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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - August 30

Chik-Wauk Bay (Gunflint Trail Historical Society)
Chik-Wauk Bay (Gunflint Trail Historical Society)

Month nine commences this weekend under the expectant spell of a “new moon. His lunar highness, better known as the Ojibwe, “wild rice moon” sets us off into the next 30 day segment of Indian summer.

I’m never ceased to be amazed at the beauty of autumn moons, so this new celestial cycle, over the northern landscape, will be one of scintillating promise.           
It’s going to be September alright. The longer days are dwindling fast, lake waters are chilling and morning air has a cool whisper of freshness we’ve not had since April. The days of this past week have been superbly comfortable, even with inclusion of a couple timely showers to keep wildfire danger in check.                                                                                                                             
The journey toward the Equinox along this spectacular Gunflint Trail has gained added momentum as we bid August farewell. Subtle changes have been noted with increased aspen and birch tree gold, while an occasional scarlet blush on a few maples of the wildland forest confirms what’s going on.                                                                                                                                                          
At more earthly levels, trailside grasses are calling it a growing season in several tones of flaxen while rosehips are nearing total crimson in anticipation of the first crystal morning to complete their run in the sun. As one treks through backcountry either on foot or by vehicle, all of these fall rituals are inspiring beyond explanation.     
Meanwhile critters of the rodent variety are scurrying around the yard collecting a sundry of wild edibles for their winter cache. While I’ve not observed any larger members of the “wild neighborhood”, others are reporting Brunos and moose sightings at select locations.      
A friend reported concern for a really young loon he came upon while drowning some finny bait recently. It seems the chick was barely out of the fuzzy stage and parents were not to be seen. Though it appeared healthy, worry would be that this one will not be physically ready to join other young’uns when it’s time to head south. Being an apparent late season hatching, hope is time and temperate conditions will give it a chance.   
It’s a time where we northwoods humans are taking a more serious look at the calendar. “Getting ready for winter” has more intense overtones as allowances for all the chores are beginning to narrow. For some it’s getting the dock in and boat put away and firewood stacked, while for others it’s packing up for the snowbird trip. Ah, so many things to do!                                                                                                                                                                    

While times of snow and cold seem in the distance, the clock is counting down as we become engulfed in the colorful days ahead.         
A final reminder, its pie and ice cream time at Chik-Wauk. The GTHS invites all in the territory to come up and celebrate the Labor Day weekend with a little sweetness on Sunday, September 1st, between 11:00 and 4:00. A donation of $5.00 per serving, along with a beverage is suggested for this society
If listeners have been in attendance before, remember parking is difficult, so carpool if you’re able. Shuttle service will be available from the Sag Lake Landing. Be assured there will be no shortage of Trail made desserts and lively atmosphere.  
The staff at Chik-Wauk reminds visitors of two upcoming Nature Center programs in September. Please note a change in the schedule for these programs as they are switching to Saturday instead of Sunday.

So on Saturday, the 14th, Peg Robertson will be presenting a program on “Bats,” and on Saturday, the 21st, Chel Anderson will be talking about “Beavers and their place in the Ecosystem.” Mark your calendars for these special events.                                                                                                    
A final great naturalist program is on tap for the MEA weekend in October. More details will be forthcoming as that time nears.        
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with the essence of season three, flavoring border country!