Since my last post, I have been on the road some. Greg and I went to Duluth last Thursday, a trip that started at 6:30 in the morning. For the first time in several months, I was able to see the sunrise in the eastern sky. The lodge faces to the north, so our usual first glimpse of the sun in the winter is on the Canadian hills. The kitchen windows face south, and east to some extent. But the arc of the sun at this time of the year generally keeps the sunlight below the tree level, obscuring much of the eastern sky. As the month moves along and the days get longer, we can almost see the sunbeams raising up a little more each day. By the third week or so, the sun is clearing the trees enough to bring larger amounts of light back into our kitchen. We like to celebrate the return of this sunlight---the days are definitely getting longer and spring will eventually arrive. It never seems to matter what the groundhog has to say....winter will be as long as it wants to in these parts.
An advantage of driving so much is the opportunity to see moose. On that Thursday morning, we saw one moose in the usual stretch of the trail. Then as we passed the turn to the Pine Mountain Road, just past the south Brule River, I saw two moose. One was standing smack dab in the middle of the road, looking down at us as we whistled past. For whatever reason, I always picture these moose as though they are commuters, waiting for their bus to come! Yesterday, Addie and I went to town, and got an excellent look at a moose right on the roadside. This one was busy eating, and another car was pulled over watching it. Unfortunately, my passing by made the moose head into the woods....so we unexpectedly ended the showing. Sorry about that!
And last night as we came home, we saw six moose. The road was relatively dry, as we hadn't had fresh snow up to that point. Why they were out in such numbers is a bit of a wonder, with no salt to lick up.
We did get some snow after midnight, so that there is a fresh layer this morning. Greg says that it is about two inches, and he is out plowing as I write. Our temperatures are back into a normal range for this time of the year. We experienced the warm-up last Friday to the tune of 43 degrees--yikes! But fortunately, our snow held on farily well. Now with some fresh stuff, plus more predicted, perhaps we can get on to a more normal weather pattern. I'm not holding my breath though!
While on the road to Duluth, we saw many deer and ravens, and also some eagles. This is somewhat of an unexpected sight to me in the winter, though very welcome. With no leaves on the trees, it is easier to watch them for longer stretches as they soar through the sky.
Our road trip on Monday took us to Thunder Bay, to pick up some parts for a woodstove. We didn't see much in the way of wildlife. But I always enjoy the drive up through Grand Portage and north of there. The terrain to the northwest is rugged, high hills and to the southwest, Lake Superior with its islands. Very pretty. Robert commented that he could even see Michigan at one point---by having a quick view of Isle Royale. Once we crossed into Canada, the hills smoothed out, more like farmlands. Lots of snow up that way.
Our trip to Duluth included dropping some lumber off at Greg and Shele Hull's sawmill in Two Harbors. They will take the birch boards and finish them off, so that we can install them as new flooring in Cedar Point cabin this spring. Greg has a few other ideas for the cabin, too. He plans to start later this month, and we will post pictures here as we go.
The wolves were howling two nights ago. It started out with a bunch of whines and squeals, then suddenly burst forth as a full chorus. Next I heard a couple of barks, and then two or three long low howls. Just as quickly as it started, it was done. I like how they first warmed up their vocal chords, and then jumped right in to the song. We haven't spotted them lately, so I'm probably just not looking at the right time.
At the end of February, the Gunflint Trail is sponsoring its Winter Tracks Festival. I have been charged with writing out the registration flyer for this event. The list of activities for the weekend, February 22-25, is just amazing. You can read more about it at the website http://www.wintertracks.com . If you are wanting to come into the woods and have lots of options for things to do, this would certainly be a good weekend to consider. Most of the activities are free of charge, and they sound like plenty of fun.
Time to clean some cabins, then perhaps get out to ski. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for snow in all of your parts of the state, too---that is, if you want it! If not, you can always send yours up to us.