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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - November 13

Martin_Photo by F Smith.JPG
Martin_Photo by F Smith.JPG

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
November 13, 2020    

A glorious week of autumn had folks up the Trail in jackets, sweaters and smiles during week one of our new month. Temps in the fifties finished off the October snow and even dried up slop on back country roads.                                                                                                            

The landscape is back to various fall shades of brown, and it was worrisome from a wild fire stand-point with no “precip” to replace the snow, but a timely rain earlier in the week eased my concern. Slightly over one inch of rain was recorded in my gauge. It was an amount not seen in months around this neighborhood.                                                                                                                                                    

November character is at hand as this report comes your way. Lakes will resume making ice and the “s” word has been bantered about over the past few days.                                           

The good weather allowed completion of my list of weather delayed outdoor chores, and even a couple that could have waited until spring. So we at Wildersmith are ready for whatever comes our way.                                                                                                                       

Speaking only for lakes I’ve noticed recently, water levels are at the lowest seen in my twenty plus years. A longtime resident on Gunflint Lake says this “old Gal” is lower than he’s observed since his childhood days. I don’t know of his age, but he has to be near or at a half century old.                                                                                                                                                         

My last trip up to the end of the Trail at Chik Wauk found Saganaga Lake to be in the same dismal circumstance. Bays surrounding the Museum Campus are about to take on the look of a wet land with plant growth consuming about half the water surface. Seeing the old high water marks along shoreline granite is a little frightening. It’s going to take a lot of moisture and a long time to build the many bodies back to normal levels as we know them.                     

I’ve heard little bragging about deer being taken around the territory, so it’s my guess there were few hunters out and few shots taken. I did hear of a gal getting an eight pointer somewhere, but that’s it to date. Perhaps the unusually warm weather on opening weekend had some affect, if in fact there are any deer still hanging out in these parts.                            

It was a homecoming of sorts around Wildersmith last Saturday when “Piney” the marten stopped by for a visit. It must be a returnee as the plush little animal went right to our feeding stations, obviously looking for a bit of chicken dinner.                                                          

Not expecting the surprising visit, I was ill prepared, but being trained well, promptly obliged with a couple poultry morsels. The crafty critter must have been keeping an eye on me, or a nose in the air, as it was not long before she/he was back. It has been a regular since, and I would expect some of its’ kin are soon to be arriving, once word of the “clucking” menu gets out.                                                                                                                                                          

Friends down the road report being entertained by an Ermine recently. This sleek little rodent had made the full transition to its winter white coat. It too was provided a poultry treat, consuming such right in front of the curious observers, not four or five feet away. See a pic of the ghostly being alongside my column at WTIP.org under the Community Voices drop down. 

Gunflint Community congratulations are offered to Bruce and Sue Kerfoot upon their recognition by the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation. The Kerfoot’s received the organizations “Generosity Award” for their decades of uncountable volunteer contributions to the Gunflint Community and Cook County.                                                                                    

Bruce, born in the upper Gunflint over eighty years ago, and Sue, operated the celebrated Gunflint Lodge for over fifty years. They represent living archives of history about life and times along this nationally known Scenic Byway.                                                                                                                                     
The award will be presented in Duluth on November 17th at DSACF ceremonies, and will be televised locally on WDIO channel 10 in Duluth.                                                                                   

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where all the days are great, and everyone is linked by “Mother Nature.”