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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 22

Wildersmith Sign Only.jpg
Wildersmith Sign Only.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
May 22, 2020    

Although we Gunflint folk could be fooled, it looks as though spring is in full swing.  May’s third weekend along the Trail was splendid. Although it was breezy at times, “Sol” warmed temps into the fifties and sixties sending “the old man of the north” packing back that direction.                                                                                                                                                                           
Winter reminders are now few and far in between. By next week, pockets of white will be gone, and it’s likely I can share statistics of winter trivia for 2019-20.                                                                                                                                                                               
The wild land drought was tempered some last week when a couple showers netted just about one-half inch around Wildersmith.  The sogginess was short lived as we’ve dried out quickly, putting residents back on the edge of fire danger once again.                                                                   

Meanwhile, wild fire sprinkler systems are being rapidly installed. I talked to one fellow who mentioned he put sixty of the systems into area lakes last week alone. Since about 98% of wild fires in Minnesota are caused by careless humans, it seems to be a good thing these WFSS are in readiness as campfire restrictions in the BWCAW have been lifted. Why, is hard to understand.   
The opening of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has seen a distinct up-tick in Trail traffic over the past few days. Paddlers and uncountable fishing craft are on the water, in spite of camping facilities still being under lockdown. Of course this restriction might be history by the time this scoop hits the air.                                                                                                                    
 Up-ticks in “Bruno” sightings are becoming an almost daily occurrence. Although I’ve not heard of any bear break-ins, with the critters rambling through the woods, its “bearly” a matter of time until human miscues will tempt a larcenous act.                                                                                 

Up around Seagull Lake and the Chik-Wauk Campus, the big “Cinnamon Bear” of yore has been making the rounds. A photo of the chestnut colored brute can be seen on the Chik-Wauk Museum Facebook page. More “wild neighborhood” citizens can be seen by scrolling further down the page to see the loons nesting, bears ruling the roads and two swans a swimming.                                                                                                                                                                     

Another heart-warming confirmation of spring was noted at Wildersmith a few days ago when the first hummingbird streaked by. At least it was thought to be such as the scarlet breast was at break neck speed. The nectar station is now open for dine-in delight.                                                       

Speaking of other things that fly, I hesitate to mention, but black flies have yet to be of bother. I did a little grubbing around in the dirt the other day to remove an old tree stump and did not stir up any of the nasty nippers. Saying this probably marks me for the “kiss of death’, or at least, a few bloody bites around my hat brim in the days to come.                                                                                                                                     

While there has never been a bad sunrise or sunset, we’ve experienced more beauties of late on the Gunflint Gal. “Sol” has now crossed back over the international border, edging toward the summertime solstice. Those molten iron bars etched on the lake surface at days beginning and end have been ever so spectacular. One can add on some gauzy tints of peach, pink, lavender and purple for a heavenly mosaic that boggles the mind. Not that a frosty December/ January sunrise/sunset doesn’t have its unique character, but there’s just something awesome about a warm season onset and conclusion to a days’ journey!                                                                                        

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is glorious, as we count the days ‘til green leaves are quaking!