Saturday, December 08, 2007

Moose on the Loose

It’s time to check in with you folks again. After six weeks of traveling, just doing ordinary household tasks feels good. Another thing that improves life is that Bruce and I are finally over the effects of jet lag. Of course, time is still going on even on Gunflint Lake. Christmas is coming and there is too much to do.

Driving up and down to Trail is another common happening in our lives. We love to see what will appears along the way. Thursday night we were driving home from Duluth when a moose popped out. I mean a MOOSE. We had just passed the North Brule River and turned into the left curve when he appeared on our lane. All we could see from our SUV was a huge rump and long, long legs. And the worst was that we were looking up at that rump!

Luckily Bruce was going slowly enough that we were able to move into the left lane. We were so hypnotized by the rump that we never looked to see if he had antlers. Bruce figured he was so big that it had to be a bull moose. That is just too close to come to a moose. And yes, even though it was too dark for a picture, I did not have my camera with me.

Quite a few people have been seeing moose lately. We generally consider the path of the Trail from the South Brule River to Swamper Lake to be “moose country.” On one trip to town we saw three moose there and then two moose Thursday night. Moose can appear other spots too. A friend coming up from town saw one near the Trout Lake Road, another hot spot of moose activity. She also saw more moose further up the Trail.

Last winter we did not see very many moose on the Trail and we all became complacent. Well, change your attitude and slow down. Get your passenger to help. The passenger watches the right ditch and the driver watches the left ditch. Everyone looks for tracks on the road. Tracks can be a good indicator of animal activity. Moose are fun to see while you are driving but you don’t want to see them too closely.

This next picture shows the view from the top of our driveway over Gunflint Lake on the 4th. You can just barely see a thin line of open water on the far side of the lake. If I took that same picture today, it would all be open water. The east end of the lake had not frozen and the wind came up. It blew out all the ice. When a lake is partially frozen, even a light wind from the wrong direction will blow out new ice. Last night was 10 below here but there was a wind. Gunflint didn’t freeze. The first calm night we have will be when the lake freezes. Then it’s a wait until the ice is safe. When we think it is safe, we wait another week before venturing out.

My last picture shows you why we live in the woods. This picture was taken outside my office window about 1:30 this afternoon. I know you can’t see to count, but the buck is a ten-pointer and just huge. He was pawing the snow to get at the leftover leaves from my iris plants and was in no rush to leave.

I don’t think that deer can see through windows. After calling Bruce and visiting Lisa, I grabbed for my camera on the desk. A furious time of shooting pictures finally gave me this one. All the time the buck continued to concentrate on his snack. How do you think he knew the leaves were under a foot of snow? That is my question of the day.

It was a fun day at our house. It’s late in the afternoon and the temperature is dropping. The wind has gone down. Maybe the lake will freeze tonight.

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