Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Hint of Spring

It seems like the mothers of all our employees read the blog. This week I want to say hello to Sandy Schreiber in Tualatin, Oregon. Her daughter, Kacy, works for us in the housekeeping department. This summer she will be a server/bartender at the lodge. So, hello Sandy!

We are kind of getting hints that spring may be coming our way. If you remember, last week I took a picture out the kitchen window of Bruce snow blowing our 10-inch snow storm. Just a few minutes ago, I took another picture from that same window.

What a difference a week makes! Of course there is no sense in getting excited about this. Mother Nature will still have more snow to dump on us.

The side road is now bare of snow and dry. That is my signal to start walking again. This summer I have a special reason to walk. The week before Labor Day we are going to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some hiking with two other couples from around here. Tom and Melissa started their walking program yesterday so I had to get going too. I must say that it felt good to be outside doing something. I am going to have to up the pace a bit if I plan on doing any mountain hiking. Right now the question is how sore will I be tonight? The first day of two miles usually leaves me groaning. I hedged my bets and took some Advil.

Last Saturday was the Mush For The Cure. Gunflint Pines and Mary Black sponsor this fun run to raise money for breast cancer research. In addition to dog sled teams, there was a special race for the skijoring teams. Adam Trefoil, our winter cook and summer guide, entered the skijoring run. Here is a picture of him all dressed up in his finery.

He placed last but we were still very proud of him. Adam’s dog, Mick, is only 11 months old and has just a couple months of training in skijoring. They will do much better next year. We are also very proud of the fact that of the 40 teams, Adam placed 10th in the amount of money raised. The whole event raised $23,000 which is very good for only the second year.

As spring approaches, it is time to think about the Gunflint Green Up. You may remember this event from last year. It is held on the anniversary of the Ham Lake Fire of 2007. Last spring almost 500 people came and planted 50,000 trees on Saturday. The weather was contrary as usual. On Friday night just as everyone was gathering in the tent for dinner, we had a constant downpour of rain. Overnight it changed to snow and we had about five inches in the morning. Everyone, however, had come ready to work in any weather. The ground was thawed under the snow and the trees went in. Then the melting snow was there to water them.

I worked with some local Girl Scout troops. They were young pre-teen and teens. They ate, sang, and planted constantly. They probably did as much as any adult. I like to think that in 20 years some of them will come back with their children. Can you imagine being able to point to a good sized white pine and tell you children that you planted that one?

So if you think you would be interested in participating in the program, just go to (or it might be .org). All the details for this year’s program are given at this website. It is a wonderful way to teach us all about stewardship of our forests.

The Gunflint Trail Association and its outfitting companies have just come out with a new book that might appeal to some of you. It is called “Becoming A Boundary Waters Family.” Sue Arendt edited several people’s writings for the book. The premise is that there are lots of family activities that anyone can do with their children (or grandchildren) to teach them about the woods. As more and more Americans live the cities and suburbs, this book offers a great opportunity for parents and children to become familiar with the northwoods. The book is about $15 plus shipping and sales tax. I know you will all be surprised to hear that we have it for sale.

I will be watching the progress of spring all week and bring you an update in my next column.