Hello Clam Lake!
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. The warmer weather signals that summer is definitely here! Perfect times for enjoying the lakes and outdoor activities. Remember to hydrate and wear that sunscreen.
ELK CALVING UPDATE: I had a chance to catch up with Elk Biologist, Josh Spiegel, about this year’s elk calving season. Josh reported that he has seen a lot of “calf sign” either in the form of an actual sighting or calf tracks. He shared some interesting insight into how the elk team together to care for their young. Cows need a lot of food this time of year to produce enough milk to sustain their young so turn into what Josh referred to as “eating machines”. The calves have now reached the “toddler” stage in their development where they tend to play and run around rather than lie in the grass while Mom has dinner. To offset this, the cows will form small groups and take turns being nannies as each individual adult goes out to eat while the “kids” have a chance to play and socialize with other calves. He reported that one such “daycare” is located not too far from downtown Clam. He said they will have a chance to get a better analysis of this year’s calves during the winter when they trap and monitor the elk and review the SnapShot DNR camera footage. For now, all looks well and in keeping with past years.
ST GEORGE”S CHAPEL: A reminder that Mass is celebrated at our historic “Chapel in the Woods” every Saturday at 6:00 pm. We are following guidelines set down by the CDC and Bishop Powers as to social distancing and the wearing of face masks to provide a safe and pleasant place to worship. Take a step back in time as you enter our log cabin chapel made from the forest that surrounds it. Come pray with us! St. George’s motto? “No vacation from God’s Service!”
HOSPITAL PATIENT: Get well wishes go out to Cheryl Miller as she recuperates from surgery.
ELK COUNTRY ATV RIDE RECAP: With perfect weather in attendance the Elk Country ATV Club held a day ride on Saturday, June 27th. According to Rick Guthman, President of the ATV Club, the riders (12) covered 90 miles on their voyage to Drummond and back with a good time had by all! Along their travels,they went over the Grandview High Bridge which is part of “Rails to Trails”. This historic railway trestle was built in 1889 by the CSTPM&O (Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha) railroad. It is a Deck Truss viaduct put over the Eighteenmile Creek which one can see far below. It is considered the largest bridge on the line between Hudson, WI and Bayfield WI spanning a length of 595 feet being 65 feet above ground. Fortunately, Bayfield County recognized the value of this structure turning it into a multi-use trail. During the early days of Clam Lake, this trestle would have been the last stop before catching the Superior & Southeastern which brought fisherman and tourists to Camp Fire Island Camp.
WHIPPOORWILL ROULETTE: For the past 42 years I have shared my area of forest with a whippoorwill and/or it’s descendants. Whipporwills live about 8 to 10 years so I am several generations in. Unlike others (Foy Taylor), I enjoy the sound of the whippoorwill as he sings his song at dusk. When he returns at 4:00 am, I am a little less enthusiastic but, one has to take the good with the bad. I’ve often had fun calling out to him to see if he will respond. I have recently been informed by a concerned citizen that, according to legend, that may not be a wise move on my part. One Native American story portends that answering the call of a whippoorwill will cause someone to die. Who knew? On the other hand, another Native American legend claims whips are capable of shape shifting into Shamans. So, if suddenly my column does not appear or there is a Native American medicine man sitting in a tree near my home you know what happened. I’ll have no one to blame but myself. (As a side note: Whippoorwills are in decline so if you happen to have one near your area treat him well. Just don’t talk to him.)
(As this goes to press, I have learned of the passing of my neighbor Jerry Ferda. More next week.)
Until then….remember to “Summer Safely”!
Pictured is the Elk Country ATV Club on the Grandview High Bridge. Photo courtesy of Rick Guthman.