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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 13, 2018

Moose cow and twins on the Gunflint - Photo by Colin Smith
Moose cow and twins on the Gunflint - Photo by Colin Smith

A few days reprieve from summer misery was punctuated by another sticky one last Saturday. Then intense rain sent the last of Independence Day visitors scurrying out of the woods, back to metropolis on Sunday. So it’s damp and somewhat quiet as I begin this week’s Gunflint Scoop.                                                                                                                                                     
The frenzy of summer activities starts peaking next week. A good part of this report is about event reminders for both residents and listening visitors heading this way. A double feature kicks-off this next Wednesday, the 18th.                                                                                                                                                  
The 41st floating of the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races hits the waterfront at Gunflint Lodge beginning at 4:30 pm with food service. Paddling fun will run from 6:00 until about 8:30, concluding with the drawing for the grand prize, a kayak.  
Then during the same Canoe extravaganza, our North Shore air waves’ sensation will be embarking on their next 20 years of community radio, with the WTIP summer membership drive, direct from the shores of Gunflint Lake.
Back in broadcast studios on Thursday, this important event will conclude at noon on Tuesday, July 24.   
Proceeds from both of these fundraising endeavors go to support great community causes. Everyone’s participation is vital!      
A week from this Saturday, on July 21, a week of regional invasive plant education, investigation and eradication begins up at the Chik-Wauk Nature Center. Collaborative efforts between the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, the Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature Center and Cook County Invasive professionals, will start with classroom presentations at 10:00 a.m

This phase will be followed by outdoor investigative/ identification hikes around the Chik-Wauk campus extending through the afternoon. All are welcome, with no pre-registration necessary.                                                                                     
On Sunday, July 22, Chik-Wauk Nature Center programming continues with David Battistel presenting more research on The Man Behind the Mystery, John Paulson, and saga surrounding the rise and fall of the historic Paulson Iron Mine. The event starts at 2:00 p.m.    
Whether one is a first time Trail visitor or an age-old resident, there is nothing more exciting than getting to see a moose. In fact thousands come out his way just for such an experience, only to find the critters just don’t show up for humans on cue. This in mind, one has to be in the right place at the right time.  
As many moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas reside out this way, little does more to bond wilderness family memories than hitting the moose-sighting lottery.    This was the case at Wildersmith last weekend as our grandson and his gal friend happened upon a momma moose and her twin kids up toward end of the Trail.

In the excitement, digital confirmation shows the better part of the iconic threesome with my column on the web at     
In a startling, but amusing bear encounter, a Trail gal reports she recently bumped into a bear while June and blueberry picking. Surprised to say the least, the lady found the bear was also shocked at her sudden presence and not real happy with the blues picking interruption.   
Now everyone knows you’re not likely to out run a bear. In a state of panic however, she turned and took off running, as did the bear. During the escape mode madness, and falling down once, she eventually felt compelled to glance around to see if Bruno was nipping at her heels. Fate favored her, gasping from fear and near oxygen debt, it was discovered, she had easily out distanced the ebony critter.      
Hmmm… A miracle, yes! Come to find out, in a rather amusing conclusion to this bear tale, while she ran down the hill, the bear went in an opposite direction up a hill. One can never be assured a bear or for that matter, any wild predator will run the opposite direction. This was her lucky day!

Perhaps she should have headed in to Grand Marais and bought a Powerball ticket.                                                                                                                                                                 
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with one Gunflint chapter after another, revealing unexpected mysteries of our natural world.