The Gunflint Trail is in one of its quiet times. Most visitors have returned home until we fill up again for the holidays. Even so there are stil things to see and do on the Trail.
Temperatures have dropped into the freezing range at night. We have had two cold still nights. As a result, Iron Lake Little Iron Lake and Swamper Lake are now skimmed over with ice as are all the ponds that I could see while driving to town yesterday. It will be several weeks before the big lakes freeze.
If we can get about a week to ten days of cold weather with no precipitation, these little lakes will be ready for ice skating. It is the only time of year that you can skate all over the lake without snow or sluch to slow you down. It can also be very dangerous if you are not sure the ice is safe. Check with local people before you to skate. People who have skated tell me it is wonderful to fly over the lakes but do be very careful.
Sunday night we had a young couple come through who have been backpacking in the area. They sent a package for re-supply to Gunflint Lodge and stopped by to pick it up. The next leg of their journey is to hike the Kekekabic Trail to Ely. It just seems a little too cold for me to be sleeping out in a tent but we wish them well.
It is the middle of the rifle deer hunting season up here. So far it has been very slow. Part of the reason is that all those healthy wolves that have been seen all summer also need to eat. Some hunters are reporting seeing wolves from their stands. As a result, the deer herd is down in size. Also with no snow on the ground, it is very difficult to track deer. Finally, the dry leaves are very noisy which alerts the deer to hunters in the area. One hunter told me that he was out one morning on his stand and saw a mouse and a squirrel.
Guests everywhere have been out enjoying the hiking. All the ski trails are mowed and there is no snow on them. The last three days have been picture perfect with clear skies, wonderful sunshine and little wind. You should, of course, wear bright orange clothing in the woods at this time. Most resorts have some to lend if you forget to bring it. The leaves may be gone but it is still a great time to be in the woods. Even if you are not hunting, you can be alert to the possiblity of spotting deer, moose, or wolves. It is a very special feeling to spot these animals while walking in the forest.