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February 24, 2016

It was a slow year for our scheduled Hikes in 2015. That will change drastically in 2016. Many of our Hikes and gatherings, will be based on the various “Hand-out sheets” that  are available foe Free, on the HIKING MICHIGAN “DOWNLOADS” page.

We have been working hard at updating our Nature Downloads and Park Maps, for all of you to download for Free. A real useful download that we have just finished updating, is our “Animal Tracks ID sheets”.

S.E.MI.ForestAnimalTracks2.jpg

S.E.MI.ForestAnimalTracks.jpg

A nice thing to do with these two sheets, is to mount them back to back, and get them laminated at an “Office Max” or “Staples”. Then take the sheets out on the Trails with you.

There are many more updated DOWNLOAD sheets to be posted. Get out there and search for those animal tracks. This is a great time to see what Critters roam your local Parks and Trails.

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The TICKS…….Here already

May 9, 2015

This last Friday, May 8th, I experienced heavy Tick action out at Stony Creek Metro Park. Now…..over the last 6 years or so, the Tick populations have been growing each year. They have also been showing up, in this part of S.E.MI., earlier and earlier each Spring season.  CommonTicks

Normally we do not see Tick activity until the heat sits around 85 degrees consistantly, and the humidity is is high, regularly. But to start battling Ticks in the first week of May, is not common in this part of the state.

While Scouting some Meadow Trails in the Park, I had to brush away a number of Ticks. Since that took place, we did a full Tick inspection when we returned Home. For me, it was a few more Ticks hiding in my clothing. For my wife it was a drilling Tick, attempting to make a Home in her scalp. We both also took detailed showers too.

These were not pleasent things……but it did stop the Ticks from settling in on each of us, and some possible ill results. It truly was more then worth it, for us to do the “Tick Dance”, as well as to check our cloths and skin throughouly.

This activities, after our Hike is basicaly a standard routine for us, after we HIKE. It really is not that big of a deal, and can stop some dreadful after effects. The same way that we spray ourselves for Mouskitoes, before we head out onto the Trails, is what we do in Showering and chaecking our cloths, after each HIKE.

Again……..it is simple……..easy……..and be be so very helpful for each of our consistant good health. Check out some very good Info about Ticks in Michigan, here:   http://www.hikingmichigan.com/PDFinfo/Ticks.pdf

Ticks-1

Ticks-2

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IT Came from???????

December 3, 2014

Recently, early in the morning, before any daylight, I was brewing some Tea in the Kitchen of my Home, in S.E.Michigan. The Kitchen window overlooks a Bird feeding/sanctuary I had built about a year ago. On the Deck railing, there was also an open seed-fruit & Nut feeding tray.

In the darkness of the early morning, I could see something feeding in this Fruit & Nut tray. But I did not recognize what it was. My camera sits on a tri-pod overlooking this large feeding area, which includes the Deck area. I set it up quickly, and figured I would get only one shot, before I scared this unknown critter away.

So I readied the exterior lights, and set my flash on the camera, to all go off at the same time. This is the picture I captured below.

OddSquirrel1

Now……..I have seen many odd creatures while roaming the outdoors, including cross-breeds and albino critters. But I do not know what was eating the Fruit & Nuts in the bird feeding trays.

This creature was twice the size of the biggest Fox squirrel I have ever seen. This critter also seem to have a canine fang-tooth. It was eating in the dark of early morning {Squirrels do not do this}. It’s snout was that of what appeared to be a dog. The bright red/orange tail, and striped black body resembled a raccoons make-up, minus the coloring.

Here are a few facts covering Squirrels in general:  *There are more than 200 squirrel species worldwide, from tree squirrels and flying squirrels to chipmunks and marmots.  *Squirrels have four front teeth that grow continuously, at a rate of about six inches per year. This helps their incisors endure the constant gnawing.   *Tree squirrels mostly eat nuts, seeds and fruit, but they are omnivores. Gray squirrels, for example, have been known to eat insects, snails, bird eggs and animal carcasses when other food is scarce.

