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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 8, 2019

Frosted Trees - Martine Lambrechts.jpg
Frosted Trees - Martine Lambrechts.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      February 8, 2019    
What a difference a week can make! The frosty “Grinch” of the northland loosened its grip since our last WTIP visit.                                                                                                                                               

This part of the world felt almost balmy when the mercury finally crept above the zero-mark on our nations “Super Bowl” weekend. Whereas the relief in this area has not been of the melting variety, it has mellowed enough to get people out and moving again.                                                                                                            

Cold as it has been there is still magic in our land of white. A trip down the Trail last Sunday found the “great cold spirit” had joined hands with “Jack Frost” to fashion yet another regal work of crystal spires. With warm moist, low hanging clouds hanging over the bitter cold landscape, conditions were ripe for “Plein air” artistic elegance on every woodsy appendage.  
Inasmuch as these hoarfrost happenings occur with some regularity, each one can appear classier than the previous observation. This one seemed over the top with not enough descriptors to do it justice. You just had to be here to feel the majesty of mini-cut- glass chards clinging to everything in creation.                                                                                                                                   
The warm-up was timely for the Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club last Saturday. Their annual lodge to lodge “fun run” brought out countless power sledders. So the woods were alive with sudden bursts of howling machines, clouds of blowing snow and pale blue exhaust haze.                                                                                                                                                         

It’s assumed all had a swell time with exception of one rider who was truly blazing a trail. I received a report of a unit catching fire during a sprint through the mid Trail area. Flames were actually coming from under the sled as it sped along until the driver finally realized there was a problem. Upon pulling to a stop somewhere near Trail Center, it became fully engulfed.  Guess it was quite a fire at that point. Fortunately, the rider, escaped uninjured, with only some melting on one leg of his protective sledding suit. Cause of the fire in the 2016 model is unknown.                                                                                                                                                                       

With another note to howl about, I received word on the siting of a large wolf pack in the Lullaby Creek locale. There was no reported interaction between the observer and the 10 count Canid crowd. Unusual about this grouping is the numbers. Wolf researcher information tells us the average pack is around four to six. It makes me wonder how they find enough venison to fill all those bellies.                                                                                                                                                                             

One more quirky Northwoods item was sent my way when a gal found a magnificent bull moose in her path along the Trail. Although it may or may not be noteworthy, this big fellow was still supporting both objects of his regal headdress. One would think these cartilaginous trophies would have been shed weeks ago? Guess the antler spread was colossal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
In recent days, yours truly was surprised by a return visit from my red fox buddy. It’s not that it was AWOL, I was simply not out when it was around here. There were tracks almost every day after a few dustings of new snow, but the two of us were just not in sync to meet. I threw out some poultry morsels occasionally, but apparently, Pine Martens may have beat foxy to the treats. Anyway, the handsome red-head came up on the deck to greet me and do a little begging, and I was thrilled to oblige. What a guy, fox, and feeder!                                                                                                          

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is “super”, and we’re back below zero around this great white way!