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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 17, 2019

Fran and Fred Smith_Photo by CJ Heithoff 300x350.jpg
Fran and Fred Smith_Photo by CJ Heithoff 300x350.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      May 17, 2019    

May is spinning out of control as we head into its second half with the company of the Ojibwe, “budding flowers” full moon this weekend.                                                                                                  

Although my declaration of spring doesn’t match up with the calendar, I proclaim its official in the Gunflint Lake neighborhood as of last Saturday, May 11. The lake still had some icy odds and ends jammed up by the wind at the far end to the east. But for all practical purposes, the “old gal” was ninety-nine and nine-tenths percent rippling as of last Saturday evening. Remnant patches of snow remain in shaded area as the only sign there even was a winter. And to further affirm its’ over, my dear wife said it’s time to take down the “let it snow” sign and get lawn chairs onto the deck.                                                                                                                                                                          
Ice out is always a big relief at the Wildersmith place as the crystalline rush to get out of here has often played havoc with my household lake water system. The icy disappearance act was gentler this time in spite of piling up considerable chards against our shore and on top of the pipe encasement. So all that worry is behind us now, and this area may have had its last below freezing night.    
The annual concern about wildfire, as the territory dries out this time of year, prompted action to get sprinkler system pump hoses into the water. With great help from a friend down the road and his cousin, my task is now done. It did require wading into the water, which was thirty-seven degrees at the time. With leaky waders, I assure you it got my attention and made for hasty exodos after several entries, there was no monkeying around!                                                    
A heads-up to all, get those WFS systems ready ASAP while we wait for the tempering green-up of our landscape.                                                                                                                                                                          

It seems some things just fall right in line as the hard water gives way. An example was a mosquito attack on the first full day after. I suppose the surveillance crew of last week got the buzz out, and I became a prime target while finishing up the lakeshore water work last Sunday. Sadly, this bugging issue is only going to get worse over the next few weeks, so I’ll be trading the parka for netting any day.                                                                                                                                                         
I’ve received several reports of Loon returns over the past week. Word from the staff up at Chik-Wauk confirms those residents have come in and are back on the nest too. With a little good luck avoiding raptor predation and black fly terrorism, we’ll be seeing a new generation of chicks from that nest sometime during June week one.                                                                                            
Meanwhile, word comes from the mid-Trail neighborhood telling of bear activity on the upswing. Guess, there’s a big “papa bear” rumbling around and a “momma” with her yearling cubs making candid appearances. Bear scat has been discovered in the Mile O Pine neighborhood but no “Bruno” observations yet, fine with me.                                                                                                                  

Moose are on the loose with a number of sightings, and even more evidence is reported on back country roads of their meanderings. One would suppose calves are coming into the world, and if not here already, they will be soon.                                                                                                                 
The hum of outboard motors broke the silence of lake country as dozens of boats sped by in search of favorite finny hang-outs last weekend. The only person I’ve talked to indicated excitement to get out on the water, but limited catching. The deep waters of Gunflint and other big bodies are just too cold for much walleye action this early. However, I’m confident luck may have been better on lakes shallower and perhaps warmer from earlier ice out.                                                                                

Whereas many anglers find North Lake a catching paradise, I’m told they were stymied to get from Gunflint into North Lake because of the ice jam at Gunflints’ sand beach end. This problem is likely history now, as this scoop airs.                                                                                          

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as springs’ bloom hankers for warmth and rain!