So what do you think this critter is? Remember that it is twice the size of a large Fox squirrel. It has night vision and appears to eat and hunt at night. It seems to have Canine teeth.

Foxsquirrel

A Fox Squirrel

A Black Squirrel

A Black Squirrel

GreyFoxCrossbreed

A cross-breed Fox and Grey squirrel

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1st Spring Flowers for S.E.Michigan

May 14, 2014

Finally we have some Spring flowers blooming, and many more on the verge of taking over the forests and meadows in S.E.Michigan. It has been a very odd Springtime this year. The “Blood-Root” flowers have already bloomed and gone away. Time for the masses to bloom, and fill in everything.

BloodRootGroup

Blood Root group blooming in late April

BloodRootClose

Natives used the roots for Red & Orange dye

 

The “Trout-Lilies” are blooming at this moment (middle of May), along with the May-Apples and “Skunk-Cabbage” in all the wet areas.

SkunkGroup

SkunkCabbage

Skunk Cabbage stretching it’s leaves

OneMayApple

One May Apple plant that will blossom a single white flower

MayAppleGroup

In late May, a single green Fruit will form under the broad leaves

TroutLilly

Trout Lily. They grow in patches along wet areas.

 

You can “Download” our early Spring Flowers, ID sheets here at the Link. We are working on an updated version at this moment. Download the ID Sheets Here.

 

SpringFlowers-1

SpringFlowers-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While you are out searching the Forests in S.E.Michigan, for sprouting wild Flowers, take care in watching out for fresh blooming Poison Ivy. It is at it’s strongest in the Springtime, when all the poisons are concentrated in the stems and tips of the new sprouts. At this stage, it may only take a slight brush up against the plant, to contract a severe case of Poison Ivy.

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What Happened to the Sick Birdie?

March 13, 2014

In my last Posting, I had found that one of the many Pine Siskins that hang-out around the Bird Feeders had very swollen eyes,

SiskinSick

A very Ill Siskin Bird

He stayed mostly on the ground, near the warm rocks water bath. I could hand feed him, but didn’t want to start that bad routine. So you wonderful HM people fixed the, problem. I received so much wonderful info, help and NET Links, that I was able to figure the problem.

Healthy-Siskin

A Healthy Pine Siskin Bird

It was “House Finch Decease:.This decease can cause such swelling of the eyes, that the Birds become almost blind and cannot find food and a sleeping place. After learning this. Next to the warm water area, I set up some evergreen and Pine needle beds. This is where the sick Pine Siskin started spend the nights, I would also spreed the are with feed, on the ground, that was easy for him to find.

After about 4 weeks, the sick Siskin was now flying around the Feeding Pine trees. Still sticking close to his new secure area. As of yesterday………he left to join his old Gang.🙂

Now…….was this providing steady food sources and a warm nest that helped heal this Bird……..I just do not know. I received many helpful hints, with the best coming from Gary, and his direct Link:    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/hofi/hofifaqs.html

THANK YOU……..All you helpful and knowledgeable HM people. You saved my Buddy.🙂

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Friend……Foe……Strong, Respected Fellow

January 5, 2014

My recent efforts at creating a small Bird Sanctuary on my property has brought back all types of memories and internal debates within myself. How far do I get involved with the “Wildlife”? There is definitely a line.

Many years ago when I was writing up the first Hiking Michigan Park Trails MAPBOOK I had a very tuff decision to make. For one Spring and Summer, I headed out to the same Pine tree stand, overlooking a Meadow in a private area of Stony Creek Nature Study. I would go to this spot almost every day to write and edit. So did a Mama Doe and her two new Fawns.

