Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Hiking Club’

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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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Survival and Outdoor Saftey

December 1, 2013

A few years back many of the women Hikers started talking about feeling unsafe out on the Trails. This went for both Hiking and Biking. As a male, it was something I never much considered. So……after a few open Hike discussions, we sat down around a Campfire, and the women put together their thoughts on what they felt made them feel safer out on the Trails. What is good about these WOMEN SAFETY sheets, is that they where put together by women, for women. A women’s insight on feeling safer outdoors. We also exchanged ideas with one another on the simple things that did so much when it came to making anyone more safe out in the local Parks. You can Download the WOMENS SAFETY sheets here. The main intention for these Safety Sheets where for the comfort and safety of Women, out on the Trails. But the shared ideas here work well for EVERYONE out in the Parks, and also help out in a Survival situation.

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WomenSafety-2

It has been a few years since we all talked of this concern together. I have come to realize that there is much connected between personal safety and survival, while out in the Forests. Many of the items we may carry along with us for Survival, do double duty when it comes to personal safety. Here is a picture of what I carry on every Hike I take. The Bag that goes around my shoulder is my Camera bag, and I use it as a base to carry other survival and safety items. There are two different Flashlights. One is small, and also contains a magnifying glass, Compass and high pitched whistle. The other Flashlight is a very bright beam, that doubles as a signal light and is fashioned to be used as a stabbing tool.

The knife on the Camera bag strap has many, many uses. It works with my flint and magnesium strip to start a fire. It has a small wood cutter on one side of the blade. I keep this knife, sharp enough to shave with. In a defensive mode, it would easily cut directly through the thickest coat and reach the skin of any assailant. The Walking Stick I use is one of the older style types. It weighs a bit more, but it is indestructible, with a sharpened poker-like end to it. I certainly would not want to be “impaled” by this. There is a Cool web site that still make these older, self-defense style sticks, called “Bear Sticks”. You can check them out at the link here: BEAR STICKS  BearStick

Also dangling from my Camera bag is a small container of “Pepper Spray”. It was purchased at a local Police supply store. It contains the maximum legal strength of Pepper spray the public can use legally. With all the funny laws out there, the last thing anyone needs is to be sued for protecting ones self by spraying an individual attempting to attack you. Empty this small canister on an Attacker, and he or she, will definately be going to the ground. I also carry some “Pepper Wash” in one of the pockets of my Camera bag.

Because I use this Camera Bag as my base for Hiking, it allows me to carry quite a bit easily, over my shoulder with ease. This includes some goodies, and other personal needs like Insect repellent and Water. One of the very best SURVIVAL KITS I have ever seen, was put together by a friend-Jim, at M4040 web site. The items in his Survival Kit are store bought individually, or put together by what he had in his own home. It is OUTSTANDING! Download the M4040 Survival Kit here.

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Just as an extra thought here. There should be things we all should have packed in our Cars at all times, through every season, whether we are heading out to the Trails at that moment or not. These items make a great base for safety, and have many, many uses for Survival as well. Download the CAR OUTDOOR KIT here. It is amazing how many things we all use for outdoor survival, works for outdoor safety and self defense. I hope this article and Download sheets helps out everyone in feeling safe and calm while outdoors. Because isn’t one of the reasons we head outdoors is to feel good about things and calm about the world?

CARKit

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BIRDIES are Here……in DROVES!!!!!!

November 15, 2013

FinchThis has been a very interesting experience for me. After many, many years of leading Hikes and IDing birds, Volunteering for Bird Habitat re-newels, and generally enjoying spotting and watching for Birds out in the Field, I finally decided to start up Bird Feeders and Bird Habitats in my own yard.

One of the Feeding Trees

One of the Feeding Trees

When I first started a couple of months ago, I had absolutely NO results. Not a single bird showed up to sample any of the delectable treats I was leaving for them. I checked with local neighbors, who have been feeding the Birds for years in my area, and they told me that this was the slowest year for Birds coming to their Feeders, that they had ever experienced.

So I made a Post to all you HM people about this problem and concern I was having with the total lack of response to my Feeders and Bird habitat I was creating in my yard.

I received so many responses from you HM Hikers, it took me almost a week to sort through all the great advice.But it was sure worth it, and I now Thank all of you for your wonderful suggestions and directions in what to do.

I now have one of the most extensive Bird Sanctuaries in S.E.Michigan. 🙂 🙂 I have now erected over 8 different types of Feeders, from open Tray style, to Nut-filled tubes. I have Suet blocks and special Saffron seed feeders. I also have installed a Water-Bath at ground level, which has turned out to be extremely popular with ALL visitors.

m6cOhcq-L2VJh5P9bW_CciwBesides following the advice from all of you experienced and helpful HM members, I came across a Wonderful book thatSiskin has been, and will continue to be my “GO TOO” book on Bird Feeders and Backyard Bird habitats. It’s called the “Backyard Bird Feeders BIBLE”, by Sally Hayes. What an unbelievable Book. It covers everything from store-bought food, to creating your own mixes. I have followed much of the advice in this Book, and have come to find that the best advice I received from you HM people, where the advice most given in this Bird Bible.

