Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Flies

Fall weeks seem to speed by. Our cabins have been filled with guests enjoying the fall colors and looking for moose. This week has been particularly successful on both fronts.

It appears that this weekend will be the peak of the fall color. Here are a couple of pictures I snapped right on the lodge grounds. This first one is of the maple tree right next to the naturalist’s board across from the lodge entrance.
During the summer months it is over shadowed by the big spruce but this is the time of year when the maple really comes alive. We planted this tree when Robert was 4 years old and Lee was 2 years old. That makes them 31 years old.

The second picture is of the Euonymus bush by Cabin #6.
For obvious reasons, the common name of this shrub is Burning Bush. Again it is rather unremarkable all summer long. When the leaves change, it is transformed into spectacular color. Our neighbor, Fred Smith, told me about this bush and I’m glad that I listened.
Up and down the Trail every view is filled with the varying shades of red and yellow leaves. Yesterday we had a really strong northwest wind. There were lots of white caps at the dock. I expected to see lots of colored leaves being blown off the trees. But surprisingly, there were very few leaves in the air. The leaves must just not have reached that magic point where they release from the branches.

This morning we had calm winds but it was still overcast. The lack of wind was a real blessing as several parties were scheduled for an airplane ride to spot moose. Rides in small planes are not fun with lots of wind so it was good that the wind cooperated. Unfortunately, the moose did not cooperate for the morning flights. The last two afternoon flights were for two grandparents who had brought their two grandchildren up for the Moose Madness package. They saw seven moose. The 10-year old granddaughter informed me at dinner that she spotted one of the moose herself. It was fun to hear her tell the story.

One of our parties in the bistro tonight was a property owner on Poplar Lake and her siblings. I was asked by one of them to say hello to Dr. Chuck McCarthy. Apparently Dr. Chuck came up here 60 years ago and worked for Bruce’s mother, Justine, when he was 15 years old. He was a city boy and learned about the northwoods from her. One of his stories is about jacking a cabin up to level it. In those days the foundations on many of our cabins heaved as the moisture in the soil changed. Someone would have to periodically jack the cabin up or down to level it again. Mom instructed this young man to put a marble in the middle of the floor. The moving marble would tell them which corner to jack up. When the marble stopped moving, the cabin was level. Bruce just confirmed that this is what his mother used to do and that it was quite effective.

The animals in the forest continue to re-appear as the number of people on the Trail diminishes. Several guests have spotted otter off the dock. Bruce and I saw an 8-point buck in our driveway one night last week. Some guests went looking for moose this morning. They didn’t see any moose but they did see a bear and a red fox. A bald eagle swooped past my bedroom window two mornings ago. The pair of coots is still hanging around with the mallards. None of these spotting are any big deal but they continually remind us of the birds and animals who share the forest with us. They also remind me of how lucky I am to live here.

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