Forests aren't even close to peak color in northern Minnesota, but Ely and the Gunflint Trail already got a dose of snow, six days after the official end of summer.
Barb Gecas of Heston's Lodge on Gunflint Lake, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, said it snowed for at least 20 minutes Tuesday morning.
"It was flurries bright and early," she said, although the brief snow was nowhere near a record for fall snow. Her husband, Greg Gecas, has lived along the trail his whole life, and he remembers an Aug. 1 snowfall.
"He remembers a year where it snowed every single month," she said.
The National Weather Service in Duluth said it doesn't have an observation site along the trail, but it's received a handful of snow reports from the area, plus one from Ely. Temperatures across the Arrowhead were near or at freezing Monday night and into Tuesday morning.
"It's not the earliest snow for the area, and it's not even the earliest snow for the Duluth area," said Ketzel Levens, a meteorologist. "We just had a really decent set-up for it."
Monday night's weather was quiet, calm and cold, she said, "and it was downright nippy this morning" from a cold air mass pushing south from Canada.
Alissa Albers works at the front desk at Bearskin Lodge, about halfway up the 57-mile trail that starts in Grand Marais and ends at Saganaga Lake near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She looked up from the desk Tuesday morning to see the falling flakes, which melted immediately.
"I was surprised to see it, but it did happen," Albers said.