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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 1, 2019

-30 photo  by espie.jpg
-30 photo by espie.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      February 1, 2019    

Beginning this weeks’ Gunflint report, life in this part of the universe has become frozen in time. Residents are settled into survival mode, concerned most about keeping living quarters warm and hoping the vehicle will start if needed.                                                                                                 

Border country heads into yet another week of bitter cold temperatures. If anything or anybody could be blamed, perhaps it’s yours truly. After bragging a couple weeks ago about this territory not having experienced its annual January polar blast, I must have offended the “great spirit of the north.”                                                                                                                                    

The scribing back then had barely gone out over WTIP radio waves when “Biboon” the “wintertime guy” obviously took serious offense and decided it was time. This in mind, he must have been thinking, “just a moment you old codger”, “I’m not dead, and in fact, I’m very much alive and well, and in charge.”                                                                                                                                                             

Since then, frigidity has brought activity to a near standstill. I haven’t observed an ice anglers’ rig headed up the lake in over a week. And on another note, I’ve heard no recent moaning from the lake ice. Then again I haven’t been outside much to listen.                                                                                                       

On this first day of month two, it is hard to predict what conditions will be like as this scoop comes your way. A good bet is, it might still be on the lower side of zero. If such is the case, the Wildersmith neighborhood will have been below the nothing mark for all but two days during the past two weeks. That’s a lot of frosty hours and countless chunks of firewood!                                            

There is no apparent logic to this next tidbit, but its sure funny the Wildersmith thermometer has been at its lowest reading each of the last two Sunday mornings. Last weekend saw our coldest low so far as the column of mercury was within three degrees of not being observable, at minus 42. It’s likely some of our neighbors up toward the end of the Trail were even colder.                                                                                                                                                                                       

It seems several folks in the territory have been under the weather, and yes we have, in a couple of ways. Not only have we been under this icy outdoor spell, many have been fighting a north woods crud indoors. Not to be excluded, the Smiths’ have been dealing with the annoying cough, congestion and throat conditions too.                                                                                                                                      
Perhaps being self-quarantined by this siege of cold will slow the spread of the yucky stuff as folks haven’t been getting around much. February comes from the Latin word “februa”  which means to cleanse. So the arrival of this second 2019 segment enters at a time when healing from these sick nasties is in big demand.                                                                                                  

Then again, as January ended with no sense of humor, February might share the same character. Whatever happens, the consolation is, after this weekend, there are only 25 days left until things will start getting better and symptoms of “cabin fever” will begin fading away.                                                                                                                                              

The Beargrease Sled dog race came through to the mid-Trail stopover last Monday. Although conditions did not favor mankind, they were great for the canine stars of the event. Without a doubt, there was likely no overheating during the three hundred mile journey as temps hovered in the teens below zero and lower. For results of this historic travel re-enactment, check the Beargrease website. Warming congrats to all that endured!                                                                                                   

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where even days below zero are great, really cool man!