May 6th, 2013
This past Sunday was the 6th running of the Ham Run Half Marathon and 5K. A few less runners signed up to brave the unpredicitable weather this year than last but were well rewarded with a perfect running day. No wind, No rain, light cloud cover and a mild hi 40′s low 50′s temp. Its a great event supporting several of the local athletic organizations. My favorite part is the Ham Buffet (open to the public by the way!) at the race completion. Even more fun is hanging out here at the resort after the race – so much so that it’s been suggested that next year I through an after race party/bonfire/ smores etc. Sounds good to me.
The sun and warmer weather are really helping the ice situation. Bob went over to the west end Cross River Bridge again this morning and snapped a new picture for you all. I’ll update again Thursday. Enjoy the pictures.
Ready to Race
Gathering at the Start Line
Ice conditions - West end of Gunflint Lake spring 2013
April 29th, 2013
Well this year’s spring has been quiet the contrast from last year. 2012 brought an unseasonablly early spring thaw and we relished in the warm temps and the ability to move easily around camp doing spring chores. This year – no such luck. The late season snows left us stuck indoors, trying to work on projects like the Bathrooms in cottages A5 & A 6, making some lamps, deep cleaning the ceilings and front windows of the Lakefront A-frames A1 & A2 – but all we were really doing is sulking about being stuck inside. Well the temps have turned and so have our attitudes. Now we’re in a rush to get things melted and dried up so we can begin our outdoor chores.
The birds are migrating in full force. Their singing begins at the crack of dawn before the first ray of sunshine. They line the Gunflint Trail on the narrow strip of grass on the roadside, taking flight in a whirlwind as each new car approaches. It’s melting quickly around here – creeks are overflowing, rapids are running, snowbanks are disappearing and roads are washing out. Guests are e-mailing and calling daily now – wondering how much snow and ice are left, and if there’s any chance things will be open by fishing opener.
Well for all of you inquiring minds here’s some information: Justine Kerfoot used to use the benchmark that once the Cross River was open, Gunflint’s Ice out would follow in 2 weeks. Here are pictures of the Cross river from the start on the Round lake road to it’s entry into Gunflint Lake – What do you think? Keep praying for sunshine and even some warm rain and we’ll keep working on melting.
January 20th, 2013
Brrrrr!! Each winter we experience about 2 weeks of -20F temps. Well this morning’s -17F and the forecast confirm that this is the lucky week! The highest temp this week is supposed to be -2F onThursday. It doesn’t mean that we hole up – we just dress different before going out. The ice fishermen hang out in their portable houses with propane heaters, shooting the breeze, and catching trout. But they need to use caution, I heard of one neighbor’s guest whos heater started on fire this past weekend. Lucky he didn’t blow up!
The wolves have been pretty active the past two days too. Last night there was a deer kill on the west end of the lake out near the ice ridge toward Magnetic Lake. Grandma spotted it from her house behind the lodge on the hillside early this monring. It must have been killed in the wee hours. She watched the wolves guarding the remiains – later she checked and there was nothing left. The evening prior there was another deer kill in a parking area of the neighboring resort, waking one of the employees at about 3am. By morning only scraps remained.
With all the new snow we were out around camp today shoveling and plowing. Wyatt spotted grouse tracks (he’s a track master I swear!) He followed them and found the Ruffed Grouse sunning himself up in a tree branch. We watched him for a bit. He was all fluffed up in a Ruffed Grouse Down Jacket but enjoying the sunny weather none the less.
Bob spent much of last night and this morning and afternoon in the pisten Bully packing and tracking the trail system. With the help of both Heston’s and Gunflint Lodge 85%of the trail system is open and in great shape. Word also has it that the Cook County Ridge Riders are also out working on the snowmobile trails.
Winter Brook Trout
December 28th, 2012
It seems one item on almost all guests checklist for visiting the Gunflint Trail is: See a Moose. It’s probably one of the most asked questions all year round. ”Where can we go to see a Moose?
I think most guests are slightly disappointed when we tell them to simply drive the Gunflint Trail. I think they feel we’re keeping a secret to ourselves – like there’s some secret road to a pond where they gather and wait to be seen. But the bottom line is – the more you drive the trail the better chance you have to spot one (or two or three).
