Saturday, October 1, 2016

Peak color coming late #phenology

Once again the Better Half and I spent a few days incommunicado in a cabin off the Gunflint Trail, no cell phone service, no WiFi, no TV, just restorative peace and quiet. That's why there were no postings last week. If you missed us or we worried you, we're sorry. We also highly recommend the practice of becoming disconnected from time to time. Spending a number of days not learning about the latest inanities of the presidential contest did wonders for blood pressure and out look on life.

Ham Lake fire area
Ham Lake fire area
Photo by J. Harrington

One of the things we learned this trip is that the Gunflint Trail is so named because of the access it provides to Gunflint Lake, whose shoreline has lots of chert, used as "gun flint" to strike sparks in the old flintlock rifles of the Native Americans and Voyagers in the area. We also go a much better impression of how much area was covered by a 70,000 acre forest fire. The sense of the forest differs markedly between the western (burned) and eastern (unburned) termini of the Gunflint Trail, although the resilience of forest regrowth in the burned area is astounding.

South end of North-bound moose
South end of North-bound moose
Photo by J. Harrington

Colors, according the the MNDNR's typical peak color map, were supposed to be nearing peak the week we were Up North. This year the peak seems tobe running almost two weeks or so behind averages. It's only 25% to 50% on its way to peak this weekend. What's there is beautiful but not fully developed. Probably that could be turned into a good reason to try again next Autumn. That and the fact that the moose we saw as we were leaving didn't hold still and let me get a decent portrait.

There are still lots of asters in bloom, mountain ash berries are bright red everywhere, and, if you get lucky, the constant cloud cover that accompanied our stay will be gone by the time you get there. Enjoy.

Gunflint Lake: Sunset          

by Franco Pagnucci


the truth is the light and light is the truth
from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

A fiery sun
made a path toward us
on the rippled water
and scattered pink shavings
over the rest.

Night was falling.
Our differences encircled
us and a chill air.

But the light. It gathered us
at the edge of the lake,
and we stood.
We were pilgrims of the light.


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