Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's Busy On Gunflint

As it usually is, life has been busy at Gunflint Lodge this past week. The absolute first thing I want to tell you is about our telephones. For about two weeks in December we had what could be graciously called intermittent telephone service. The real problem came when anyone tried to call us because it sounded like the phone was ringing and we just weren’t answering it. Let me tell you – we ALWAYS answer the telephone. This last week the same thing has started to happen again. If you try to call us and there is no answer, assume the phone is not working. Try again. CenturyTel thinks they have it fixed but they thought it was fixed in December too. The real problem is a lot of old, old equipment and not enough customers to pay for new equipment.
On Monday night and early Tuesday morning the Beargrease Sled Dog Race came through Gunflint Lake. They entered the lake over by the bridge at Cross River and then went over to the public landing on our side and up the snowmobile trail on their way to Loon Lake. Here is a picture of one of the sleds starting on Gunflint, looking east into that beautiful morning sun.

The race starts and ends in Duluth. I believe it is about 380 miles long.

Sheryl and Bonnie spent a few hours this morning trout fishing on Gunflint. Here is a picture of Sheryl’s trout, the only one they caught.

Now here is how Sheryl described the experience: “This is my first lake trout ice fishing, ever! I'm not secretive: Gunflint Lake, MN side, minnow, jigging. The trick is to be out in the open, not in a house. It must be the shivering that causes the rod to wiggle and the line to waver, so there is added action when jigging!” They used Dave and Bonnie’s snowmobiles to get there so Dave thought he should have one fillet for snowmobile rental. They used Bruce’s ice auger to cut the hole so he thought he should have one fillet for auger rental. I think Sheryl is going to have two fillets for dinner.

Jason Merrill is getting ready for Winter Tracks later in the winter. His job is to prepare a broomball field. Today after checking the ice depth (17 inches) he brought the bobcat out to plow the field for the first time. By removing the snow, the ice will get thicker. Here he is plowing away. Both he and Bruce were concerned that the ice was thick enough to support the bobcat. We all know how men worry about their pieces of machinery.

In case the far hills look a little foggy to you, that is not your eyesight or my photography. It’s snow coming down. It is not a lot of snow but with our great base, all we need is a few inches of new snow ever so often.

I think I told you that ice fishing has opened up on Gunflint Lake. It has made the view from the managers’ lunch table very interesting. We watch ice houses being taken down and moved. Sometimes they end up in places that the fishermen at the table think is not so good. There are a lot of people dragging what appear to be heavy sleds with collapsed ice houses on them. Looks like a lot of work to me.

Last weekend was the Chocolate Lover’s Weekend. We all OD’d on chocolate. The cookies are what really did me in. I, of course, tested them for quality while baking. Then we all had to test them before presenting them to the guests. On Sunday morning even the guests could hardly take any home so we had to finish them up. I don’t think I want to even look at another chocolate cookie.

By late in the afternoon on the 23rd, the deer began to appear around the lodge and our house again. They have been here every day since. Like I said last week, our only explanation is that a pack of wolves was passing through.

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