They quickly became used to my presence there, and MaMa would let the youngsters frolic pretty close to me. She even grazed pretty close to me, almost saying……”It’s OK, just don’t hurt my youngsters”. This went on for the entire season. It got so normal, that the youngsters would kinda run in my direction as I would approach my normal sitting spot under the Pines, on the hilltop.

Winter came and I left to publish the MAPBOOK. The follow Spring, I selected a spot, deep in the Forest nearby, and started a second Book. As I sat there one day, I suddenly heard the snap of a twig near me. It was a young Deer approaching directly to me. I actually recognized this deer. It was one of the youngsters I had spent the previous summer with. He had distinctive markings that made his identification easy to be sure of.

As he approached, I could see he was not afraid of me, his tail was wagging vigorously, and I swear he was smiling.🙂 There was no question in my mind, that he recognized me, and that was the reason he was coming in.

I had to think quickly. Do I make a friend of a wild critter, thus putting his life in jeopardy, should he approach another human that was not his friend? Do I teach him that hanging out with humans is OK? I threw my arms in the air and yelled. The deer stopped for a moment and then continued toward me. I yelled further and started to walk towards him. He turned a slowly trotted away.

As he got only a few yards away, he turned to look back at me…..tail still wagging, and then slowly walked off.It was one of the hardest moments I have had in the Outdoors. I would love to have made a permanent friend of this deer. BUT……I know for sure it would have jeopardized his length of life. I still can see this scene in my head, like it happened yesterday.

Recently, with all the effort I had put into the Home bird sanctuary, I have once again come to face the tuff question of……”Where does the Wildlife fit, into my understanding of the Natural world”. I have become very protective of all my new Bird friends. I get angry at the Hawks that swoop in and take them away. I cringe when I hear the scream of one of the small Song birds, as a Hawk dive-bombs them even while hidden in a bush.

I once again face a dilemma that I thought I had finished with, many years ago. I understand the Outdoors well. I know there is death for there to be life. I know this is the balance of Nature. The strong and clever survive, to give birth to the next generation. As it should be.

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The Best of the NEW YEARS

December 27, 2013

HMFACTSAs Hiking Michigan enters it’s 16th year in existence, I would like to Thank the now, over 7,200 members that make up the largest Hiking Organization in the state of Michigan. Not only is this Group the largest, but in my opinion, It is one of the nicest, friendliest and excepting Outdoor groups in the state. It takes ALL of you members to have produced this wonder place for everyone to come and be excepted and enjoy Nature together.

I would also like to personally Thank everyone who have been so patient, kind and reassuring towards all the delays in Hike schedules this past year. My health recovery has been very slow, and I have received some of the most beautiful emails and letters from you HM members.

We will definitely be back on track come this Spring of 2014, with regular Hikes and Outdoor activities. Your support and loyalty to, YOUR Group has made us even stronger, and shows just why Hiking Michigan has survived and prospered for going on 16 years now.

HMchristmasI would like to wish all of you the best of the Holidays and hopefully the very best upcoming NEW YEARS!!!!!  We will be sneaking in some random Campfires and maybe a Snowman build over the Winter months, before we get back solid with a regular Hiking schedule come Springtime.

Again……..Thank You all so very much for your personal support and kindness/understanding on all the schedule delays and the support for my personal healing. It has meant alot to me. But it shows why we have made 16 years and why YOU are all the best Trail partners anyone could ask for!

Michigan-Night-LightsOne side note here………I personally belong to many Outdoor Groups. There are also some great ones out there. But there is just something about the HM members that make you guys stick out from the rest. Your acceptance of everyone that joins in on a Hike. Your friendliness and sharing of Trail supplies and Outdoor knowledge. This has made it  easy for anyone to just stop in here, not know anyone else, and join in on the fun of exploring Nature and all the beauty our state of Michigan has to offer. No one can make any of you do those things. You all just have done it anyways. THANKS!

VISIT US ON-LINE:   HM YOU-TUBE…….HM FACEBOOK……HM WEB SITE……HM FLICKR

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