As night falls earlier and earlier with each passing day, you can feel the first nips of autumn in the air at the end of the Gunflint Trail. As the State Fair kicks off in the Cities, the summer season has begun winding down at Chik-Wauk. Along the Gunflint Trail roadways, fireweed has already gone to seed in fluffy tufts, making it feel farther into autumn than it actually is. Our wildflowers haven’t been the best indicators of time this year – most of our wildflowers are still reacting to our very early spring and have been blooming about a month ahead of schedule.
Here at Chik-Wauk, we’re soaking up the sights of these late summer days. Earlier in the week, volunteers and staff caught glimpses of this year’s Mama Moose and calf down in the Moose Pond, near the turn-in to Chik-Wauk on Moose Pond Drive. A family of seven ringneck ducks who have been spending most of their days lazing and drifting about the Chik-Wauk bay have fascinated Chik-Wauk visitors this week. Because ringneck ducks are diving ducks, their feet are set far back on their bodies which requires them to run along the water for takeoff like loons. A pine marten seems to be hanging out near the end of the Chik-Wauk boardwalk too.
We’ll spend the quieter autumn weeks ahead working on a variety of projects at Chik-Wauk. We’re still diligently working to develop a naturalist program. You may have noticed some of our new naturalist editions, including a loon web cam on our website’s front page and a wipeboard on the front porch where you can log the wildlife, birds, and plants that you see while visiting Chik-Wauk. We want Chik-Wauk to be a place where you can really get acquainted with the North woods and will be making many exciting additions to our naturalist offerings in the coming months.
Many of you have enjoyed hearing the stories of Harriet Boostrom Taus while you visited the museum. Harriet is the 8th child of Charlie and Petra Boostrom, who founded Clearwater Lodge back in 1915. Harriet has many wonderful stories about the early days of the Gunflint Trail that she shares with Chik-Wauk visitors during her weekly shifts at the museum. If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Chik-Wauk on a day that Harriet was here, we hope you’ll be pleased to know that another one of our autumn project is developing an exhibit on the Boostrom family for our 2013 temporary exhibit.
With summer drawing to a close, so does our summer naturalist program. The U.S. Forest Service “Becoming a Boundary Waters Family” presentations concluded this week and our last Sunday Nature Walk and Talk will be held August 26 at 2 p.m. Gunflint Trail resident and naturalist John Silliman will present on wildfire ecology.
If you’d hope to take part in this year’s Hungry Jack Lake Historic Home tours on September 8, we’re both sorry and happy to announce that the event is now sold out. Thank you to everyone for your support of this Gunflint Trail Historical Society fundraiser! We’re anxious to report on how the event goes this year and see how the event can grow in coming years.
Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center will open every day from 10-5 until October 21, so please stop by to soak the rich history of the Gunflint Trail and enjoy a stroll on our hiking trails through the beautiful forest.