Inside and out, it’s November
It may be a stretch to say winter made an early arrival this year, but October was an unusually snowy month across the Northern Wilds. We are by no means strangers to October snows, which rarely linger more than a day or two. But this year, heck, it seemed like it snowed every couple of days. What this portends for the coming winter is anyone’s guess. Here’s what we know for sure about November: Days are short and growing shorter; gloomy overcasts are common; and even sunny days are lackluster, because the sun is so low in the sky. For some of us, November just isn’t our favorite time of year.
Deer hunters may heartily disagree. After all, the Minnesota firearm season opener on Nov. 3 is a date they dream about all year. Most deer hunters welcome wintry weather that delivers a “tracking snow.” Skiers and snowmobilers also high-five the arrival of the white stuff. For lots of other folks, though, winter can wait.
Snow or no snow, the short days force all of us to spend more time indoors. After months of outdoor activities, we must find ways to pass our long season of involuntary indoor confinement. That’s why we’ve devoted this issue to indoor activities. We have a feature story offering a buffet of indoor fun ranging from stamp collecting to indoor rock climbing. Columnist Maren Webb explores cooking classes offered in the Northern Wilds. If you are seeking exercise and competition, Joe Friedrichs fills us in on swimming options available through the Cook County YMCA. Since Christmas is approaching, Rhonda Silence tells how folks along Minnesota’s North Shore can help local children by participating in Operation Family Christmas, a community project that started in Grand Marais. Julia Prinselaar heads indoors to understand more about the outdoors depicted in the current Christi Belcourt exhibit, Uprising: The Power of Mother Earth, at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
For other topics, Elle Andra-Warner shares the heartwarming tale of Furry Hobos and Highway Heroes, where over-the-road truckers volunteer to bring rescue dogs to their new homes. Rae Poynter reports on SHIFT, a young professional’s organization in Thunder Bay. Peter Fergus-Moore shares the story of a cancer survivor. In Nipigon, Kim Casey introduces us to artist Maigan Delong. Breana Roy gives us a preview of some artisans who will be participating in holiday-season craft shows in Thunder Bay and Ely. Will Moore catches up with an eclectic Duluth musical group called The Fish Heads.
For a little history, Elle Andra-Warner recounts the story of Silver Islet, once the world’s richest silver mine. We also have a tale about the Cole Brothers Airshow and the connection one of America’s top aerobatic pilots had to the North Shore. Always outside, Gord Ellis shares some of his favorite deer hunting yarns. Javier Serna fills us in on a tiny lake that offers early winter ice-fishing opportunities. Emily Stone introduces us to tiny, aquatic critters called water bears. Marie Zhuikov provides a report on Isle Royale martens.
Page through this issue and you’ll discover many more stories, event announcements and a calendar of this month’s happenings, as well as plenty of great photography. Whether you choose to spend November in a deer stand or curled up in front of a cozy fireplace, let Northern Wilds help these short days and long nights pass quickly.—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt