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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - June 28

Wildersmith_Photo by Fran Smith
Wildersmith_Photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint      by     Fred Smith
June 28, 2019  
June has been in a tail spin, winding down to conclusion as the first full week of summer is into the books.                                                                                                                                    

Welcoming July, the universe is within days of reaching the half way point in the year nineteen. It would seem we need not be reminded, but America celebrates its two hundred forty-third birthday before we meet again on the radio. Hopefully, all citizens can come around for at least one day of peace and togetherness!                                                                                                

Speaking further of July 4th Gunflint Trail residents will always remember this day of infamous weather conduct across the territory. Many are already reflecting the day twenty years ago when the evil “derecho” changed the forest and lives for decades, if not forever.      While “Mother Nature” is hard at work in regeneration, folks who endured the terror will never forget the day several hundred thousand acres of forest were flattened beyond belief. We cannot celebrate the event, but cherish the thought there were no fatalities in spite of many injuries. Celebration is in order however, as we remember and give thanks for the hundreds of acts of heroism during this tragic time in Gunflint History.                                                          

Times of reverence and remembering can be shared at Chik-Wauk over the next couple weeks by visiting the Nature Center where many residents have preserved memories of the “Blowdown.”  In addition, there will be video reflections documenting the aftermath.                                                                                                                                                                                       

In the interest of the Gunflint Community Spirit, it would be nice to take a moment in the early afternoon of July 4th to commemorate the day a forest story was rewritten.                                               

Speaking of the forest in another vane, June has not been too kind to the upper Trail in terms of precipitation allotments. Feeder streams have slowed to a trickle and lake levels have been dropping.                                                                                                                                                                                 
The landscape was getting pretty dry until the heavens finally opened up with a timely dose last Sunday. It was a billion dollar rain in terms of tempering wild fire danger, and in this neighborhood, it happened with no lightning or strong winds to compromise wild land character.                                                                                                                                                               

Meanwhile temps have been just delightful, making for some spectacular days and cool comfy nights. The moose and I can only wish this to continue as our day light minutes start dwindling toward fall.                                                                                                                                          
Many activities are on tap up at the end of the Trail Museum Campus. The Nature Center programming continues Sunday at 2:00 pm. This week features David Hakensen of the MNHS. Mr. Hakensen will present stories about the Hoover’s (Helen & Ade) and their life on Gunflint Lake. Author, Helen is remembered for her books reflecting times in un-organized territory.                                                                                                                                                                     

Further scheduling for the week includes the regular Tuesday “Kids’ Day (11 to 4:00); The USFS Tuesday presentation at 2:00; and of course, the temporary “Blowdown” exhibit mentioned earlier.                                                                                                                                                           
Folks will want to mark their calendar for the next Sunday, July 7 for the grand opening celebration of the Watercraft Exhibit Building at Chik-Wauk from 11:00am to 4:00 pm. Cake, Coffee and Lemonade to be served.                                                                                                                      

Whereas wild neighborhood animal activity has been quiet around Wildersmith, I’m elated to say the black fly assaults have seemingly diminished. However, nipping critter activity is building among the mosquito forces. And to take itching matters to the next level, “no seeums” AKA “punkies” or “midges” will soon add to our itching irritation, even through our screened windows.                                                                                                                                                                        

Another biting bug trivia tells there are up to100 species of “no seeums” in North America. It makes me wonder how entomologists know this, if one cannot “seeum?” How can we be so blessed?                                                                                                                                                           

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as we delight in natural connections!