Friday, December 14, 2007

Sled Dogs Are Here

Gunflint Lake finally froze last night. Bob Baker, whose home has a huge view of the lake, says it is frozen as far as he can see. From the east end Fran says that everything they can see is frozen. Everyone knew the lake was ready. All that it needed was a cold, cold night. We had that last night with temperatures well below zero.

During the day yesterday, the temperatures were nicely above zero. So we got another three inches of snow. It is starting to build up. I think we are about at the time when the groomers can start to track the ski trails.

Another seasonal change has happened this past week. The sled dogs have arrived for the winter. Two gals, Linda and Helen, will be running the program this year. Here is a picture of Linda and one of her puppies.

Helen also has puppies here. They are both very excited about being up north.

The program has changed a bit. The gals are going to concentrate more on putting a little adventure into it. The options will no longer be just a ride on the loop. They want to take guests out into the BWCA, out on the lake, and out fishing. Spend a few minutes on the main website at the lodge to look at the schedule of mushing events. I think that you will find them very interesting.

This week was also tree cutting week. One of the needs for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is a “cookie” (round slab with bark) to show the rings of a tree and explain what they tell us. The first project was to find the tree. Bruce and I drove around last fall and found one just behind the stable. Here is a picture of the tree just before cutting.
I know the tree looks beautiful but notice that the top is gone. That means the tree is dying. It is just what we were looking for – a dying tree that was still pretty solid. In addition to the cookie, this tree will supply the museum with boards for the top of a counter and benches for the theater. There is no sense in letting this good wood rot away.

Last Wednesday, Dave Seaton came up to help Bruce or maybe Bruce was helping Dave. Well, you know the stories about boys and their toys. Dave had a new bar on his chain saw that would make a 24” cut. Bruce had the bobcat to help lift and move the sections of the tree. They were both really enjoying themselves.

The tree came down just where they planned it. They had to go up about 20 feet along the trunk to get a solid cookie. The base up to the cookie was already rotted out in the middle. Here is a picture of Dave cutting that cookie with Bruce in the bobcat holding the tree in place.
Next time you see it, the cookie will be in the museum.

When they were cutting the tree down, Bruce noticed that there was a squirrel in it. He careful watched and saw the squirrel jump free of the falling tree. Later they searched and found the squirrel hole and the nest material that had been in the hole. We saved that too. It may find its way into the museum too.

We have another group of holiday decorators at the lodge this weekend to finish the putting up lights and trees and wreaths all over. I’ll take some pictures and send them to you on Monday.

Last night was the staff Christmas party. After a wonderful dinner, everyone went down to Okontoe for a sleigh ride and some carol singing. It is the time of year when we realize, again, how lucky we are to have such a great staff.

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