Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Hiking Group’

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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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TICKS……They’re back again

May 15, 2013

TickFingerI know I have written about Ticks many times here and in the HM NewLetter, but I cannot talk about them enough. With all the precautions and Insect Repellent, Flash-lights, whistles and things we carry out on the Trails or keep in our Car Hiking Kits, a Tick remover and just plain checking ourselves is something on the top of the list of Hiking preventions.

On our last Hike, Spring Flowers at Bald Mountain, we discovered the Ticks have returned and are out on the Trails. I was walking down our final Trail leg when a fellow Hiker said…….Rob…..Stop. He said it in a way that made me realize it was important, so I froze on the Trail. He pulled out his “Multi-Tool” and with the Pliers, slowly removed a Tick that was crawling up my back towards a Ticks favorite spot. The warm, moist area around my neck/hair-line.

Michael then removed the Tick and killed it. We laughed for a moment with the understandingCommonTicks that there are millions of Ticks and he had just eliminated ONE. But that was one less Tick available to bite someone else. Really now…..He could have just brushed the Tick from my back, but he wanted to not have that Tick jump onto someone else, further back in the line of Hikers.

When we returned to the Parking area we did the infamous “Tick Dance”. A simple task that can be so very valuable in preventing a Tick infestation. We all shook-off our clothing, took our fingertips and rubbed through our hair, hair-line and under and around our socks. These are the most likely spots a Tick will invade our privacy. They like those warm, moist places on us, so that is where they usually head once they have dropped or jumped onto our bodies.

Doing these checks after a Hike can very often stop what could have been a bad situation, later. Getting a Tick removed before it has started to bite or even shortly after it has started to bite into us can be very important. My personal regiment for heading outdoors and being as protected as possible is a covering of DEET Insect repellent over 30%. I always shower after an outdoors experience of any sort. And of course there is the Tick Dance there in the Parking lot, and more checks during my shower.

Ticks carry a number of diseases and problems. Some of which can be extremely harmful if the Tick is left un-noticed, un-removed and allowed to run it’s full cycle. This is true for our Doggie friends out on the Trail too. They are even more susceptible to getting a Tick then we are. They are closer to the ground and brush up more foliage then we do while out on the Trails.

The best kind of Tick Remover

The best kind of Tick Remover

On a North/Central HIKE last year, the entire Group did the Tick Dance after the Hike. Everyone was clean. But the Dogs were not. One had 6 Ticks and the other had 8 Ticks. Working together we removed all of them. Cannot even imagine what this did for the health of these Dogs.

You are not going to die if you get a Tick, but the problems you may experience and the possible diseases you may get from a Tick bite is worth these small things to stop it from happening. It is all well worth the efforts to not get a Tick bite for you or your Dog.

There has been a huge increase in Tick activity the last three years. No one is exactly sure why this is so, but their numbers have increased and even the early arrival times have been pushed up in the seasons. Obviously from our May 11th Hike experience with a Tick, they are no longer appearing in the late summer when it is much warmer and humid outdoors.

Ticks1What ever the reasons maybe, it is always a small task, taking little time, to check yourself and Doggie out, after any venture into the local Parks and Trails. If you think because you are on a Bike, you cannot get a Tick, that is not so. They will drop from a branch or jump up from a bush or the ground and still attach themselves to you. So ANY trip to the Trails requires a quick check for prevention.

Download our TICK ID Sheets and get some of the basics on Tick ID and proper removal. Proper removal is very important if you do find a Tick on yourself or your Doggie.

Our Friends with the North Country Trails have recommended an excellent web site for IDing and removing Ticks. Check out this web site here. This is another excellent site for prevention of Tick Bites altogether. CDC Tick Prevention.

A great ID Info sheet on Michigan’s most common Ticks is something everyone should read. You can download this PDF file here. Michigan Common Ticks.

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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.