The moon is almost full now, making the winter hours pretty light out. While driving the Ambulance to town last night I spotted two on the road side. When returning home in the wee hours this morning I missed one by an arms length. I must admit it’s much less intimidating in a rather large ambulance, than my regular trail transportation (my Nissan Versa which I affectionately call my tin can).
There are a few things that might improve your chances – like knowing where the swampy areas are. Driving at dusk or Dawn, or after dark in the winter. Knowing that the moose love to hang out on the corners in the winter licking the salt off the road. Knowing the location of what we call Moose Alley and Moose Corner. Winter signs like “footie prints” (tracks in the freshly fallen snow on the road). But the truth is whether or not you’ll see a moose on the trail is really up to chance.
I would guess that 1 of every 3 guests in the winter reports seeing at least one on their drive here. June and Sept/October fall time also seem to produce higher odds. My sister has been visiting the trail since I began working in the area in the Mid 80′s. She would spend countless hours driving about. Other people she knew would visit and see them, her daughter would come and see them but she went for years until finally about a year ago she saw a moose.
Other friends came to visit this summer from the state of Virginia and mentioned while we were berry picking they had hoped to see a moose on their trip. Instead of heading directly back to the lodge, on chance I took a few extra minutes to drive up to the ChikWauk Museum and Nature center as I knew there was at least one residing in the area. Sure enough she was in a swamp just off the road behind a couple clumps or marsh grass. The funny part was, just ahead of us was an RV camper I recognized as staying in our campground. They were out looking for moose, and never saw it.
The Truth is it’s some magical mathmatical equation involving the stars, frequency of trail visits, the season, time of day, number of people in your car, and what you ate last that I will never understand so . . . Just drive the trail.
December 22nd, 2012
Many Ski Trails are open on Gunflint Lake (Stock picture)
This year we thought we were off to a banner start!
Thanksgiving day it was in the low 50′s and I ran the first ever Gobble Wobble unofficial 5K . The next morning we awoke to 7.5 inches of the fresh fluffy white stuff! 3 more inches fell thoroughout the day! Wow – here we go.
Then came the southern winds. First the high 20′s gradually creeping up into the 30′s. Bob heard the predictions for warmer temps and had the foresight to take the Pisten Bully out and pack several of the ski trails. Our hope was by packing the snow we could keep it from melting completely if (when) the warmer temps came. Days later in the March like slop – we had almost no hope. For the next 10 days the weather seemed to tease us. Warming one day, cooling the next.
Finally on the 10th we were blessed with 3.5 more inches of snow and just a hope of salvation. Since then there’s been several days of just a dusting, trace or skiff mingled in with the occasional half or couple inch taunt. The temps have finally been holding to the colder winter like numbers we anticipate. In fact, as I write, I am unsure if the lake finally finished freezing over last night. It was ”speaking” rather loudly to me as I stepped out side earlier with it’s erie glublike moans.
Taking the Pisten Bully on the trails too early can prove disasterous. If there is not enough snow or the temps are not cold enought the cat tracks can pull up any existing base and churn brush into the mix. Yesterday, after discussion with the partnering resorts – Bob decided to “give it a try”. To my dismay he was gone for a couple hours. This could be good or bad. More than once he as taken longer than expected, only to arrive home sweatty and red faced and tell me to get my coat on to take him back out by snowmobile or car to where ever he had to walk home from.
Fortunately this time – the news was good. The packing he had done earlier this season had proved beneficial. So the point of this long drawn out story is: WE HAVE GROOMED TRAILS!!! (you all tell me I don’t blog enough and love hearing what’s going on so don’t complain if I get a little long winded. For short messages watch our facebook page or check the twitter feed on the Gunflint Pines website home page.)
If you will be in the area for the holiday season, stop by for a season pass, ski rentals, parking & a map or just a cup of Jo’ or hot chocolate. We’ll be here from 8am – 7pm daily (closing at 5 on Wednesdays!) We’d love to visit!
Happy Holidays! Shari & the Baker Boys