Despite a day that started with a few inches of snow, planting trees on Saturday (and participating in the other planned events) was a boatload of fun. We had an energetic team of nine people join us to plant a plot of land near the end of the trail. Armed with planting bars, bags to carry seedlings, and lunches, we ventured into the woods to work. The day involved lots of climbing, and lots of clanking when the planting bars hit rock. That was a common occurrence, but we did manage to find enough soil to put around a thousand red and white pines into our plot.
The planting went much better in the afternoon, because the day had warmed up and melted away most of the snow. We finished at about three-thirty, and took a quick group shot before heading back to Gunflint Lake.
Many thanks to John, Amanda, Gregg, Cathy, Amanda, Erik, Lisa, and Kari and Matt for all of your help. I'm looking forward to going back to that spot at the end of the trail, to keep an eye on all of our little trees.
The weekend events included dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights in a large tent set up at the Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters. The food was fantastic, and the setting was great. It rained all day Friday, but the tent was quite comfortable, thanks to large heaters. After dinner that evening, Layne Kennedy gave a talk and presented a slide show of his excellent images taken around Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, and in the Boundary Waters. We got to see some older photos taken on a ski-in yurt trip twenty-one years ago (I was pregnant with Robert), and some photos on the South Rim with Addie when she was just five years old--and though she was on the ground in this one, she was already quite a good skier back then.
After dinner on Saturday, the dance band The Splinters livened up the tent with zydeco, polka, and other fun tunes. Many folks, us included, seemed to tired to dance, but we did enjoy watching those who had some energy reserves.
Sunday brought the Ham Lake Half-Marathon and 5K Run to the upper end of the Gunflint Trail. I didn't attend any of this, as I needed to mind the store (and take photos of a wolf!). Greg participated by working on radio communications in conjunction with traffic control for the race. From all accounts, the races went very well, and folks had a great time. I've talked to a couple of runners, and we agreed that it is an excellent course, even though it does include the triple threat of three hills at the beginning of County Road 50. How well I remember those three hills back in my short running days! At least for these runners, those particular hills were done in the early part, as they started the race at Gunflint Pines and finished at Trail's End.
If you misssed the fun this past weekend, I hope that you'll consider joining us for future festivals here on the Trail. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a boatload....and the ice isn't even out yet!