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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - December 7

Vixen licking her chops - photo by TambakoTheJaguar via Flickr
Vixen licking her chops - photo by TambakoTheJaguar via Flickr

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
December 6, 2019    

Border country, like the rest of the universe, has turned the last page of chapter 2019. And here we are with verse one of December already etched into the annals of time.                                            

The past Gunflint weekend was spent on the edge of our seats with all the hoopla of a white Armageddon. But alas, the far north of Minnesota was spared. It is realistic knowing weather predicting is far from a pure science, but once again, we Gunflinters were tricked with another “cry of wolf” gone bust.                                                                                                                                  

While areas to the south got buried, and even though our skies looked the part, the Wildersmith neighborhood and on up the Trail, received barely a dusting. About the only thing positive about the scenario was neighbors and yours truly didn’t have to activate the snow shovel.                                                                                                                                                                                     

In the meantime, real Gunflint cold is still on sabbatical. Temps have remained relatively mild out this way. Thinking back to last year at this time, Gunflint Lake put on its solid winter coat on December 6 under subzero readings.                                                                                                                                    
Gunflint Lake tried on her first icy fitting last Monday morning when still air and a wave of just below zero dipped down from Canada. But by days end, the frigidity gave way to sun and lite winds, as the skim turned to ripples. This suggests the grand old glacial basin is ready to get it on at the next shivering opportunity.                                                                                                            

When such an “op” might happen could be a ways off as my daily check of temps north to Alaska indicates there is presently no serious polar air in North America. Perhaps we shouldn’t write an epitaph for “old man winter” yet. Maybe the Russians are just holding him hostage in Siberia, and the Gunflint could still be in the picture for a winter weather adventure, or two.                                                                                        
People activity remains quiet in the upper Trail. However, I see that cross country ski Trails are being groomed on what is a fairly shallow base. So swishing through the beautiful forest should be picking up. But power sledding is limited by snow depth and trail connections across questionable lake ice.                                                                                                                                                                    
However, the Trail will come alive late Saturday afternoon in the mid-Trail area with the Holiday gathering at the Schaap Community Center. Gunflint friends and neighbors are invited to come out of the woods for the cheer beginning at 4:00 pm and lasting until 7:00 pm. The GTVFD will be providing everything but the conversation, so don’t miss out on the Gunflint Community spirit!                                                                                                                                                    

Another event reminder finds the Borealis Chorale and Orchestra Christmas Concert continuing its annual North Shore tradition. Performances take place this coming Sunday and Monday evenings at 7:00 pm in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Some of our Gunflint Trail neighbors are included in the cast of more than 100 County residents.                                                                                                                                 
Colonel, the Fox, lit up our Thanksgiving Day with a visit. It seems she is becoming very attached to peaceful and abundant Wildersmith surroundings. Yes, it’s a foxy lady! Guess there’s going to have to be a moniker revision, any suggestions?                                                                                                                   

She was discovered in the AM cuddled up near the woodshop door, shortly before the Smith’s departed for Thanksgiving festivities at the “Congo” Church in the village.  I was well prepared and doled out a few poultry morsels and left-over fries, and she was still gnawing on the goodies as we drove up the driveway.                                                                                                                                                                       

Our late afternoon return found a furry surprise nestled in a snow bank not far from where we had last seen her. We raised her from napping as she uncoiled, gave a big yawn and stood on all fours for a stretch. It’s obvious she had spent most of the day anticipating our return. Not wanting to disappoint after the long wait, the breakfast fare was repeated as an early supper.                                                                                                                                                              
The charm of her beauty and mystery in those piercing gold eyes is a captivating experience. I’m sure there will be more chapters in this “wild neighborhood” saga.                                                                                                                                                                 

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and our natural world can be up-lifting with the simplest of wilderness engagements.