Gunflint Times Records Trail Events
Sep 18, 2017 10:00AM ● Published by Editor
I took a few days off and made a run up the North Shore for a little R&R.
One of the things I like to do there is go up the Gunflint Trail. It’s about 60 miles of a paved double-lane highway cut through rocks, trees, swampland and more trees.
Sightings of deer, moose and bear are common, though I didn’t see any this trip.
On one of my stops, I picked up a copy of the Gunflint Times, a publication of the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.
The newsletter told of an almost forgotten resort on Gull Lake, called Kirk’s Landing, owned by Archie and Emma Kirk from 1946 until the federal government bought them out in 1978,
The Kirks had to build a road into their place from where the trail ended at the Saganaga Fishing Camp.
The camp was later named End of the Trail Lodge, which rings a bell.
In 1957 Bob Burt and I were cub reporters in Duluth, and I got my first car, a Volkswagen Beetle. Bob’s mother was employed as a cook at the End of the Trail Lodge, and Bob and I took the VW and went up to visit.
As I remember, the lodge was pretty rustic, the cabins made of big timbers and the beds had big quilted blankets.
The Gunflint then was about a lane and a half wide with a gravel surface, not the paved highway of today.
Bob said the owner had three head-on collisions on the Gunflint. I think I would have slowed down a bit and been sounding the horn at about five-second intervals.
There is a so-called moose viewing area along the trail. You can follow a path to a place with a view to a swampy area allegedly frequented by moose.
I took the bait and walked into the area several years ago. I didn’t see any moose, but I found the area was actually a mosquito feeding station, and guess what the skeeters feed on. But what’s a few corpuscles among friends?
The Chik-Wauk Museum is located at the end of the Gunflint. It is open from Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend of October. It is currently featuring an exhibit on the Ham Lake Fire which ravaged the area in 2007
The Ham Lake Fire burned 36,443 acres in Minnesota and 39,408 in Canada. It was the second largest fire in Minnesota since 1918. A total of 133 structures were lost in the fire on the Minnesota side, including 61 residences, 17 commercial and 55 outbuildings and other structures.
The forest is reclaiming the burnt area. Fire-scarred tree trunks stand as reminders to the blaze. Another 50 years, it’ll look as good as new.