Yesterday, the day before Donna’s birthday, we decided to do something entirely different together. We began by visiting some old memory spots in my first study area of 1969. There, as we drove by Tanner Lake, a pair of trumpeter swans with a juvenile showed us how things have changed over the last half century. Trumpeter Swans were rare back then.
We checked the Greenwood forest fire area that drove bears and smoke to us a few months ago. Now, after two months of near normal rainfall, we saw tiny young plants emerging from the ashes. In a marsh that still does not have standing water, brilliant green grass is emerging from grass mounds that were scorched in the fire.
Then we headed for Lake Superior and the Temperance River near the lakeside town of Tofte. It was like we remembered. Waves were crashing against the shoreline, and the river was rushing through a narrow gorge as usual.
The next stop was the Tofte Bakery for a premature birthday celebration. Instead of cake, we had coconut cream pie—one of Donna’s favorites. We thought about the sugar—but didn’t care. We split a piece that disappeared fast. We bought a couple cupcakes to be her birthday cake today on her real birth date.
On the way home, an unexpected treat was finding the Knotted Pine Inn open in Isabella where everything began back in 1969. A cabin next to the Inn was my base that first year. The community is full of good people who love this little logging town. They have remained there for generation after generation. One said last night that it is the best community in the world. It is a town where everyone helps one other as they did with me big time back when I started. Last night, Donna and I came into the Inn looking around for familiar faces. Suddenly we felt at home as people remembered and stories from the long past began. Many stories to tell in the book.
Today, Donna and I celebrated by going to church together and then having lunch at the Grand Ely Lodge with a couple with the same birthday. Fun.
This evening I was glad to see Dexter as I caught up on things at the WRI .
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA