Strange Snow Antics

A weird thing happened yesterday, and from what I read, it didn't just happen here on Gunflint Lake. The radar was showing that snow was falling for quite a while in the morning, but it never made it to the ground. I read something about snow falling in to dry air, and that it might make it to us, but it never did. It was certainly a disappointment, as we all were looking forward to a freshening up on the trails. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the same thing had happened there. I figured that maybe this was nature's payback for all of those times I have seen snow come down when it is neither predicted, nor on the radar map.

Today when I got up, it was snowing a little, so I checked the radar. This time, it wasn't showing anything. Strange! The snow continued, and Greg and I went for a walk. I said to him that maybe we were finally receiving all of the snow that had fallen yesterday---perhaps it had been trapped in the "dry air" and was finally set free. But when I got home, I saw that the weather map had been upgraded, and indeed, the map and the actual happenings did jive. The best news, however, is that it has continued to snow all day, and we are starting to see it pile up. I was expecting an inch at best, but it must be at least two by now. Greg is out plowing the road to the point, and soon will be in to verify my guess. The Plowguy says it is a "couple-three" inches---that translates to two or so in some places, and three in others. This will improve the ski trails quite a bit.

While we were on our walk, I enjoyed checking out all of the animal tracks in the new snow. The fox had been through, as usual. The string of pawprints looked just like someone had laid a necklace of beads in the snow. Then we came upon some snowshoe hare tracks. These were fun to investigate, not only for their size, but also for the crazy path that the hare had followed. Soon I saw some squirrel tracks, small but sharply defined. Those red squirrels are so busy all year long, running here and there. When one dodges in to the road ahead of us, if we are driving, we will slow down and try to go by after he/she has either crossed or turned back. Eventually, the snowplow came along, and so that changed the track watching. I tend to look down when walking in the winter, just to be sure of my footing. I observed how the snow spit back from the tires, and sometimes even left minute hairline tracks as it rolled across the surface. That is similar to a mouse's track, but without the footprints. And as usual, I saw deer tracks, and even watched a doe in the woods just a few feet off the road. She stared at me, too, but must have felt safe enough with the few balsam trees between us. Every other morning this week that we went walking, I carried my camera, but never saw anything to photograph. Today I left it home, and of course I could have used it.

A couple of nights ago we were treated to the Northwoods "music" that I like best---the wolves were howling. Such a magnificent chorus to hear again! They were not far away, but since the sound carries so well, it is hard to pinpoint direction sometimes. I saw two wolves last week, out on the ice, right in front of the lodge. They looked to be younger ones, as they were not as large as some we have seen. They were headed west, so I ran to the ice to see if there was more excitement. One had already reached land, and the other was following, just past the shore in front of Sharlene's cabin. I haven't seen any deerkills yet, but the wolves must be busy with that, as it is their main food source.

More music this weekend---Paul and his Trail's End band buddies are back at the Tavern for more good times. We'll be there--stop by if you can!