Solstice and Sleeping Bears

Whew! The days are getting longer. I love that about Winter Solstice. It puts a little extra spring in my step, a little shimmer in the snow shovel. The town of Grand Marais celebrates Winter Solstice with a puppet show event, done by a clever group of townspeople that call themselves the Good Harbor Players. It’s worth the trip. We were planning on making it, but Daniel and I were both down for the count that day– each of us held down a different couch. Except for the Harry Potter movie, when we held down the same couch. Luckily, it was a quickly passing cold, and not the dreaded H1N1 apparently, because now we’re up and free to enjoy a few more seconds of light each day. It’s really dark up here in the arctic circle, a big day when we turn the corner. Big day!

Den Discovery
The other day I think we found a bear den. On a subzero day, Andy noticed what looked like steam from a manhole cover. Only we don’t have those here. I investigated a little further, and found the steam coming from a hole in the side of the hill—about the size of a basketball. No tracks. Gave me a little neck prickle. Andy checked again the other day–and still no tracks, but frosty breath and icicles around the hole.
Since we’re not going to play National Geographic scientists, I started looking up the local bear expert, Lynn Rogers–from Ely actually. He gets pretty close to the bears he studies. And I learned a little about hibernating bears too–not a true hibernation, but more of a winter lethargy…and I learned about how they “recycle” themselves, and convert wastes somehow into proteins. Check out Lynn Rogers Study

How cool is that?

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