MichiganRaptors

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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So That’s How it Works

April 21, 2013

GroupTrailI know I have written on this subject before. In fact, many times over the last 15 years we have been Hiking around various Parks in Southeastern Michigan. I kinda believe that we have lasted 15 years because of what I am writing about here. And that is the Camaraderie and openness that HM Hikers have towards one another.

There has always been something special the members here at HM have had for their Group. Everyone takes it upon themselves to interact with everyone that comes out for a Hike. Some Hikers are regulars. They are at almost every Hike. Others come out a few times a year, and still others join in maybe once a year. But it doesn’t seem to matter.

Everyone is greeted and the interacts with one another out on the Trails, by other members in the Group, whether they are regulars or even if the Hikers do not know one another. This acceptance of all people is what ends up making almost every Hike a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon for most of the Hikers.

GroupCampfireTalk

Sometimes the Hikes are not just about a special Nature place we are visiting, or Birds we are hand feeding. It is just as much about feeling relaxed while strolling the Trails, taking in the Forests or just enjoying the view across the lake. The release from our day to day stresses and schedules have as much to do with getting together as a Hiking Group as the Nature experiences themselves.

No one person can make this happen. Over these 15 years that Hiking Michigan has been aGroupTrailStonyCreek Hiking group, it has been the members that have created this way, and have made these kinds of things happen on a regular basis. Talking with what is in many cases, a complete stranger out on the Trails. Having a friendly and engaging attitude towards all the people you are Hiking with. That takes a Group effort.

I must say……..I have watched this happen for 15 years now. Different people rotating through the Group. Some regulars, others on their own time schedules, and yet it is always the same between the Hikers. Complete acceptance. No Cliches here……..No Elitists strutting their Egos down the Trails. Instead…..plenty of sharing of outdoor knowledge. People talking to one another about as little or as much as they know about Nature.

NLJim&groupPANOI have spent my entire life outdoors. On the Trails, Back Packing, Canoeing, Bushwhacking, you name it, yet……..I learn something new on every Hike. That alone says alot about all you HM Hikers here. We may have the largest Hiking Group in Michigan with our 6,000 members. But it means nothing when compared to just how our Hikes go and how you members treat one another and even the new ones coming in. You obviously set an example that they caring on to the next new Hikers to join us.

This continues to be the best Hiking Group in the state of Michigan. And not because it is the largest, but because it’s members have respect for one another and the Natural world we visit and explore.

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What do I need to go Hiking?

April 12, 2013

There is not alot you need to get out on the Trails and enjoy some of the wonderful places in Michigan. Mostly it gets down to YOUR personal critter comforts. The things that help make a Hike more enjoyable, a bit easier and of course more comfortable for YOU.

There are a couple of things that every Hiker should have though. The big one is a good pair of Hiking Boots. The kind you select will again, be fitted for your personal needs and feet. Some people like a very lightweight, low-cut boot. Others like myself, need the ankle support and I wear a boot that extends over my ankle bone to give me the extra support I need on the Trails.

The best way to find what you like, is to wear a pair of running or Sports shoe and observe what would be need for YOU, out on the Trails. Join in on one of Hiking Michigan’s Hikes and you will also get a good idea of many different types of Hiking boots. The other Hikers will share their experiences with you, on what works best for them. You then can better select a boot just for you. Check out a Blog posting we have done on selecting the right Hiking boot for you. Waterproof boots? heavy treaded soles? Low-cut? High-cut? What works best for you and the kind of Hiking you will be doing.

I stress a good Hiking boot, because nothing will make your Hike more enjoyable then a good boot. It also will be something you will be Thankful for after the Hike. Your feet will not be hurting……No blisters or sore spots……and the Hike itself will be a better one with boots that give you good traction, keeps your feet dry and help in supporting your feet in irregular terrain. Do not forget to purchase a good pair of Socks too. Padded heal and Toes, and quality material will make the good pair of boots even better.

Water would be the other necessity for every Hiker, after those quality pair of boots. Being hydrated is very, very important. Even during the winter months, or Springtime, when just because you may not be sweating, does not mean you do not need to be drinking water. Lack of hydration will tire you out much quicker and can also lead to other problems that you just do not need to deal with while having a good time out in the Forest.

