Thursday, March 26, 2009

March Madness

We have had our own variety of March Madness on the Gunflint Trail. It has been our weather! As you have seen the past couple weeks there has been a snow storm and then lots of melting the next week. For variety this week, we tried a little freezing rain on Monday. After we had a nice sheet of ice on everything, our daughter Shawn tried to drive home. Within 6 miles she was in the ditch two times even at 10-15 MPH. They inched their way back to Gunflint. I was due to go into town later in the day. Needless to say, the trip was cancelled.

So Tuesday it rained and rained and froze at night. Our power went out for about 3-4 hours during the night. I was just starting to think about serving breakfast in the lodge when the power came back on. Other staff members were also thinking about no power. Jason, our maintenance head, was planning on coming down to get Bruce’s ice auger to drill holes to get some water. Everyone had their little plans but luckily we never had to use them.

Yesterday (Wednesday) it was in the mid-thirties for most of the day with a drizzle coming down. Last night the drizzle turned to snow. Once again we have snow out the window.

Of course, the overall amount of snow has gone down drastically with all the rain. Inch by melting inch, we are losing our snow. No more skiers are due at the lodge so we’re all happy to see it melt.

The lake ice on Gunflint is still safe. We are all watching an ice house still on the lake. It is a good size wooden one and frozen in. With yesterday’s rain, then snow, and then freezing (it was 20 degrees this morning), that ice house is stuck even more solidly than it was last week. Each day during lunch we watch to see if anyone is trying to get it out. The guys are waiting to see the chain saws come out to cut it free. That’s a really messy, wet way to release the fish house. We will be glad to look out the window at the process.

Bruce got out for a little ice fishing on Saturday. The ice is perfect for just driving out to his new favorite spot. Here he is with two nice trout.

Shawn and her friend were out fishing too but only Bruce caught anything. We had to send the trout home with those who got nothing.

Last weekend was also dog lover’s weekend. We had an abundance of dogs in the cabins. John, our naturalist, spent part of Saturday afternoon introducing the dogs to skijoring. Here he is explaining the equipment to his group.

John’s dog, Rudy, is a real expert at skijoring and he just loves it. In fact, Rudy got a little bored listening to John explain everything. There was a fair amount of barking as Rudy expressed his impatience with John.

On Tuesday (31st) we will be closing the kitchen for almost a month. The last couple days in April we will start up again. Meanwhile, it is deep cleaning time – never one of our favorite projects but very much a necessary one. Every piece of equipment will be taken apart and scrubbed to shine. We always think that cleaning is done as we go along but this week shows us how much is missed. The guys really do a great job at this project. I understand that some painting is also planned for this time.

Bruce talked with son Robert in Missouri the other night. It seems that Grandson Zach went fishing with Nick and Sandy, his other grandparents. Zach hooked and landed on a fly rod a 15-inch rainbow trout all by himself. Pretty good for a 9 year old! Robert said that Zach was pretty proud of himself. We were too.

Ou cabins are now full for the Green Up during the first weekend of May. I understand that overall reservations are up from last year. After the horrible weather we had last May, it’s is really good to hear that people are still interested in tending the forest. Motels in Grand Marais still have space for the weekend.