Thursday, May 09, 2013

Changes in the Woods and Waters

Gunflint Lake is still covered with ice. It is quite a change from the last two years when the ice was out in March. It will still probably be 10 days or so before the ice goes out. A lot depends on the wind. Right now there is a large lead of open water from the Cross River. That will erode the entire west bay of the lake. When we have a lot of open water in that bay and the ice is black everywhere and the wind comes from the west end, then the ice will start to move. If all the elements are perfectly aligned, the ice can be cleared from the entire lake in a day or so.

The wind is coming up today. That will help. It did not freeze last night. That’s another plus. We had some rain showers yesterday and drizzling today. It all works to soften the ice. Once things start to move, the ice can go out very quickly.

Animals are starting to move around more. Some guests saw the first bear of the season up near the end of the Trail. Some other guests saw a moose cow and what appeared to be a very young calf – probably this spring’s young. At any rate Mama was keep close track of it. In spite of the resident lynx at the lodge, I saw three snowshoe hares while driving out the side road last night. The deer are around but look very thin. Some grass should start to green up soon and that will help. I think the fawns will be very small this year. Warm sunshine after they are born would go a long way toward keeping them healthy.

Last night around 7:30 we had an interesting combination of temperatures on the lake. The ice was cold, the air was warm and a little rain was coming down. The result was a mist rising off the ice. I stood and watched as the mist went right along the north shore of the lake toward the east. You could actually see it moving along. Then it spread over most of the lake for a short time. It was a little eerie to watch.

Most of the snow is gone from the woods. The waters are filling up the creeks, rivers and swamps. This in turn is flowing into the lakes. I can see the level of Gunflint coming up. My gauge is the northeast corner of the main dock. Two logs and the flat board are still out of water. It is going up every day just a little. Bruce thinks the entire dock will be covered with water. We will see.

We spent Monday night and Tuesday in Duluth with Don and Marilyn. Upper Lakes Foods who sells us most of our food was having a show of most of their venders. Tasting in the evening was extensive but easy since most of the food fit into the appetizer or light meal category. It was Tuesday morning that got to your stomach. We have to taste to learn anything but at 9:00 a.m. you can go from apple pie to garlic sausage to steak. My stomach is not really comfortable with the random mixture of food and the timing of the meal. At any rate, we all survived and found a few things to add to our menu.

Saturday is the opening of the walleye season. With a little luck a couple of the small lakes will be open but don’t expect to hear of anyone getting a boat load of fish.

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