The older I get, the more my desire to drive the Trail after dark diminishes. In my younger years here, I thought nothing of evening meetings or late drives home from Duluth, after running a day full of errands. Oftentimes, I had a baby or a kid, or two, in the car with me. We would get home close to midnight, and after getting them off to bed, I would then need to unload the car. It just didn't bother me.
Now it has to be a very good reason for me to plan a night like that. You may notice that this is being posted rather late on Thursday, the reason being that Addie and I just returned from our trip to Wisconsin. All of those hours on the road gave me lots of time for contemplation. One thing I decided is that if I am driving the trail at night, I like it best in the spring and early summer.
First off, the sun goes down so much later. At 9:20 on the North Shore, it was still light enough to drive without using the bright setting. The sky held streaks of faint light, but the reddish glow had faded. By the time we were on the Trail, the stars were out. And we had a half-moon to shine down on us, all the way home.
I thought about other nights out there, when I had the good fortune to see shooting stars through the windshield. Occasionally the Northern Lights have been dancing a good show, making it difficult to keep my eyes on the roadbed. Of course, there is always the need to be vigilant for wildlife. Tonight was a quiet one in that respect. Several insects filled the air, and some dark animal scooted across while I drove down our side road. I still am wondering what it was....small enough to be a pine marten, but it didn't run like one. Quick enough to be a fisher, but too small. Larger than an ermine, very dark in coloring. Mink perhaps?
Hands down, though, the very best reason for driving the Gunflint Trail after dark is this:
Don't worry that the picture doesn't show up...it was too dark out!