All this Food, Water and other Goodies has also attracted other critters. 5 very old, fat Fox Squirrels, and one very small youngster. A unique Red Squirrel (what a treat), and 3 Chipmunks. I enjoy the Chipmunks, Red squirrel and small Fox Squirrels. But those large adult Fox squirrels are just plain Bullies and gluttons. By using some Pepper sprayed on the trees and ground, and chasing some of these squirrels with my Witches broom, :-), I have managed to keep the peace amongst all the critters so far.

All but one. A night visitor, who just wants to pull down feeders and destroy whatever he can get his hands on. A very large Possum. Still working on

No Trouble....Baby Squirrel

No Trouble….Baby Squirrel

a fix to deal with this guy. I do not wish to harm him, but he better behave or he will leave me with no alternative. Suggestions?

So……with weeks worth of patience, all the great advice from all you helpful HM Bird people, and an example of just about every food known to Bird-dom, the Birds are arriving in droves on a daily basis. The proper habitat, Trees and Bushes, not to mention plenty of cover, has attracted almost every species in the area. Now the neighbors are wandering by and wondering why they see flocks of Birds circling the property. 🙂 Finches of all colors, Sparrows of every type, Jays, Cardinals, various Woodpeckers, Juncos, Red-breasted and white breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, and even Pine Siskins. This is just the tip of the Bird list so far. New species discover the Sanctuary almost every day.

I am installing a couple of audio/video cameras to listen and watch the activity. Mostly to listen to all the sounds. And believe me there are many sounds. Next Spring I will be constructing a small Pond and waterfall, complete with Frogs, Turtles and even better habitat for even more Bird species.

Once again, I would like to say Thank You for all the suggestions and advice you HM Birders gave me in helping to put together the start of what will be an ever-growing Bird Feeding Sanctuary, here in Rochester.

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New & Updated ID sheets Coming

July 25, 2013

Starting this weekend Hiking Michigan will be releasing both updated Nature ID sheets and brand new INFO sheets for everyone. We will be starting with a very updated and detailed MI. RAPTORS ID sheets. New Raptors listed and much more info to ID these Birds in the wild and just soaring overhead.

Our next updated ID sheets will be our favorite, the ANIMAL Tracks ID sheets. We have added and third ID sheet to this PDF file, as well as more Tracks, including some common Bird tracks we see along many creek shorelines.

The next sheet will be one we have been working on since Springtime. Our MI. Spring Wild Flowers ID sheets. These have completely revamped and detailed, with the help of our goof friend Kim and her excellent Spring Flower pictures.

These are  just a few of what will be posted and available to be downloaded starting this weekend from the Blog, Facebook Page and Web site. We hope you enjoy the new sheets and find them helpful while enjoying the Outdoors.

Visit our web site DOWNLOADS Page and get many PDF files for Free. Many useful ID and Outdoor INFO sheets there for your knowledge and enjoyment.  HM DOWNLOADS PAGE

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Observe Closely & Ask Yourself a Question

July 18, 2013

What is more important to you? A healthy Environment, or a new Water Slide at one of OUR State Parks? Diverse Habitats through out OUR State Parks, or still even more Interconnected, Linear BIKE Pathways? (now being called Trails) A wide range of various Natural Resources interacting with one another to keep all of OUR State Parks, healthy and working naturally the way it should work on it’s own? Or OUR money being spent on resurfacing Tennis courts in small, obscure Towns along the new BIKE Pathway system?

MichNo matter how you may feel about these things, there is only one answer for all of it. The focus needs to return to having a Healthy Natural Resources base, through out OUR State. WHY? Because everything else will fail without this base foundation of a healthy ecosystem, everywhere in OUR State Parks.

You cannot build another Linear BIKE Pathway, if the environment it passes through is a Monoculture (plants & Trees that are primarily Invasive species, and almost NO natural interacting plants & Trees) A new Water Slide installed into a Lake that is full of more Invasive Species, with the only fish being those that are dumped into that Lake annually by OUR Department of Natural Resources. That is just about as Plastic and surreal as it gets.

Really now……ask yourself those questions. It all boils down to a solid and healthy foundation. Just like almost everything else in the world. Just like a Structure of any sort. You MUST have a solid foundation to build on, or else at some point in time it will all come crumbling down.

