As usual the Gunflint Trail is having some busy winter weekends. Shari Baker of Gunflint Pines wanted me to remind you there are activities these next two weekends. This weekend is Winter Tracks. It is a time for people to get out and enjoy the variety of activities that winter offers up here. Many resorts are also ofering special activities so check out the Gunflint Trail website.
Next weekend is the Mush for the Cure. It is a fun dog sled run between Gunflint Lake and Trail Trail center to raise money for breast cancer research. Many of the participants dress in pink. There will be about 30 teams. The event starts with a Pink Prom at Trail Center where a king and queen will be crowned. Again check out the website for times and places of events. (Aren't websites wonderful for stuff like this!)
It seems like all the resident animals have been making appearances. Dan Baumann of Golden Eagle Lodge was out grooming one night last week. Even though he never saw them, fresh tracks revealed that Dan was chasing wolves off the ski trails all night. On Flour Lake he counted eight different sets of tracks. Another day he was fishing on Birch Lake when a wolf ran out onto the ice. Dan said it was a beautiful gray wolf that probably weighed 100-110 pounds. When Dan made a noise, the animal did a 90 degree turn and took off into the woods.
Golden Eagle also has a lynx hanging around especially in an area where there is a good rabbit population. On the east end of Flour Lake is a family of five otter who occasionally are seen at the lodge. Moose tracks blend in with all the other tracks. The only thing missing is deer, which are not very plentiful around the lodge this year.
At Bearskin Lodge Sue McCloughan reports that the birds have suddenly returned. When the feeders first went out, they had to be filled daily. Then during January and early February the birds seemed to disappear. Well, they are back again. Pine grosbeaks and woodpeckers are particularly well represented.
Mammal activities at Bearskin have centered around pine martins. One in particular was seen sorting his food on top of the dumpster. One pile must have been the goodies and the other the rejects.
Luana Brandt at Nor'Wester Lodge has had four wolves hanging around. She says they look hungry and she has been keeping a close eye on their dog.
Lin Sherfy at Rockwood Lodge has been watching a flying squirrel that is living somewhere around her house. The animal is eating like crazy and visibly gaining weight. Lin speculates that "Clipper" is pregnant. This will be confirmed if there is a sudden weight loss.
Nancy Seaton at Hungry Jack Outfitters mentioned that now is the time to start planning canoe trips. One of the great aides for first time family canoe trips is a little book called "Becoming a Boundary Waters Family." This book takes you through a step by step process to get your family out on the canoe trails of the BWCAW. If you happen to live near Madison, Wisconsin, and would like to talk with someone about a trip, this group with be attending Canoecopia along with Smokey the Bear later this winter.
Finally we get to fishing. The lake trout have been biting well especially if you are willing to walk a bit. On the Minnesota side of Saganaga (which is in the no motor zone) people have been having great luck. But my favorite fish story came from Barb Gecas at Heston's Lodge. It seems that a father, son and grandson had one day of fishing off of Heston's Point on Gunflint Lake. The pre-teenage boy caught a 15 lb. lake trout. We all agreed that having the boy catch this fish was the best.
All the ski trails and snowmobile trails on the Gunflint Trail are in excellent condition. Word of the good conditions must be spreading because everyone reports good reservations for March. So figure out some dates and come up to see us on the Gunflint Trail.