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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 21

Bear Photo by Fran Smith.jpg
Bear Photo by Fran Smith.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by      Fred Smith     June 21, 2019    
It’s timely the Gunflint Trail is finally fully engulfed in summer as we celebrate the Solstice. Once green with envy of other places already into the summertime look, the territory has caught up.                                                                                                                                                         

The quiet charm of back country roads is never more evident than passing through one of our green tunnels of trees. Like many other off-trail pathways, the Mile O Pine is regal in the shade of its emerald crowned canopy with occasional spears of sunshine spotting one’s way.         

Recently, I read an interesting article telling of a two decade body of research supporting the idea that trees have a calming effect on humans. Whereas we who reside in the forest already know of these behavioral phenomena, any numbers of places where blighted areas have been “cleaned and greened” are showing remarkable reductions in unacceptable societal activities.                                                                                                                                                                               

So even though the cause and effect would seem rather difficult to grasp, it’s hard to argue trees are not critically important. Beyond lakes and challenging terrain, perhaps trees are the major reason so many folks find this place so enticing; picture a canoe, calm water and trees, a zillion of them!                                                                                                                                                                   

One more note regarding the woods around us, as the leaf out is now complete, I continue fascinated by the candles of new growth on red and white pines. It seems these aspiring buds to branches might add an inch per day, and soon will be upwards of a foot or more further toward the heavens by summers end. Do you suppose one could hear them grow during darkness hours as Ag people claim of their corn on hot summer nights?                                                 

After twenty years of life in border country, I still marvel at those Canadian sunsets over Gunflint Lake, as do many others in the Gunflint Community along their favorite lake shore. However, I must confess being no longer in the mandatory work force, I do not often rise with the birds to greet a new days dawning.                                                                                                                                       
Unusual as it may seem, I happened awake last Sunday morning to see a most spectacular sunrise. It might even parallel the grandeur of those memorable day ending scenes. With just the right convergence of gauzy clouds, “Sol” set the heavens on fire, from its eastern most point of entry as far as the eye could see to the west of Wildersmith.                                                                                                                                                 

I’ve truly never seen anything like it, although such cosmic occurrences have eons of history, I’m just seldom awake to be a part of this brilliance. The flaming redness was short lived as the solar power burned though the celestial mist, but for a few brief minutes I was in awe!                             
I’ve been hearing several reports about a momma moose and her twins up toward end of the Trail. Perhaps there is more than one such iconic threesome up in that neck of the woods, but the Smith’s hadn’t observed any of them until we recently happened upon a traffic stoppage where this big old gal and her young’uns were the reason. Those cocoa brown babies were ever so curious watching momma grab munchies from the swamp bottom. What a photo op for several lucky Trail visitors, “real moose.”                                
There’s a notion black flies might be dwindling a bit, but I can’t see it’s happening around this place. For the record, a little research I found declares there are 150 species of black flies in North America, some of which don’t bite. It’s my guess that most of the biting varieties have been hovering right outside our back door based on the welts on my body, eee gads these things are ornery!                                                                                                                                                   
A reminder from the Chik-Wauk Campus is calling all kids on Tuesday, the 25th. It’s Kids’ day at the Nature Center from 11:000am to 4:00pm for youngsters under 18 and all are welcomed free of charge. Staff will have a variety of hands-on activities all related to the natural world around Chik-Wauk. A parent or guardian must accompany children while engaged at the Nature Center.                                                                                                                                                                          

Also on Tuesday, as are all Tuesdays through August 20, USFS naturalists will present themed topics on the North woods. These events will take place on the Museum front porch from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. All are invited!                                                                                                                                      

A sad note has been received on the passing of one of our Gunflint Trail Neighbors. Ron Hemstad passed from our midst last Saturday evening after begin hospitalized in the Twin Cities with some lingering health issues.                                                                                                                                      

The Hemstad’s have a cabin on the Mile O Pine while one of their daughters, Nancy and husband Dave Seaton are long time owners of Hungry Jack Outfitters. Ron, a career attorney, along with Betty, played a key role in developing the organizational charter of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society. Gunflint Community condolences are extended to Betty, his children, family and many neighborhood friends.                                                                                                                                      

On a happier note, breaking news from the staff at Chik-Wauk, the baby loon and parents have re-appeared, only having moved to another, safer bay, along the Sag Lake corridor to the west. My apologies for blaming the bothersome eagle                                                                                                                      
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in the cool, calming North woods!