Posts Tagged ‘Hiking Trails’


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.


WOMEN in the Outdoors

June 7, 2011

An interesting conversation came up at the Holly RECREATION 101 Hikes. Women, hiking the trails of our local Parks. Not just alone, but even in small groups. It was told to me how unsafe most women feel when hiking many of the local trails. Many have even felt un-safe while riding their bikes on some of the Pathway systems. I was appalled by these comments.

I guess I have never realized just how deep the safety issue went, with women in the outdoors. As a male, I have always just got in my car, went to where ever I wanted to go, and headed into the woods;. Bushwhacking or trailing. And it never mattered to me whether I was alone or with a partner or not. I guess I have taken this ease of outdoor access, for granted. It is definitely not what most women can do, or will do.

The solice and quiet I have experienced while being alone by a stream or overlooking a pond on a hillside, have been defining moments in my life. The solitude has allowed me to think about personal problems or just relax to a point I cannot achieve in any other way. I realized for the first time on our Hike, that most women have not experienced this. Even when they have headed out either alone or with another female partner, they have felt a security issue. There watching, safety issues and many other things that all take away from the very things I have gone to remote places in our parks to achieve. And f I feel this is unacceptable for women.

On the HM Facebook page and our Bulletin Board, we have been asking for ideas and suggestions on ho we can better these situations for women in the outdoors. There have been some great ideas and suggestions for safety, posted on this on-line portals. But there needs to be even more. Look for an upcoming Hike that will address this very issue of not only safety for women in the outdoors, but something even better then that. A women’s chance to actually feel the calm, beauty and nurturing qualities of Nature, without the fear for her safety. Let us know how you feel about this, or if you have any suggestions.


New HERONS Video

May 9, 2011

We have been following one specific nest at the Holland Ponds, Heron Rookery, in Shelby Twp.  Out of the almost 50 pairs of great Blue Herons nesting here for 2011, we have selected one nest to watch and follow through the season.

So far, this nest has produced two healthy youngsters. Most Herons produce two or three youngsters a nesting season. Once hatched, the youngsters grow at an amazing rate. Which means both heron parents spend most of every day, taking turns in going hunting and bring food back to the nest. One adult stays with the chicks, while the other fetches food. And so it goes, all day, every day, until the chicks are fledged from the nest.

We will be watching this here on the HM Blog as well as on the Holland Ponds Park……Facebook page. We will be taking new video about every 4-6 days as the young Herons grow quickly. Stay tuned for the next installment. There are two videos taken before this one, and can be viewed either on the HM YOU-TUBE web site, or on the Holland Ponds facebook page at:   HOLLAND PONDS FRIENDS


State Park Trails Help

March 14, 2011

Because of the lack of funding for the whole parks and waterway systems in our state, the DNR will not be doing much for trails maintenance this year. We are all hoping that the new PASSPORT license plate program will change all of that by the end of this year. Hopefully heading into 2012, the funds will start to return in maintaining and improving all our parks and waterways in Michigan. Everyone needs to participate in the new PASSPORT program.

In the meantime, how about HM members doing some paybacks to all the S.E. Michigan State parks that have done us so well these years in Hiking. Many of the park supervisors and staff have accommodated our group in so many ways. For this reason alone, I feel personally beholding. BUT……on even a bigger reason, it would feel real good to give back to the natural environments that have given so much to all of us and our State.

May I suggest that we start a Trails maintenance program here at Hiking Michigan. Starting this spring, we can plan specific Hikes that would include trimming overhanging branches and foliage from the trails, while we do a Hike on one of the trail loops. No heavy physical labor, just some trimming as we go. We can learn something about different plants, how to maintain a trail, water drainage and possibly on occasion, get one of the Park staff to inform us even more about the various aspects of trails, their maintenance, and some of the plant and animal lives they affect.

Hiking Michigan will supply a hearty Lunch around a campfire for each Trails Help Hike that we do. A great way to have some fun hiking, get some fulfillment at helping our parks and trails, and of course have some good chow around a campfire together.

So……what say you all? Lets give back some time and effort towards the parks & Trails that have given us so much all of these years. If you have any further ideas or suggestions on this subject, please contact me at:

Check out more details on the new funding for our parks and waterways in Michigan, through the PASSPORT license plate program.  Recreational Passport


Wilcox-Warnes Presreve HIKE – Reviewed

January 31, 2011

We had over 30 hikers show up for our Michigan Nature Association hike at their new Nature Preserve, out at the Wilcox-Warnes Nature Sanctuary. It had snowed almost 3 inches the night before, so there was a nice covering of snow everywhere.

Kathrine from the MNA was there in answer questions, along with Martha and other MNA personal. Mike led the way in his snow shoes, to pack down the snow a bit for the rest of us. This worked out well, with the freshly fallen snow.