Again…..how you carry that water will be up to what works best for you. Some of us just carry a water bottle. Others like a Hydration Pack. This Pack carries water in a “Bladder”, and allows easy access to a constant flow of water. The small Hydration Pack also doubles as a place to carry any other items you find necessary for a quality outdoor afternoon.

For a day Hike, that is about it. Those two items are the main things needed for an enjoyable and comfortable Hike. Then you get into what else would suite YOUR personal comforts. Some people like a snack for the Trails. Others feel the need to have a small supply of survival items. Like a Flashlight, Whistle, extra Insect repellent, change pair of Socks, Hat, gloves. All those little things that add to the enjoyment of YOUR Hike. Mark put together a nice Blog posting on how to stock a Day Pack. Check out that posting here.

Dating back to the 1930s, a list called the “10 Essentials” have been developed, to help people with what are the most important things to bring along on a Hike. You can download the sheet of “10 Essentials” here:

We have also put together our own Essential sheet with what we call……What do I need to go Hiking. You can download that Info sheet here:

The10-Essentials

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The best thing to do is to take what you have, and head out on the Trails fro some short Hikes and observe YOUR personal needs while Hiking. After the good boots and water supply, the rest will be for YOU and what best pleases your needs and comforts while out on the Trails. remember that it is worth spending the extra money on quality gear and boots. They will last you forever and the difference in comfort and how they serve your needs are tremendous and worth any extra costs.

A big TIP for Hiking is……..do not wear Jeans while doing anything outdoors. The jeans are made from cotton, which absorbs moisture, making the pants uncomfortable, heavier and less accommodating to your movements. A pair of Synthetic material Pants will be worth the investment. There are many kinds of these style of Pants. Some have lower legs that Zip-off. Others have all types of pockets for carrying all those critter comforts you may want. The important point here is……No Jeans while out on the Trails. It will only take one try of a Synthetic material pair of Pants for you to see the HUGE difference in comfort you will experience.

So get a pair of boots & Socks, grab some water and any of those critter comforts you may need, and head out to your local Park and get started. Whether you are Hiking for health, Bird watching, Geocaching, Mushroom Hunting, or to just experience the Natural world and the relaxation you will find there, just GO GET OUTDOORS. We will see you all out on the Trails. 🙂

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Some Reminders

April 9, 2013

We try and keep Links to much of our PDF INFO sheets, Maps and other helpful outdoor information, on most of our NET locations. But the best place to go is our web site, where you will always find everything we have, there for Download.

If it is Maps you want, then the Park Maps page is where you need to be. From the PARK Maps page you can also head over to the SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN Parks page. These couple of pages, linked to the main PARK Maps page, have over 120 Maps and Parks listed around S.E. Michigan. Maps on how to get to the Parks, Pictures and many details and contact numbers. Go to the PARKS MAP Page of the HM web site. Or go deeper on those pages and get yourself to the SOUTHEASTERN Michigan Parks page, where you will find those 120 Parks located in S.E. Michigan.

Spring is about to POP. Animal ID sheets, Birding ID, Raptors ID sheets, Heron reports, and all types of Guides are available to Download on the web site DOWNLOADS Page. This single page of the HM web site is being expanded at this moment, to become two full pages of PDF files that are free to Download and print for yourself at home. You may find many of these Info sheets and Guides, useful in your early Springtime explorations.

The Hiking Michigan Outdoor NewsLetter is also available from the HM main website. The quarterly issue is posted on the site to read right there, or Download bits and pieces for home reading. Many excellent and helpful articles from Birding experts, Naturalists and just plain Michigan Hikers, who are willing to share their experiences with all of us for free. Check out the NEWSLETTER Page of the website.

So head on over to the official Hiking Michigan website and check out some of the many things available to You, for Free. Take a look at the Hikes schedule while you are there and see if there is something you would like to join in on. Hopefully there is something that interests you, and we will see you out on the Trails, real soon.

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