MI.Born2Do we have our Invasive Species under control in our beautiful Michigan? Do we have the various diseases and ill health problems that plague our Trees, Waterways and diverse Habitats, under control? Or are we just cutting sick Trees down, selling the Timber and calling the problems fixed? That is how OUR DNR now deals with Tree problems and Tree deseases. Pitiful Natural resources management. One of the biggest CONS being perpetrated on us Michiganders is the Volunteer Game.  Organizing Michigan’s best Volunteers to remove Invasive Species, without telling any of them that what they are accomplishing is next to NOTHING. because the Invasive Species problem is so enormous, that just having Volunteers doing the work and not having an entire department at OUR DNR dedicated to constant Invasive Species removal and control, has very little effect on the problem as a whole. Yet most of the work is being performed for Free, by the wonderful Volunteers….Michigan residents, and not OUR DNR.

These are not MY personal opinions. Nor are they exactly what I would like to see done. But they are what MUST BE DONE, and NOW…..in a very BIG WAY. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter what you or I may want. It is up to what is NEEDED. OUR Michigan Environments NEED our dedicated HELP, RIGHT NOW. Noy just the ghreat Volunteers that maontain most of thye Foot Trails, or the Volunteers and Scoputs who remove the majority of Invasive Species, all while OUR DNR is off trying to control our Recreational Experiences. Like we are all stupid and cannot figure it out on our own. All this money going at Pathways, Recreational control, financing Non profit groups, all need to come to a dead stop, before we have nothing left to enjoy. I am not exaggerating at all here. It is that bad and needs immediate help and to be changed, right away. Tell this to Ron Olson the head of the Recreation Division at the DNR. Or Jim Radabaugh, the head of all Trails in our state. These two are most responsible for what is taking place..Get rid o0f them, and the blood sucking Non Profit groups, feeding off of the DNR and our money, will fail and go away, because they cannot survive without the help from Parks & Recreation at OUR DNR.

Isn’t the bottom line, a beautiful and healthy environment we all want? If You HIKE…..doNL-Sanctuary-Trail you not want to see Critters and flourishing habitats? If You BIKE…….do you not want to see healthy environments and flourishing habitats? If you Hunt, Bird, geocache, etc…..do you not want to have a healthy eco system and habitats to travel through and enjoy?

If we need such control of our personal Outdoor Recreational experiences, lets create a separate State Agency dedicated to the Recreational FUN of the people of Michigan. This way the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) can get back to doing what they used to do and be responsible for what they used to nurture and take care in OUR State. A Healthy Natural Resources based ecosystem and beautiful Habitats through out the entire State of Michigan.

Please make the choice. demand the proper actions, and not just ignore the bad behaviour of the Agency we have entrusted with our Lands & Waterways in OUR State of Michigan. Our DNR and local Parks & Recreation.

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Guides and ID Sheets

May 2, 2013

Since the weather has finally broken and everything is blooming, Birds singing and critters running around everywhere, it is time to pull out the ID Books and Sheets. Just wanted to remind everyone we have many Free ID sheets right here on the HM Blog, and even more on the website DOWNLOADS PAGE.

In the column to the right, there are Links to the most popular ID sheets that get downloaded here, starting with our Animal Tracks sheets. DOWNLOAD THE ANIMAL TRACKS SHEETS HERE.

StreamsideAnimalTracks ForestAnimalTracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A popular ID sheet is our Raptors sheet. Since many times the best view of flying Raptors is a silhouettes, the sheets have those silhouettes IDed. Most of the various kinds of Raptors in Southeastern Michigan are listed here. DOWNLOAD THE RAPTORS ID SHEET HERE.

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There are also some helpful guides in the downloads list and website page as well. TICKS have become a huge problem in S.E. Michigan the last few years. So we put together an ID sheet that also deals with what to do if you believe you have picked up a Tick. DOWNLOAD THE TICKS GUIDE HERE.

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Since many of the Spring Flowers are finally sprouting everywhere, and our next Group Hike will be a Wild Flowers Hike, here is our early Spring Flowers ID sheets. We are doing a second version of this ID sheet with Flowers that take hold after those early Spring flowers go away. Many of the early Spring flowers, only bloom for a short period of time before they are replaced by the more permanent, longer lasting Flowers. (whatever that means) 🙂 You can DOWNLOAD THE EARLY SPRING FLOWERS ID SHEETS HERE.

SpringFlowers-1 SpringFlowers-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best place to go and see all the various ID sheets and Guides we have to Download is on the web sites DOWNLOADS PAGE. Click the Link to get there. We hope these sheets help you enjoy the Outdoors a little bit more and keeps you all prepared for what you may encounter while exploring Michigan’s Forests and Parks.

If you have any suggestions for us to put together an ID sheet or Guide sheet, please let us know. Being Prepared, the old Boy Scout motto, is always a good thing.

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