Every season offers a different set of experiences at Gunflint but there are some things that never change. The Kerfoot family has been here for 3 generations. One of the reasons we have stayed is that everyone in the family truly enjoys welcoming guests to the Northwoods. We like to help you explore our forest and find those places that are special. Bruce and Sue still enjoy talking with guests and planning excursions for them. Our staff is always willing to talk with you about fun places to visit in the forest and lakes around us. So here are some ideas of what we see and do during the fall season.
Our Towering Pines Canopy Tour will open until early November. We will be offering several trips a day led by 2 sky guides. These 2+ hour adventures take you through the canopy of 300 year old white pine trees with an awsome view out over the basin and Canada to the north. Our senior most guest of last summer was a 90 year old women, and she had the biggest grin on her face of the entire family after their adventure.
Unofficially, fall starts at Gunflint right after Labor Day. Kids are back in school so most of our guests are adults. They are all here for that last chance of the year to enjoy just being in the woods. Fall color starts early as the wildflowers along the road turn and the maples burst into red. As the fall moves one will see the yellows come out in poplar, birch, ash, and tamarack. Eventually our forest is a riot of yellows and reds against the constant background of green pines. Some days it almost takes your breath away. On one of these calm sunny days, you may want to paddle down into one of Gunflint’s bays to absorb the surrounding color. If you are really lucky, a loon will glide by your canoe and call hello to you.
By middle September the lake trout are starting to come up into cooling shallow waters. They are really hungry. For fishermen, it’s hard to not catch your limit. On a still, sunny day you can look over the edge of the boat and almost see the fish approaching your bait. Bruce will probably be in the first boat out on days like that. Be sure to ask him where the hot spots are. You can also fish some nearby lakes by going out with one of our guides.
Days are starting to get shorter and nights are cooler. The fireplace in your cabin really feels great each night. If it’s a rainy day, curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book is pure luxury. Life is too busy at home to even think of such a thing.
By the middle of September, the partridge season opens. Our forest has a lot of underbrush so it takes some skill to spot these chicken-size birds. Hunting dogs help. The reward is a great fall dinner of baked partridge. Bruce has a favorite meal of partridge with mushroom gravy, wild rice, and baked acorn squash. Just talking about it makes his mouth water.
In early October we have our moose calling packages. The fishing guides are ready to take you out to call in some of our big moose. Have your cameras ready because you never know what might happen. One day Bruce was out with some guests trying to call in a moose in the distance. They were out of the car and walking towards their moose when there was some noise behind them. Another moose had come up and was closer to the car than they were. In his best parental voice, Bruce told everyone to get to the car NOW. Then they sat inside and watched this bull amble off. These moose calling adventures are your chance to see the most majestic animal of our woods.
Eventually, the leaves are gone and the forest is bare. On hikes you can see through the woods for much longer distances. The crisp air gives you energy to wander all over. During your walk, you may come across a team of staff working on brushing the cross country ski trails for the upcoming season. Or you may see Lee mowing the trails. One day you may be hiking when some familiar white flakes start coming down. Hiking in the woods during the first snowfall is wonderful. You almost want to stick your tongue out to catch a few flakes. Our first snowfall usually comes in mid-October but it quickly melts. We will not get snow that stays until around Thanksgiving.
Another Gunflint tradition in the fall is our work weekends. Many of our guests live in condos or apartments. They no long have to rake leaves or put up firewood. So we offer them the chance to do some of these chores again. In addition to the constant fall chores, we usually have a project that leaves a lasting improvement to the grounds.
As you can see, no matter what season you visit Gunflint, there is lots to do. Many things are unique to one season while others are available throughout the year. One thing we can promise you is comfortable cabins, great meals, and friendly service. As they have for generations, the Kerfoot family is here to welcome you to your home in the woods.