies are needed, don’t miss this chance to show off your pastry delights.                                                                                                                       

In addition to the P & IC, the Museum gift shop is holding a sidewalk (driveway sale); author, Cary Griffith, will be signing his book GUNFLINT BURNING; there will even be used cookbooks on sale; the sound of music will again echo up the Sag Lake Corridor and of course, more Gunflint stories to be learned in the Museum. You won’t want to miss it, noon to 4:00 pm, one week from Sunday!   
For WTIP, this Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as Nature’s bountiful beauty begins taking a turn!