It was beautiful out in the woods in the fresh snow. We discovered a large area of Turkey tracks. The local clock had already been out that morning foraging around. We stopped by a Great Horned owl’s nest, but no one was home.

After the Hike, a few of us went over to near by Rochester, for the FIRE & ICE Festival. Ice sculptures, Snow shoeing, Food and Fireworks where just some of the activities there. An excellent winter day!



Trails Sharing Poll results

December 30, 2010

We asked all of you hikers, bikers, and horseman about the trail systems in our State parks. Got lots of responses both on Facebook and through emails. There where many different ideas and feelings on sharing trails with different User groups. Many thought that the trails should be divided into individual trails for each User group. Unfortunately this leads to so much dissecting of the natural environment, that the nature experience is lost. Pontiac Lake Recreation area is a good example of individual trails for each User group, and a very dissected natural environment, in the main part of the park.Many people suggested not mixing Bikes with Hikers or Bikes with Horses. That is possible in some parks, where there is enough wide open spaces to accommodate many different trail systems.

Many responded that with proper rules, that some trails could be shared between hikers and bikers, and the horses should be left to their own trail systems.Yet others that only hike said that sharing trails with bikers spoiled their nature experience as bikers came zooming past them on the trails.

Probably the most universal thread was that with common courtesy and sense, that most trails could be shared by many different User groups. It seems the rules and common knowledge of passing and stepping off the trail for others are not as common knowledge as we all think. These are not easy questions to answer, nor are they easy problems to solve. The bottom line will always be the Natural resources and environment that needs to be considered first. Almost all User groups come to a State Park because of the natural environments there. Loosing them would mean losing the reasons for even using the trails in most cases.

Thanks for participating in the Poll. I learned alot, and will be taking this to the State Trails Advisory Committee meeting in March. The DNR is working very hard on how to handle the many different User groups and individuals who want to enjoy our State Park Trails and natural environments. It is not always as simple as installing another trail, for another group. And there is not always the room for every kind of use a small Park can accommodate.


HM Christmas Newsletter

December 21, 2010

The Hiking Michigan Christmas newsletter is online and ready to read or download. We hope you enjoy this issue.

Go to the NEWSLETTER Page



October 3, 2010

This Saturday, 10/9/10, at 12pm-3pm at Highland Recreation area, the Haven Hill Project and Hiking Michigan will be doing our Fall HISTORY Hike. If you have never visited the Edsel Ford estate on Haven hill, this will be one of your best opportunities to do so.

This is a state historical site and natural place too. the combination of history and nature in this one setting is a very unique experience. We will be taking the group up to the top of Haven Hill to see the Lodge and Carriage house. Then we will visit the Dog Kennels, Tobaggan run, Pool, Tennis Court and Fountain areas.

For the first time we will also take the group into the Historic Ford Nature area. These once abandoned trails where the private trails for the Ford family and their guests. bridges, stone features and nature ponds are all part of this special area.

Come and explore with us! Everyone will get a detailed Map of the area for future explorations as well. We hope to see you all on this very unique and special hike at Haven Hill, Highland Recreation area.

Get more details and a map to the hike here:   HISTORY HIKE


Wolcott Mill HIKE Reviewed

October 3, 2010

Well…..what looked like a washed out day, turned into a big Scouts day. It rained all night before and right up to about three minutes after we decided to Hike anyways. Then all of a sudden, the rain stopped and never came back. It allowed us an excellent hiking afternoon, as well as a nice Picnic and eventual Farm visit too!

This has happened a few times now, this year alone. It rains or snows or something and many people stay home from one of the scheduled hikes. Then for some reason, it stops, or the sun comes out or the temperatures get better. It is so hard to predict what Michigan weather is going to do. All I can say, from what I see so regularly is……Just get outdoors. It’s a great time in Michigan parks, under almost any Michigan weather conditions.

had a great time at Wolcott Mill metro Park for our Hike. See you all on the next one!



September 27, 2010

Well…’s here. That wonderful time of year when all the animals are scurrying around getting ready for Winter and that very unique time when everything changes color.

We thought we would post a couple of helpful download sheets to assist everyone in enjoying the Fall season in Michigan, even more. The first download is an informational sheet, on just why the leaves turn color for the Fall, and why different trees produce different colors.

You can download that sheet here:  Why Leaves Change Color

The next informational sheet we have for download is kinda our BEST OF picks for Fall colors in S.E. Michigan. Yes, of course there are so many different places to see FANTASTIC fall colors in S.E.MI., but there places we have selected have proven over and over to have consistent and brilliant Fall colors. the most important thing is to just get outdoors and enjoy this special time of year.

Download a BEST OF places for S.E.MI. fall colors: The Best Fall Colors

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