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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 8, 2019

Wildersmith (375x500).jpg
Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       March 8, 2019    

What a difference a week can make. Early March in the Gunflint wild was calm compared to a couple weekends ago? There’s been no new snow in this neighborhood, as if we needed more, but this weeks’ report begins with the temperature cold as if it were January.                                                                                                                                                                    
So with month three being meteorologically touted as the first of the spring season, the deep white on the landscape and mercury buried below zero doesn’t match up in this part of the world.                                                                                                                                                                               
Speaking more of March character, this is the month of the Ojibwe, “crust on the snow full moon.” And crusty it is, since the white stuff was packed nearly hard as concrete during the recent blizzard.                                                                                                                                                                          
In trekking around the neighborhood, I found it not supportive enough (without snowshoes) to keep me from sinking to the waist in most places. While struggling to free myself for the next step however, I had plenty of time to examine faint tracks of small to medium size animal prints easily staying top side of the crystal surface. I’m guessing this will be a tough winter for white tails and others heavy enough to sink more than belly deep in the stuff of which winters are known.                                                                                                                                                                             
Nevertheless, as we Americans push the issue on most everything, spring is being advanced in spite of our atmospheric conditions with the onset of daylight savings time. Yep, it’s that time of year when we spring the clock ahead. It seems like we just fell back into the state of being real. Where have all the minutes, days and months gone?                                                                                       

First suggested by Ben Franklin in 1784 as a joke, this frivolous act of playing games with the sun happens early this coming Sunday morning, so don’t forget to adjust those clocks before retiring Saturday evening.                                                                                                                                 

Before we turn the clock ahead though, one can get in some great cross country skiing in real time by heading up to Gunflint Lodge tonight and Saturday for some candlelight swooshing on these marvelous trails. Beginning at 4:00 pm, it should be beautiful as the sun gives way to darkness over the quiet white landscape.                                                                                      

With some residents suffering from cabin fever during these “dog days of winter”, there’s a chance to get out for a little fun and maybe some sun, in the mid-trail area come Sunday. Appropriately named, the “dog days” are being celebrated with “man’s best friend” on Poplar Lake at Trail Center Lodge.

There’ll be three classes of mushing derbies with four dog (3.5 miles), six dog (12 miles) and eight dog (23 miles) courses, open for all levels of musher skill. These begin at 11:00 am with the eight dog class. Registration is from 8:00 to 10:00.                                                                                                                                            

Then at 2:00 pm, skijoring races will commence. There will be both two and five mile courses with a maximum of two dogs per skier, both open to skate skiing or classic. Skijoring registration runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.                                                                                                        
The days’ activities are very kid and spectator friendly, and as always, the extraordinary mid-trail organizer/hostess, Sarah Hamilton will have a bonfire, hot dogs, marsh-mellows, s’mores, cocoa and maple snow cones, adding to the festivities.                                                                                                           

All the Gunflint Community is invited out to enjoy the fun however organizers ask that pets be left at home unless they are competitors.                                                                                                                                                       

Reflecting on last Saturdays’ trout fishing derby, the event on West Bearskin Lake was a big success once again with several trout pulled through the ice. The winning catch was somewhere over eleven pounds. With the top three places all exceeding ten pounds. Seventy-five entered the competition, and it was a fun day under sunny skies in spite of a biting cold wind. Many thanks to the Ridge Riders Snow Mobile Club for their organization and to those who plowed out lake ice roads for access.                                                                                                                      

On a closing note, members both old and new stepped up since last we met to complete another successful funding drive. The little Community Radio station that could did it again with great support from our dedicated listeners.                                                                                                            
The Board of Directors, hardworking staff and ever present volunteers are sincerely grateful for the never-ending love extended during these important sustaining events. The “Wide World WTIP” goal was met, hurrah, and kudos to all involved!                                                                                                                                                                 

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as we celebrate the fifth consecutive month of winter ambiance!