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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 21

Wildersmith Sign Only
Wildersmith Sign Only

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
May 21, 2021    

This week’s report confirms the last pile of snow along the Mile O Pine has faded into a mash of wet leaves, so all character of winter has now succumbed to the warmth of May at this end of the Trail.                                                                                                                                          

All of Nature’s spring things are popping now. As Hummingbirds made their presence known up this way in the past week, so too are the snowbirds. Our seasonal neighbors are rolling in just as the weather actually took a warmer tick upward from the first weeks of the month.                                                                                                                              

Summer forest camouflage is growing intensity, and the territory should be completely leafed out by the next time we meet. Any skeletal ugliness of winters’ deciduous continuum will be in a state of chlorophyll bliss.                                                                                                   

At this point there are more shades of green than one could ever imagine. One can just take a look at Roget’s Thesaurus for all the tints of green, and we have most of them up here in the woods. I’m also noticing a delicate greenish tinge on Tamaraks, while their coniferous cousins are sprouting buds of the next generation needles.                                                               

While places closer to Grand Marais have long been in bloom, this end of the Trail is finally showing a little color. Marsh Marigolds and Cilia are the first wild flowers doing their warm season rehearsal along back country roadsides. Of course, those “dandy lions,” while they too have a role in this summertime drama, they are of the nuisance category so I don’t count them. And a Sunday cruise down the MOP was also flavored with those “fiddle head” ferns uncoiling skyward for a rendition of a summer time sonnet.                                                                   

Spring is a great show-off time. Of course a good rain would spur things along even more. It is amazing flora are progressing as well as they have with another week of dry crunchy steps and choking back road dust.                                                                                                            

As I keyed this weeks’ scoop last Sunday, there is smoke in the air. Although I was later told the source is many miles away, history of such a scent always puts one on edge. Happily the Wild fire sprinkler system is tuned up. In fact, Gunflint Lake was sharing a little liquid charm on the parched earth around Wildersmith as I scribed this column.                                                             
Many lake side docks are re-appearing after a cold season of in-activity on shore. The Wildersmith boat landing is no exception, thanks to much appreciated assistance from some special friends.                                                                                                                                 

The first time of relaxing on a dock out over any lake is such an enriching experience, and the Smith’s did just that to initiate our dock’s 2021 re-entry. And it only gets better as those Canadian sunsets over border country lakes will charm the soul with heavenly beauty over the next few months.                                                                                                                                               

A neighbor reports bear activity around her place, but none have bothered to stop by this place, at least during daylight hours, however, a calling card was left on the road. Meanwhile, a feline was observed down the road a piece, but observers were unsure as to it being either lynx or bobcat as it made a hurried exit into the forest.                                                      

On a less exciting note, an invasion of the insect world has taken over the north woods. If it isn’t mosquitos, it is black flies, and adding insult to the welt producers, an explosion of several varieties of ants have added to the buggy antagonism. Oh well, this is life in the north woods, guess bugs have to eat too!                                                                                                                 

In closing, a recent online posting from tells of an exciting opportunity for both individuals and families interested in the adventures of canoeing in the BWCA. Gunflint Trail Outfitters will be hosting an hour of free canoe paddling, along with instruction if needed, during the summer from June 14 through July 17th. The event is entitled, “Wet Your Paddle” on the Gunflint Trail. For more information and scheduling, go to                                                                                        

And while you’re out at the end of the Trail for a joyous canoe experience, plan to stop by the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center to make it a complete day of outdoor enjoyment while learning more of Gunflint Trail cultural and natural stories.                                                                            

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day, is a storied example of Mother Nature at her best!