The Gunflint Trail welcomed Jim Klobuchar's 35th annual bike ride this week. The trip started with some days on the North Shore. Then it was time for the long ride up the Trail. They journeyed up to Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters and Gunflint Pines for two nights. All 183 people enjoyed a "duff" day exploring the lakes of the Trail. Most decided on activities other than biking for this one day. It was a great group to visit us.
Fishing didn't stop while the bikers were here. Mike Berg of Seagull Fishing Camp reports that cooler weather earlier in the week didn't stop his guests from having good luck. Bob Alton (Fort Pierce, FL), Chuck Rexroat (Sycamore, IL) and several friends limited out with eater-sized walleyes and released a few big ones. The week warmed up and Dave Becker (St. Paul, MN) and Bob Invie (St. Louis Park, MN) had good luck fishing on both Saganaga and Northern Light Lakes. The bigger walleyes kept on biting but the eaters slowed down a bit. Minnows and leeches worked best. Down at the mid-Trail area, Forrest Parsons of Hungry Jack Lodge said that Todd Peterson (Edina, MN) caught a beautiful 30", 10 lb. walleye. And of course, the smallmouth bass are still providing plenty of action on the spawning beds.
The Becoming A Boundary Waters Family seminars are educating even the local residents. At Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast, Barbara Young said Ellen from the Tofte U. S. Forest Service station gave a talk on birds of this area. One of Ellen's interesting points related to birding generally in the area. The American Bird Conservancy rates the Superior National Forest as one of 100 globally important bird areas. This is because of our sparse population and acres of uninhabited land throughout the forest. Those of us who live here tend to take our variety of birds for granted but the outside world thinks this area offers some superb birding opportunities.
This column could be filled with reports of animal sightings. In the last years the frequency of sightings has been on the rise. Many feel that the explanation lies in the Blowdown of 1999, the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006 and the Ham Lake Fire of 2007. These three events have lead to many acres of new growth in the forest adjacent to the Gunflint Trail. The young forest offers much more sunshine and feed for animals. So we look forward to an increase in sightings.
At this time of year, the forest young are making their first appearances. Luana Brandt of Nor'Wester Lodge says one of her employees was driving to work when a partridge family crossed the road. The young were just "puffballs" of feathers. Our favorite fox, Gimpy at Moosehorn Bed and Breakfast, brought one of his kits to visit owner, Paula Beattie. Mark Darling at Way of the Wilderness Outfitters had a visit from a repeat guest. It was a turtle who buries her eggs each year right in front of his main building. She did it again this year. As you visit the Gunflint Trail look carefully to see which animals you can observe.